Future Homes Standards introduces heat pumps in new builds from 2025

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The former chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Spring Statement this year, his plans for introducing the Future Homes Standards, which has led to Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick announcing the government plans for consultation in creating these standards. He said he plans to introduce standards which will be ’an environmental revolution to home building, tackling climate change while keeping household bills low.’

The government has also announced plans for a new national design code, meaning that every single local authority across the country will be expected to produce their own design guide which reflects their unique setting, character and history, while meeting the expected national standard set out.

Currently, homes both new and existing, account for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing carbon emissions from new homes is essential to meeting the Government’s net zero emissions target.
By constructing energy efficient buildings with these Future Homes Standards this will reduce the need to retrofit these in future to meet our climate change targets.

Currently the building standards at the point of construction do not consider efficiency and energy costs and therefore even if householders want to make changes to their property, there can be limitations, due to the original construction.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government “The existing requirements already require good levels of energy efficiency, but we need to push further. We must ensure that new homes are future-proofed to facilitate the installation of low-carbon heat, avoiding the need to be retrofitted later, and that home builders and supply chains are in a position to build to the Future Homes Standard by 2025.”

Its expectation is that an average semi-detached home built to meet the new Standard would produce 75-80 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than one built to the 2013 Part L requirements. “This would typically mean that a new home built to the Future Homes Standard would have a heat pump, a waste water heat recovery system, triple glazing and minimum standards for walls, floors and roofs that significantly limit any heat loss. However, we will set the Future Homes Standard in performance terms, such as minimum levels of primary energy and CO2 emissions, limiting fabric standards and building services standards, without prescribing the technologies to be used. This allows housebuilders the flexibility to innovate and select the most practical and cost-effective solutions in particular circumstances.”  Energy use in homes, accounts for about 14 per cent of UK emissions, with electricity consumption in homes accounting for 6 per cent.

The MCHLG notes that although reducing the demand for heat through improved fabric standards in new homes has an important role to play it will not, on its own, meet our ambitions for the Future Homes Standard or the net zero emissions target by 2050. Therefore, in addition to a high level of fabric efficiency it also proposes that a low carbon heating system is integral to the specification of the Future Homes Standard. MCHLG says, low carbon heating may be delivered through heat pumps, heat networks and, in some circumstances, direct electric heating.

It adds: “We anticipate that the installation of heat pumps, particularly air-to-water and air-to-air heat pumps, will play a major role in delivering low carbon heat for homes built to the Future Homes Standard. Heat pumps come with the same low-carbon benefits as direct electric heating, but can deliver heat much more efficiently, which can help to overcome the affordability and grid-resource constraints associated with direct electric heating”

The independent Committee on Climate Change states that there is a need to establish heat pumps as a mass market solution for low carbon heating and there are opportunities to start this with new build properties: “The Committee also recommends that ‘new homes should not be connected to the gas grid from 2025’ this has informed our thinking on how we should frame the Future Homes Standard.”
The Ministry notes that other technologies, such as hydrogen, may have a role to play in heating systems of the future, but for new homes, heat pumps and heat networks are anticipated to be the principal means of producing low-carbon heat for buildings built to the Future Homes Standard.

Source: HVN Plus