The Future Homes Standard sets out to make new homes ‘zero carbon ready’ by 2025 through very high fabric standards and low energy heat sources. Here we explore the recommendations and how they can help ‘make the world a better home’.
Earlier this year, the government published the outcome of the Future Homes Standard consultation to future-proof new homes and make them more energy efficient.
The proposed changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations are intended to make all new homes “zero carbon ready” from 2025.
Here, we explore what the proposed changes mean in terms of making the UK’s housing stock more sustainable and how Saint-Gobain is working towards a shared vision of “making the world a better home”.
Making energy efficient, low carbon homes the norm
In 2018, over a fifth (22 per cent) of all greenhouse gases released in the UK was from heating and powering homes. If the UK wants to meet it targets of reducing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, it’s clear to see that making homes more energy efficient and embracing low carbon heating options are big steps in achieving the goal.
The Future Homes Standard consultation document explains that it is cheaper and easier to make new homes energy efficient in the first place, rather than retrofitting energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures after they’ve been built. And this is part of the reason why the recommendations aim to make energy efficient, low carbon homes the norm.
On top of this, the government points out that the process of meeting the goals will entail improving the country’s supply chain and technology options, which in turn will help to fuel economic growth.
Future-proofing the housing stock
The government had proposed that from 2025, new homes built to the Future Homes Standard will have CO2 emissions at least 75% lower than those built to current Building Regulations. All homes will be “zero carbon ready”, meaning as the electricity grid decarbonises, they can become zero carbon without any future retrofitting work.
This will all be achieved through building to very high fabric standards – for example, the best performing insulation, plasterboard, and glazing – and teaming this with low carbon heating options – for example, heat pumps, which the government anticipates “will become the primary heating technology for new homes”.
A positive step towards making the world a better home
Our purpose at Saint-Gobain is “to make the world a better home”. Through innovation and integrating within our local communities, our ambition is to make the world a more beautiful and sustainable place to live.
Not only are we striving to achieve this through our products and services, but how we operate as a business too. In fact, we have committed to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050 by signing the pledge of the Global Compact “Business ambition for 1.5°C” as part of the Climate Action Summit.
With this in mind, we welcome the recommendations outlined in the Future Homes Standard consultation. As the government explains: “Introducing the Future Homes Standard will ensure that the homes this country needs will be fit for the future, better for the environment and more affordable for consumers to heat.”
If we design and build better homes there are so many benefits, from enhancing people’s comfort and wellbeing, to improving local communities and enhancing biodiversity. The industry is already making considerable advancements to improve the sustainability and function of homes, and this is reflected in the research and development that we’re carrying out at Saint-Gobain and our brands. Whether through smarter off-site solutions, such as timber frames or pre-fab roofing, or the best performing building materials like glazing and insulation, we want to improve how we build and what we build with.
By combining expertise and knowledge from around the world, plus working towards a shared goal of achieving net zero, we can make quick advances in this area. As the government explains, “with good planning and smart design we can build the homes we need while protecting and enhancing the natural environment and adjusting to climate change.” Ultimately, we can make the world a better home.