Our future homes

8 February 2021

The Government has now published its response to the Future Homes Standard consultation. Overall, encouraging and positive proposals, with some significant changes afoot for the future of the housing sector.

Essentially, the drive is to make new homes ‘zero carbon ready’ by 2025, as a step towards the target of the UK becoming net-zero carbon by 2050. Measures include, amongst others, new housing to produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than allowed under the current regulations, no fossil fuel heating (eg. gas boilers) in homes after 2025 and new housing to be future-proofed so energy efficiency retrofit work will not be required to enable them to become net-zero carbon. There will be an ‘interim uplift’ to Building Regulations later this year for new homes to produce 31% less carbon emissions than present.

To counterbalance energy efficiency, there will also be an ‘overheating mitigation requirement’ introduced into the Building Regulations; an increasingly common problem as heatwaves are becoming a more common occurrence every year.

Many local authorities have declared climate emergencies and setting their own energy efficiency targets. For now, this will remain and this facilitates realistic targets for local areas: Cornwall has a different climate to Cumbria.

Whilst the Future Homes Standard is a big step in the right direction, there is a certainly a missed opportunity for the consideration of existing housing.

It is estimated that 80% of buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built. To realistically meet the 2050 net-zero carbon goal upgrading the energy efficiency of existing properties is essential. There needs to be more Government incentives to encourage the take up the huge scale of retrofit works needed to meet the 2050 target.

There is also an assumption that the renewable energy sector will be able to supply the demand for non-fossil fuel heating during the next four years. The opportunity is there but does the industry need Government support to meet the demand, especially in light of the housing crisis and the drive to deliver new homes?

2025 is only four years away. Larger housing schemes can take two to three years from inception to completion and phased estate regeneration schemes even longer to complete. At Pozzoni we are proactively addressing these issues and are currently working with several of our housing clients to review, and update, their design standards and specifications. Ensuring that our client and partnering teams understand the issues that we must address today will facilitate a smooth transition as the UK moves towards a net-zero future.

To read the proposal in full click here.

Overall, encouraging and positive proposals, with some significant changes afoot for the future of the housing sector.