Help for Britains Builders

The Energy Saving Trust is encouraging UK builders to take advantage of their free advice and support, as research reveals today that almost half don't know how to put new energy efficiency legislation into practice.

The research by the Energy Saving Trust also reveals that, although ninety two per cent of builders say energy efficiency is now a priority for their industry, with one in four (28 per cent) stating they would actually like to see higher standards introduced, 70 per cent say more help is needed in understanding latest guidelines.

Now, with changes to Part L of the Building Regulations due to come into force and the voluntary Code for Sustainable Homes expected in April, builders need more support to get up to speed.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: "It's clear that builders are keen to be more energy efficient and are supportive of legislation to raise standards in their industry.

"However, we risk losing that enthusiasm if we do not ensure that changes to the way the industry works are fully explained or understood.

"April obviously is a crunch period and the Energy Saving Trust is making it a priority to signpost advice on the new legislation and support available for builders."

The legislation that builders feel they need the most information on is the changes to Part L of the Building Regulations (63 per cent), followed by proposals for Home Information Packs (57 per cent) -which are expected to be introduced in June 2007 - and the Code for Sustainable Homes (53 per cent).

The study does reveal, however, that builders are still engaged with energy efficiency and many are already incorporating measures that go beyond the indicative standards in existing regulations.

- Six in ten ( 61 per cent) have incorporated high levels of insulation beyond current Building Regulations

- Over a third (37 per cent) report that they have incorporated energy efficient heating systems higher than required by Building Regulations

- Two in five (44 per cent) have installed more energy efficient lighting than currently required by Building Regulations

Steve Mills, Managing Director, A1 Lofts Limited, said: "Sustainable design and construction is a high priority for us and we firmly believe that installing energy saving features is a sound investment for both our business and the environment. We would encourage the industry to embrace the higher energy efficiency standards due to be introduced next month and hope that sustainability becomes a priority in 2006."

Mr Sellwood concludes: "It is encouraging to see the construction industry embracing energy saving measures and with around one million new homes set to be built over the next five years, it is imperative sustainability remains a priority.

"To do that, we need to keep builders engaged and ensure they are provided with all the information they need to apply new legislation and guidelines."

With one in five (22%) builders claiming they're working to energy performance standards higher than the minimum currently required under Part L, there is a need for clear standards and comprehensive guidance for the industry to ensure that they are achieved. The Energy Saving Trust has prepared the following fast facts:

- Make sure the main heating system is efficient and run on a cheap fuel, and incorporates an A-rated condensing boiler

- Build tight, ventilate right - gaps and cracks in the building fabric can be removed cheaply and helps you comply with building regulations.

- Lights and appliances - if you're supplying appliances in a new home make sure they're A-rated and specify low-energy lighting

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