The Government has launched a consultation on the introduction of a “Future Homes Standard” for England, to be operable from 2025. There are to be proposed interim measures applicable from 2020. The aim is to ensure that new build homes in England will be future-proofed, with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency.
This is the first of a two-part consultation regarding proposed changes in England to the Building Regulations. The second consultation is expected shortly and will consider the introduction of increased energy efficiency requirements for (1) existing domestic buildings and (2) new and existing non-domestic buildings.
Four performance metrics are proposed for buildings to be measured against under the transitional standards:
- Primary energy target (principal performance metric);
- CO₂ emission target (secondary performance metric);
- Householder affordability rating; and
- Minimum standards for fabric and fixed building services.
In terms of the CO₂ metric, the consultation sets out two options to uplift the current Part L standards in 2020 when compared with the current standard for an average home:
- Option 1: 20% reduction in CO₂ emissions.
- Option 2: 31% reduction in CO₂ emissions. This is the Government’s preferred option. It is proposed that this could be achieved through the installation of carbon-saving technology (such as solar panels) and improved fabric standards.
The transitional standards are designed to encourage home builders, installers and supply chains to work to higher specifications in readiness for the introduction of the more stringent 2025 Future Homes Standard.
The consultation proposes to remove the power of the local planning authorities to set higher energy efficiency standards than those in the Building Regulations, to mitigate the overall increase in costs for home builders in complying with the transitional standards.
The consultation states that the Standard will include very high fabric standards (including triple glazing and standards for walls, floors and roofs that significantly limit heat loss) and low carbon heating system requirements. The Government considers that the scalable low carbon heating solution is likely to be use of heat pumps, heat networks and direct electric heating.
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