Solar Building Regulations

New Building Regulations require the use of renewable energy sources. Solar energy can help address these requirements.


Building Regulations Part L 2011 - Dwellings


Part L of the Irish Building Regulations deals with the conservation of fuel and energy.

The regulation itself states that a building shall be designed and constructed so as to ensure that the energy performance of the building is such as to limit the amount of energy required for the operation of the building and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with this energy use insofar as is reasonably practicable.

Building regulations requirements for new dwellings also prescribe that a reasonable proportion of the energy consumption to meet the energy performance of a dwelling is provided by renewable energy sources. Solar technologies can be used to help meet this contribution.

Section 1.2 of the technical guidance document of Part L (2011, for dwellings) of the building regulations details what is considered the “reasonable minimum level of energy provision” of renewable energy which should be provided.

In summary, solar thermal and solar PV can both be used to achive or help achieve compliance with the requirement.

The BER assessment procedure (DEAP – Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure) is the only method which can verify that a solar installation meets the renewable requirement or not.


Solar Thermal and the Building Regulations Part L 2011


The products on HARP and on the Better Energy Homes registered Product list for Solar Collectors have been tested in accordance with IS EN 12975 (EN 12975-(1,2):2006 Thermal solar systems and components - Solar collectors - Part 1: General Requirements, Part 2: Test methods) and are assumed to be proper materials for the purpose of Part L of the Building Regulations.

However, it should be noted that the dwelling as a whole, incorporating these products, must comply with all Parts of the Building Regulations. Issues of particular relevance where, for example, roof mounted solar panels are fitted may include: weather tightness, fire safety, structural safety etc.

When choosing and installing these products in a particular dwelling, necessary maintenance and access for repair or replacement should be fully considered.

Draft Irish guidelines (SR 50-2:2010 Code of practice for building services - Part 2: Solar panels) have been developed to elaborate on the design, installation and commissioning issues relating to solar heating systems. These guidelines are intended to assist providers and specifiers of solar water heating systems, in the interpretation of the requirements (not directly addressed by Part L of the Building Regulations) and to provide guidance as to how the requirements should be addressed.

The emphasis, in the guidelines, is placed on general principles and not on detailed aspects of particular systems. Third party certification bodies e.g. NSAI/IAB are available to assess compliance of particular systems with all parts of the Building Regulations. The guidelines have been developed by NSAI Agrément, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DoEHLG) and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Qualified installers may include SEAI registered installers, FAS trained plumbers who have completed the renewable technologies module or similar. The solar agrement certificate listings are also available on the NSAI agrement website.

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