Future Homes Standard sets new rules for green building revolution

Future Homes Standard sets new rules for green building revolution.

All homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and help protect the environment, the housing minister Chris Pincher has announced earlier this week. (19/1/21).

Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards, but leading industry figures have called for faster progress and more clarity on the retrofitting that will be needed to meet the UK’s target for achieving net zero by 2050.

Responding to a consultation on the Future Homes Standard, the UK government has set out plans to radically improve the energy performance of new homes, with all homes to be highly energy efficient, with low carbon heating and be zero carbon ready by 2025.

These homes are expected to produce 75-80% lower carbon emissions compared to current levels. To ensure industry is ready to meet the new standards by 2025, new homes will be expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions from 2021.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “Improving the energy performance of buildings is vital to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and protecting the environment for future generations to come. The radical new standards announced today will not only improve energy efficiency of existing homes and other buildings, but will also ensure our new homes are fit for the future, by reducing emissions from new homes by at least 75%.”

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, said: “We are pleased to see confirmation that the Future Homes Standard will mean new homes will have carbon dioxide emissions 75-80% lower than those built to current Building Regulations – though it’s regrettable that the Standard won’t be implemented till 2025, despite it being widely trailed that it would be brought forward to 2023.”

Nigel Banks, director of specialist projects at modular housebuilders ilke Homes, said: “The government’s response to the Future Homes Standard consultation is welcome news. However, the timetable for implementation is too slow, meaning over a million new homes built between now and 2026 will need to be retrofit in the 2030s. We still believe the Future Homes Standard could be implemented much sooner than is being proposed. Homes England could play a key role in accelerating adoption of the Future Homes Standard and helping to reduce the cost to the industry by scaling up solutions ahead of the regulations applying to all new homes.”

Alan Fogarty, sustainability partner at multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, said: “While this is great news for the energy performance of new build homes and businesses, the fact remains that 90% of building stock that will be in use in 2050, has already been built to standards that do not comply with net zero carbon standards. The real challenge here is retrofitting the thousands of homes and businesses in our existing building stock. In order to meet the government’s ambitious 2050 net zero carbon targets, we need to be retrofitting 20,000 homes per week to meet net zero carbon energy standards, and at the moment there is no standard in place for how that should be achieved.”

The government has published its response to the Future Homes Standard consultation, which sought views on how best to improve the energy performance of new homes. This was first part of a 2-part consultation on Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations.

New plans to make all other buildings, including existing homes, more energy efficient have now been published as part of the Future Buildings Standard consultation, which closes on 13 April 2021.

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