Energy efficient building regulations

Engineering News

17th June 2010
ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) has drafted a new section of the National Building Regulations…….

The regulation would make it compulsory for buildings to be designed and constructed within a standard making it possible for the user to minimise the energy required to meet the functional requirements of the building, and use it efficiently. It would affect all new buildings, except those used for industrial purposes.

The NRCS also highlighted that changes to the building regulations to regulate the energy usage in new buildings alone would not meet South Africa’s energy savings targets. In this regard, government was “putting in place a number of other initiatives to address energy consumption”.

The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act requires the Minister of Trade and Industry to consult with the board of NRCS regarding the introduction of new or amended building regulations.

The regulator explained that the regulatory research and development division of NRCS drafted the new regulation that will be considered by stakeholders before submission to the NRCS board for approval. When approved by the board, and the Minister, the draft would be published in the Government Gazette for public comment.

The regulation would set targets for energy consumed yearly by large commercial buildings to meet the functional needs of users.

The NRCS said that large commercial buildings usually used air conditioning systems, high levels of artificial lighting, elevators, and hot water supplies, all of which consumed a substantial amount of energy. Significant savings can be achieved by users, and relieve pressure on the electricity supply grid by using it efficiently. The different elements of the building envelope, such as roofs and ceilings, walls, and windows, would have to meet minimum requirements for preventing heat loss in winter, or heat gain in summer, in order to meet the targets, added the regulator.

Alternatives were provided for naturally ventilated smaller buildings used for other purposes, such as housing. The building could be designed and constructed by ‘rational design’ so as to meet energy consumption targets, or be built according to ‘deemed to satisfy’ rules for the different parts of the building envelope. Minimum heat resistance requirements would apply to walls, floors, windows, roofs and ceilings, and the building should be optimally oriented as close as possible to true north.

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