The SAP is a vital requirement for new dwellings, put in place to ensure that a certain standard of energy-efficiency and sustainability is being met. In light of the fact that UK climate goals are likely to be hampered by homes in need of efficiency retrofits, using the SAP will prove invaluable to ensuring that your new build or conversion is designed to accommodate a safer and more viable way of living.
What is the SAP Score?
Calculating the SAP — or Standard Assessment Procedure — score offers the only government-approved methodology for compliance with Part L of Building Regulations, and for ascertaining the cost of supplying the home with sufficient energy for heating and lighting.
The score will typically fall between 1-100, and will be calculated based on the construction itself, lighting, heating, and any renewable technologies (such as solar) that will be installed on the property. A score of 100 indicates that the dwelling will have no energy costs, and a score of 100+ means that the property is exporting more energy than it uses.
The SAP score is also used to calculate the EPC, which is a grading system used to determine the energy performance of a property.
When Do You Need a SAP?
The SAP is an essential part of the assessment process prior to new homes being build, and new homes that are going to be established through conversion or change of use. In some instances, where new glazing accounts for more than 25% of the new floor area for extensions, an SAP will also be required on an existing dwelling.
For non-residential properties, the equivalent of the SAP is the SBEM (Simplified Building Energy Model). In much the same way, the score will be significantly improved by more sustainable construction methods and technologies, such as high quality insulation, and commercial solar installation.
Why is SAP Required?
More so than ever before, the UK government is investing a wealth of resources, time, and money into creating and reinforcing incentives for climate control, lower emissions, and renewable energy usage. The ways in which we used to power our homes are unsustainable, costly, and damaging to the environment; older dwellings feature significantly lower SAP scores than more recent builds that utilise renewable and energy-saving practices.
As such, while an acceptable SAP score is a legal requirement for all new dwellings, it also provides developers and homeowners with the right incentives and framework for minimising energy usage and, by extension, lowering the carbon footprint of the build.
Calculating the SAP score is a crucial stage in the planning process. The assessment will be able to offer an analysis of different construction methods, heating systems and renewable technologies, and collaborate with the developers on the best ways of ensuring that a build is as efficient and environmentally sound as possible.
What is the Difference Between SAP and EPC?
The EPC — or Energy Performance Certificate — is a grading system (A-G) used to offer homebuyers and tenants insight into the running costs of a dwelling. It is informed by the SAP, and will offer recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of a dwelling. These changes can be small, such as using energy efficient light bulbs, or more significant, such as making the transmission to solar panels.
An EPC of Grade A will have been informed by an SAP score higher than 92, while a Grade D or lower will be given to a dwelling whose SAP score falls lower than 68.
SAP, Energy Efficiency, and Solar Panels
Both in terms of adhering to regulations, climate initiatives, and improving the quality of our day-to-day lives, designing new builds around more environmentally and financially viable technologies and practices must be a priority. The government is forever seeking out new ways of incentivising and enforcing courses of action that offer long term solutions for modern ways of living, and making certain that your build achieves a high SAP will ensure the longevity and resale value of your dwelling.
Solar installation offers a simple, reliable and straightforward alternative to unsustainable practices. Choosing to power your home through solar panels significantly lowers emissions, and the anticipated running costs, which are calculated by the SAP.
What’s more, as the government continues to incentivise the use of zero emissions electric vehicles, a new legislation for the installation of charge points within new builds further increases the long term value of solar installation as we move toward a greener future.
Do Solar Panels Cut Costs?
Yes — solar panels draw energy from the sun, providing homeowners with a clean and sustainable source of power for their properties. You will be able to power your home with free energy, rather than being subject to the volatile electricity price changes and unsustainable practices still associated with large scale energy production.
What’s more, with the introduction of the new Smart Export Guarantee in January 2020, homeowners can claim a tariff from their energy supplier (provided they have more than 150,000 customers) for any energy their solar panels supply to the grid. This means that, not only can you save money on your energy bills by drawing power from a free and sustainable source, but you can also receive payment for any electricity that is surplus to requirements.
How Do Solar Panels Reduce Carbon Emissions?
The process of generating energy through solar panels does not emit any greenhouse gasses into the environment.
Burning fossil fuels releases CO2 (carbon dioxide) directly into the atmosphere, with devastating consequences for our health, and the environment. Despite recent efforts to curb our impact on climate change, our continued reliance on fossil fuels still contributes to more than 40% of CO2 emissions in the UK. Homes that are designed to eschew unsustainable practices will be prepared for a safer, healthier, and more viable future.
It is possible to calculate the reduction in CO2 that solar panels should yield. Your solar supplier can assist you in deciding how much your solar system is expected to generate in a year (kWh/year). If you then multiply this number by 0.519, which currently represents the notional carbon cost of producing 1 kWh/year. The result of this will give you your potential carbon savings for the year.
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At Atlantic Renewables, all of our solar panel installations are SAP compliant, and we can use our simulation software to provide a comprehensive, unbiased solar survey on your property or build, which will breakdown the payback period, investment yield, and potential energy savings you should expect from your solar panels.