Blog: Current Affairs – SAP 10 and Central Heating

For the architect who doesn’t have a large team of savvy support staff to assist with understanding and processing the many guidelines, regulations and ratings governing the built environment, things can become quite overwhelming.

So, when you think you’ve had quite enough procedure, I’m going to take this opportunity to make you aware of another, one which is (potentially) going to drastically change the way we heat our buildings.

SAP 10, or to use its long form ‘Standard Assessment Procedure 10’, is a framework used for building regulation compliance and producing Energy Performance Certificates. Briefly, these certificates indicate the energy efficiency of a property, containing information about energy costs, and recommend ways to reduce energy consumption.

The procedure is a hotly anticipated one, soon to be published, and will see a number of developments from guidance on thermal bridging to tackling the causes of overheating in urban areas. A great summary of its scope is offered by CIBSE Journal.

However, SAP 10 (or SAP 10.2 to use the most up-to-date iteration) offers, in my mind, one hugely significant change which will be sure to disrupt both the energy and central heating market. Primarily, there will be a change in fuel and CO2 factors which will see the emission factor for electricity reduced from 0.519 kgCO2/kWh to 0.233 kgCO2/kWh.

As we move away from gas heating, no doubt many will be aware of the government’s desire to phase out gas boilers within new builds by 2025. It also reflects the energy markets commitment to adopting greener production methods to supply a de-carbonised National Grid. This re-calibration makes electrical heating solutions more viable for architects and specifiers.

For the last 75 years we have adopted a conventional view towards central heating, with little innovation. Essentially we live in a convection society where developments have merely been to make boilers marginally more efficient year-on-year. I think SAP 10.2 is about to make waves.

The central heating market is currently playing catch-up with the energy sector. Hopefully SAP 10.2, and subsequently SAP 11, will act as a catalyst.

There are a large number of exciting, electricity-based solutions coming onto the market at the moment, and it’s important now to convince architects, and for that matter the whole construction sector, these are both affordable and more efficient than gas-based systems.

David Bowen is CTO and Founder of Logicor