Tom Wigg, Principal Sustainability Consultant
Part L and the Future Homes Standard.
According to the Government, homes accounted for 22% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Since then, significant progress has been made in decarbonising this sector, reducing emissions by 43% since 1990, but there is much more to be done.
The Chancellor’s 2019 Spring Statement included a commitment that “…by 2025, [the government] will introduce a Future Homes Standard for new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency.”
England’s Building Regulations were last updated eight years ago, so the Government’s 2021 consultation response to ‘The Future Homes Standard: changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations for new dwellings’ is a welcome step in the evolution of residential design.
The consultation response recognises the fact that homes built now will be operational in 2050 and that action must therefore be taken to decarbonise new dwellings today.
The Government has acknowledged the need to “improve the fabric standards of our homes and build the supply chains and technology options for low carbon heat that will save carbon through the next decade and put us on a cost-effective pathway to 2050.”
According to the original consultation document, “To meet the Future Homes Standard by 2025, industry will need to develop the necessary supply chains, skills and construction practices to deliver low-carbon heat, and highly energy efficient new homes.”
Hydrogen and heat networks.
In addition to a high level of fabric efficiency the government also proposes that a low carbon heating system is integral to the specification of the Future Homes Standard. The consultation noted that technologies, such as hydrogen, may have a role to play in heating systems of the future. However, for new homes, the government note that they anticipate heat pumps and heat networks (and to a lesser extent direct electric heating) will be the principal means of producing low-carbon heat for buildings built to the Future Homes Standard.
The consultation suggested that, by implementing low carbon heating systems, a home built to the Future Homes Standard will leverage the continued decarbonisation of the electricity grid to achieve net zero operational emissions without need for further material improvements.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) received a total of 3,310 responses to the consultation.
We now have a confirmed timeline for the adoption of the Standard, and the consultation response indicates this will indeed be by 2025, with an interim update to Part L to be implemented in June 2022, for full application as ‘Part L 2021’. An update to Part F, which details the ventilation requirements for new homes, will accompany the update to Part L.
For a summary of the key topics in the consultation response, and our subsequent insight into servicing and fabric solutions, you can delve into our overview document here.