Three methods of calculating the figures necessary for the SAP for dwellings are proposed in Approved Document L. They are:

(1) an elemental method

(2) a target U value method

(3) an energy rating method.

In the elemental method standard U values for the exposed elements of the fabric of buildings are shown under two headings: (a) for dwellings with SAP ratings of 60 or less and (b) for those with SAP ratings over 60. The standard U values are 0.2 and 0.25 W/m2K for roofs, 0.45 W/m2K for exposed walls, 0.35 and 0.45 W/m2K for exposed floors and ground floors, 0.6 W/m2K for semi-exposed walls and floors and 3.0 and 3.3 W/m2K for windows, doors and rooflights, the two values being for headings (a) and (b), respectively. The basic allowance for the area of windows, doors and rooflights together is 225% of the total floor area. The area of windows, doors and rooflights, larger than those indicated by the percentage value, may be used providing there is a compensating improvement in the average U value by the use of glazing with a lower U value.

As it is unlikely that the SAP rating of the majority of new dwellings, complying with standard U values, will fall below 60, the over 60 rating values are the relevant ones.

The target U value method for dwellings is used to meet the requirement for conservation of fuel and power by relating a calculated average U value to a target U value, which it should not exceed. The average U value is the ratio of:

The total area of exposed floors, windows, doors, walls and roof and the standard U values in the elemental method are used to calculate the heat loss per degree. Where the calculated average U value exceeds the target U value it is necessary to improve the thermal resistance of walls, windows or roof either separately or together so that the average U value does not exceed the target U value. As an option, account may be taken of solar heat gains other than those allowed for in the equation on which the method is based. This method is based on the assumption of a boiler with an efficiency of at least 72%. Where a boiler with an efficiency of 85% is used the target U value may be increased by 10%. The use of the elemental or target U value methods of showing compliance does not give exemption from the requirement to give notice of an SAP rating.

The energy rating method is a calculation based on SAP which allows the use of any valid conservation measures. The calculation takes account of ventilation rate, fabric losses, water heating requirements and internal and solar heat gains.

The requirement for conservation of fuel and power will be met if the SAP energy rating for the dwelling, or each dwelling in a block of flats or converted building, is related to the floor area of the dwelling and ranges from 80 for dwellings with a floor area of 80 m2 or less to 85 for dwellings with a floor area of more than 120 m2.

As there is a requirement to complete the SAP worksheet to determine an SAP rating, which has to be notified to the local authority, whichever method of showing compliance is used the most practical and economic method of approach is to use the standard U values for SAP ratings over 60 set out in the elemental method in the initial stages of design, and then to complete the SAP worksheet at a later stage and make adjustments to the envelope insulation, windows and boiler efficiency as is thought sensible to achieve a high SAP rating.

For a description of the requirements for conservation of fuel and power for all buildings other than dwellings.

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