The UK government has initiated a public consultation to update its home energy rating system, proposing a shift from the current Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) to a new model known as the Home Energy Model.

SAP, introduced in 1993, is a cornerstone of building regulations, ensuring new homes meet energy efficiency and low carbon standards. It’s also integral in generating Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), which have sparked debate in recent years.

The Home Energy Model, developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in collaboration with DESNZ, aims to align with the Future Homes Standard, set to be implemented for new homes from 2025. This new model is designed to ensure new homes are ‘zero carbon ready’, incorporating low carbon heating and advanced energy efficiency measures.

Crucially, the Home Energy Model is seen as more compatible with green technologies such as heat pumps, storage technologies, and smart control devices. It offers a higher time resolution, capable of modeling energy performance for every half-hour of the year. This improved granularity better represents the capabilities of smart technologies and storage solutions.

The government’s intention is to eventually use the Home Energy Model for assessments in EPCs. The model is designed in a modular manner to support various applications where energy performance assessments are necessary. In a significant move towards transparency and collaboration, the consultation suggests releasing the Home Energy Model as open source, allowing the industry and researchers to apply and modify the methodology for diverse applications.

The public consultation is a critical step in refining the Home Energy Model. Feedback gathered will inform its development, ensuring it effectively supports the UK’s transition to a net-zero future and the objectives of the Future Homes Standard. This initiative marks a significant overhaul of the existing SAP system, reflecting the evolving landscape of home energy efficiency and sustainable development.

The consultation opens this week and will close on March 6 2024.  You can see the government consultation using the link below: