New build homes must be zero carbon by 2025
Guy Murray is head of development finance at West One Loans
In 2019 the government launched a consultation document on stronger building regulations to help pave the way for a Future Homes Standard. It is important that all property developers are aware of these changes as they impact on the energy efficiency requirements of new build homes.
It is also beneficial for brokers to be aware of these up and coming building regulations as lenders will want to know that building projects are being developed with these new rules in mind.
The consultation is called The Future Homes Standard: 2019 Consultation on changes to Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part F (Ventilation) of the Building Regulations for new dwellings.
Views were sought on how changes to building regulations can drive down the carbon footprint of homes built after 2025. This will include changes to the ventilation and energy efficiency requirements as well as the role of councils in getting the best energy standards from developers.
Proposals involve technologies such as air source heat pumps and the latest generation of solar panels to help drive down the cost of keeping homes warm and tackle the threat of climate change. The Future Homes Standard will also see gas boilers and other fossil-fuel heating systems banned from new homes.
The government proposed introducing an uplift to energy efficiency standards in 2020 as a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard making new homes more energy efficient and future-proofing them in readiness for low-carbon heating systems.
On 19 January 2021, the government published its response to the Future Homes Standard consultation. The response includes 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 should 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.
Higher standards for existing homes
Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards with a significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. Any replacement, repairs and parts must be more energy efficient including windows and building services such as heat pumps, cooling systems and fixed lighting.
The plans also include a new requirement for additional ventilation and indoor air quality monitoring in high-risk, non-domestic buildings such as offices and gyms. This will reduce the risk of any potential infections being spread indoors. There will also be a new overheating mitigation requirement in the building regulations.
In addition, the government has announced a consultation on higher performance targets for non-domestic buildings which will mean they will be zero carbon ready by 2025.