The Future Homes Standard – what this means for building regulations

Future Homes StandardAt the beginning of 2021, the Government published the results of its 2019 consultation on the Future Homes Standard.

The Future Homes Standard was first announced in 2019 within the Government’s spring statement. This standard will come into effect in 2025 and ensures that new homes in England are future-proofed with low-carbon heating systems and high levels of energy efficiency, full details of which are yet to be published.


What is the Future Homes Standard?

The new Future Homes Standard is a set of standards that compliment building regulations to ensure that all new homes that are built from 2025 will produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than homes that are built under current regulations.


What is the purpose of the Future Homes Standard?

The Future Homes Standard is designed to lower carbon emissions that are linked with homes and buildings in the UK. Buildings account for roughly 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with over a quarter of this coming from homes in the UK according to the Climate Change Committee.


What do we know so far?

From 2025, no new homes will be able to connect to the gas network – instead, they will be equipped with energy-efficient insulation and heated by a low carbon heating source such as an air source heat pump.

The first consultation proposed new energy efficiency and ventilation standards for existing homes and non-domestic buildings. There were also proposals to mitigate against overheating in new homes which would be addressed via a new mitigation requirement in Building Regulations – this area is still awaiting feedback from the government.

As a first step, from 2021 all new homes will be expected to produce 31 per cent lower carbon emissions as part of an ‘interim uplift’ in Part L standards.


How will builders and renovators be affected?

Most builders and self-builders are generally building to high-energy efficient levels already so in terms of cost it should be small – i.e. solar panels and low carbon heating sources.


The government plans to update the Building Regulations later this year to ensure that new homes built from 2022 produce 31% less carbon emissions.


A full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard will be consulted on in 2023, with the necessary legislation introduced in 2024, ahead of implementation in 2025.