New Homes, Extensions and The Future Homes Standard

The Future Homes Standard aims to ‘radically improve’ the energy performance of new homes and extensions throughout the UK. Its implementation will include an update to the building regulations parts F (ventilation) and L (conservation of fuel and power), which will affect the way we design homes for the better.

The average UK home currently emits 2.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions are caused by built homes, so this standard really could not have come soon enough. These updates look to ensure a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions in new homes, so will make a significant difference! 

There is critique amongst the praise over the scheme, especially the fact that it will not be fully implemented until 2025. However, an interim update to the regulations is due in mid-2022, which aims to ensure a 31% reduction in emissions until the full rollout.

What does this mean for home-owners?

As mentioned, the Future Homes Standard is mostly aimed at new-builds with implications for extensions. The Future Buildings Standard is also due to set out energy and ventilation standards for existing buildings, although it is not yet clarified what this will look like. For now, we can only really reflect on the plans for new homes and extensions.

The key changes

We understand that a sustainable home relies on three key components. These are; an insulated and air-tight building fabric; efficient mechanical and electrical systems; and renewable sourcing of power and heat. At this stage, we can see that all of these are addressed to some degree in the Future Homes Standard.

  • The standard promises to improve our UK building standards for insulation and air-tightness. This will be implemented in both extensions and new-builds, requiring better specifications of new walls, roofs and windows. 
  • There is good news for efficient electrical and heating systems in new homes, where heat pumps will become the main technology for new-builds. There will also be new mitigation measures on over-heating in homes, and appropriate standards to be met for ventilation systems.
  • One of the most encouraging features of the new scheme is that no new home from 2025 will be reliant on fossil fuels. Gas or combi-boilers will be discontinued entirely, and these new homes will continue to reach zero-carbon as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise.

As architects, it is important for us to keep updated with the latest news in sustainable design and we also benefit from working closely with energy consultants. Whether it is new standards or advances in building technology and systems, we want our clients to be aware of the regulations as well as opportunities when designing their home or extension. 

We hope this information has been helpful. If you would like to discuss your own project please get in touch!

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