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Making SAP and RdSAP 11 fit for Net Zero

We collaborated with CIBSE, Elementa, WSP, UCL, Clarion Housing Group and Etude to publish a report on the future of Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). The work makes recommendations on improving SAP and RdSAP so they are fit for net zero. The report was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

SAP calculations are primarily required to demonstrate compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations for new dwellings and refurbishment of existing dwellings. It is the methodology used to estimate and regulate the energy and carbon performance of new homes and the existing housing stock across the United Kingdom, from small works to large new developments. It is a central tool for those developing, implementing and tracking policies on energy, fuel poverty and carbon emissions and is being used by the whole building industry. SAP outputs are also used to inform residents. Its importance cannot be overstated.

The team has worked over the last year on a report that summarises the issues that should be addressed in the next version of SAP to make it the best possible methodology by 2023-2024. These include current trends affecting housing, the energy system, technologies and innovations such as performance testing and verification.

Our 25 recommendations are split into five areas:

  1. Better align SAP/RdSAP and its strategic objectives
  2. Improvements to the methodology
  3. Improvements to SAP/RdSAP and its ecosystem for net zero
  4. For a better evaluation of energy use
  5. Support to decarbonisation of heat and electricity.

We have undertaken this work as a diverse team from industry and academia, with different areas of expertise. We learned from experts, past experience, our literature review and, very importantly, from what is being done across the world for energy modelling of domestic buildings. A survey was also used to understand the views of industry, SAP and RdSAP users. We are very grateful to all people who generously shared their time and knowledge.

Implementing our recommendations would significantly assist the design and construction of net zero carbon ready new homes and the low carbon retrofit of the existing housing stock.

You can read the full 'Making SAP and RdSAP 11 fit for Net Zero' report below. We have also prepared a 15-summary report, available here.