If the building control system is to deliver housing which achieves major reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, it is important to ensure not only that energy efficiency standards are set at an appropriate level but also that the specification of standards takes into account realised performance. It is argued in this paper that, in many cases, there is a large gap between notional performance, as defined by the calculation methods embodied in the Building Regulations, and performance achieved in practice. Although it is accepted that some variation in performance is to be expected, there are a number of areas where closer attention to the methods used to estimate thermal performance, and the inclusion of hitherto unregulated aspects, could help to achieve a much closer match between what is expected and what is achieved. In particular, the paper discusses ways in which the Regulations could be improved so that the impact of thermal bridging, construction quality, window performance and airtightness are more closely controlled.
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