SAP 2012 – What’s changed? (Overview)

SAP 2012 was quietly published and whilst we’re still waiting on the changes to Part L to allow a Target Emission Rate to be calculated, there is some information to be gleaned…

It’s worth noting that SAP underpins all the regional regulations, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so changes here can have a wide impact.

SAP dictates how a dwelling will perform against the TER set by the standards, so picking out the changes from SAP2009 gives us a few pointers as regards dwelling performance under the next regulations.

SAP 2012 picture


As a quick overview:

  • Various elaborations and clarifications throughout the document.
  • Regional weather and height above sea level has been partially incorporated. In particular where the building is (and how solar panels are orientated and inclined) will have an effect on Solar Hot Water and PV performance.
  • Heat Pumps default performance has been downgraded (with exception of Appendix Q tested appliances and those installed under MCS).
  • Manufacturers declared performance for entering boiler efficiency has been removed from SAP 2012 – so either a non compliant default, or an actual boiler will need to be entered.
  • More Thermal bridging junctions have been added (More heat-losses therefore potentially making it harder to pass).
  • Party Walls elaborated on and better clarified as to what U-value to assign (and Structurally Insulated Panels party walls now included).
  • Various minor tweaks elsewhere – which variously may make it harder to pass (or easier in some instances).
  • Costs and Emissions generally higher, therefore savings from making improvements may be more pronounced.

The full document is available from the BRE at

In the next few posts, I’ll pick out a few of the above changes in more detail (Heat Pumps, Solar Hot Water and PV and Thermal Bridging).

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Jon Ducker is a qualified energy assessor working for Kingspan Insulation Ltd. He has an extensive knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy systems and sustainability in buildings with an expert knowledge of the relevant sections of buildings regulations and standards and their interactions with SAP. He provides authoritative advice regarding energy assessments for a wide range of public and private sector clients.