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Have Building Regulations Changed Due to The Future Homes Standard?

In the 2019 Spring Statement, the government revealed a new section under the Building Regulations called the Future Homes Standard, set to start in 2025.

Read Time : 5 Mins

Author : NED

In the 2019 Spring Statement, the government revealed a new section under the Building Regulations called the Future Homes Standard, set to start in 2025.

What is the Future Homes Standard 2025?

The Future Homes Standard 2025 is a new section under Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (Ventilation) of the Building Regulations for new dwellings, with all new energy efficiency and ventilation requirements for new houses being built from 2025 onwards in an attempt to ‘future-proof’ homes and improve energy efficiency so that they are ‘zero carbon ready’.

What is the Future Building Standard?

The Future Buildings Standard is a set of energy and ventilation standards launched in January 2021 for non-domestic buildings and existing homes, including proposals to mitigate against overheating in residential buildings.

What’s the Purpose of the Future Homes Standard 2025?

According to the Climate Change Committee, the built environment currently accounts for around 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with 20% of this coming from the 28 million UK homes.

The aim of the Future Homes Standard is to ensure that all new homes produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than under current regulations, in a bid to meet the government’s plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

What Changes to Building Regulations were Proposed Under the Future Homes Standard?

The Future Homes Standard consultation set out two options to uplift energy efficiency standards and requirements for new homes built from 2025 onwards (with some changes starting in 2022)

Option 1

The first option was to reduce carbon emissions by 20% compared to the current standard for an average home.

The government anticipated this was something that could be achieved through the use of higher quality building fabric standards, such as triple glazing and materials to minimise heat loss from walls, ceiling and roofs.

This option was expected to save the average household around £59 a year on their heating bills.

Option 2

The second option was to reduce carbon emissions by 31% compared to the current standard for an average home.

The government anticipated that this could be achieved through the installation of carbon-saving technology such as solar panels and better fabric standards, though not as high as in option 1– e.g. double glazing.

This option is expected to save the average household around £357 a year on their heating bills.

The government also expects that this will prepare supply chains for heat pumps and result in an increased number of trained installers, ready to install more eco-friendly heating solutions to existing homes.

Which Option Did the Government Choose?

Option 2 was the government’s preferred option as it would deliver greater carbon savings and result in much lower energy bills for the homeowner compared with option 1. The government response was to make option 2 take effect in June 2022.

However, deputy chief executive of the Association of Decentralised Energy, Joanna Wade, believes option 2 is short-sighted.

Wade says that lower fabric standards will result in greater risks in the future, resulting in the need to be retrofitted within 5 years time in order to meet the next set of high building standards.

Her solution would be to use both low-carbon heating technology and higher fabric standards.

What Does the Future Homes Standard Mean for Homeowners in 2025?

From 2025 onwards, no new homes will be able to connect to the gas network (meaning no more gas boilers for new builds). Instead, new houses will receive energy efficient insulation and low carbon heating technologies.

Heat pumps will likely become the most common source of heating for new buildings in the future, meaning no new homes will rely on fossil fuels. This will help to slow down the depletion of our limited resources and reduce global warming.

How Will the Future Homes Standard Affect Existing Homes?

Existing homes are also expected to be subject to higher energy efficiency standards should they request planning permission for an extension or making thermal upgrades. This will help to ensure as many homes are future proofed as possible.

How Have the Building Regulations Changed in 2022?

Updates to the Building Regulations took effect in June, here are the key changes you need to know about.

New Residential Buildings to Reduce Carbon Emissions by 31%

stating that new-build homes will need to produce at least 31% less carbon emissions, something which can be enabled through the installation of electric heating systems and renewable energy sources such as solar.

New Non-Residential Buildings to Reduce Carbon Emissions by 27%

Additionally, new non-domestic buildings are required to produce 27% less carbon emissions, with similar low energy measures as those above.

New ‘Primary Energy’ Metric Introduced

A new metric for measuring energy efficiency has been introduced. ‘Primary energy’ will be used to measure the energy efficiency of a building’s heating and the energy required to deliver fuel to the building– including the efficiency of the power station supplying the electricity!

New Minimum Efficiency Standards

In all domestic new builds, the new U-value for walls is 0.18W/m², 1.4 for windows and rooflights and 1.4 for doors.

‘In non-domestic builds, there is a lower U-value of 0.26 for walls and the majority of windows/curtain walling must achieve 1.6W/m².

New Maximum Flow Temperature

All new and replacement heating systems fitted in both domestic and non-domestic builds must have a maximum flow temperature of 55ºC.

CO2 Monitors in All Offices

Background trickle vents are a recommendation for non-domestic buildings and all offices will now require CO2 monitors to ensure air quality is high. The recommended minimum air supply rate is 0.5l/s.m².

Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard

The Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard level will be set by a full fabric specification in new homes and SAP compliance will also be applied to extensions built on existing buildings,

Glazing Limits

The Approved Document 0 has introduced glazing limits for new build homes, care homes, schools and student accommodation in order to reduce unwanted solar gain.

EV Charging Point Preparatory Work

Under the new approved Document S, all domestic new builds have new regulations that state that preparatory work must be completed for the future installation of an electric vehicle charging point.

For more information and advice about how gas and electricity connections will be affected by the Future Homes Standard, stay updated with our handy guides.

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