Under the Future Homes Standard, the government aims to make all new homes “zero carbon ready” from 2025 by improving Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations.
But what does this look like in practice? Here we explore what the design and build of new homes might look like under the proposed changes and what solutions are available.
A move away from fossil fuels
One key change set out in the Future Homes Standard is that new homes will not be built with fossil fuel heating, such as natural gas boilers. Instead, they will have low carbon heating, and it’s thought that heat pumps – particularly air-to-water and air-to-air – will become one of the main systems used for new homes.
As part of the government’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Revolution’, it has already committed to installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. During the Future Homes Standard consultation, 70% of respondents agreed that heat pumps should play a role in delivering the goal of making homes zero-carbon ready.
But lower carbon energy sources are only one part of the challenge in achieving more sustainable homes.
Adopting a fabric first approach
The consultation document emphasises the importance of achieving “very high fabric standards”. If the industry adopts a fabric first approach by building with high performing materials and designing in such a way that improves air tightness and ventilation, then it will make it easier to heat and cool the home. As well as making homes more energy efficient, this fabric first approach also benefits people by reducing energy bills and creating more comfortable environments to live in.
In response to the Future Homes Standard consultation, the government has confirmed it will keep the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard as one of four performance metrics in new builds.
So if architects, designers, contractors, property builders or self builders want to take a fabric first approach as part of meeting the Future Homes Standard, what solutions are available?
Saint-Gobain: Innovating high performing fabric-first solutions
Saint-Gobain and our associated brands invest heavily in research and development to improve the performance and functionality of our building materials and systems. These include:
- Plasterboard: Taking into account different building requirements – energy performance, fire protection, thermal regulations, and interior air quality – our vast range of plasterboard products from British Gypsum provides a suitable option for all living spaces.
- Insulation: Whether for walls, external walls, roofs, or floors, Saint-Gobain’s comprehensive thermal insulation offering from Celotex, Isover and Weber has numerous solutions to help you meet the Future Homes Standard.
- Glass: Saint-Gobain Glass designs and manufactures some of the UK’s most energy efficient glass, with many solutions exceeding current energy standards and Building Regulations.
As well as these types of building materials, there are a whole range of other products and solutions to improve the energy efficiency of the home, such as draught proofing, pipe insulation and smart heating controls.
For more information about what the Future Homes Standard means for your next property development and how Saint-Gobain can help you meet the requirements, download our guide.