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The Housing Minister, Chris Pincher, announces a series of ambitious new targets for a green building revolution. Designed to lower energy consumption and help protect the environment, the new standards will affect all homes and businesses – existing and new build.

The new targets include measures to ensure:

  • All new buildings are constructed to be highly energy efficient.
  • Building work in existing buildings must meet new standards.
  • Measures to tackle overheating in existing homes to be introduced to drive down costly bills for families.

Improving energy performance

New homes will be expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions from 2021

The Future Homes Standard consultation has resulted in the Government setting out plans to ‘radically improve the energy performance of new homes, with all homes to be highly energy efficient, with low carbon heating and be zero carbon ready by 2025.’

With new homes expected to produce 75-80% lower carbon emissions by 2025 (compared to current levels), it has been announced that to prepare for this target, new homes will be expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions from 2021.

Indoor air quality monitoring

Interestingly, existing homes will also be subject to higher standards. Those undertaking an extension will find they need to incorporate works that make homes warmer and reduce bills. There will be a requirement for replacements, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient. This includes windows and building services such as heat pumps, cooling systems, or fixed lighting.

Additionally, the Government’s new standards also cover:

  • Ventilation – a new requirement for additional ventilation and indoor air quality monitoring in high-risk non-domestic buildings, such as offices and gyms, reducing the risk of any potential infections being spread indoors.
  • Overheating in residential buildings - a new overheating mitigation requirement in the building regulations.

Stringent transitional arrangements

With the standards being brought in over a short timescale, the Government will introduce ‘stringent transitional arrangements to provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building. These will last for one year and apply to individual homes, rather than an entire development.’

The industry has to work together and support must be given to help deliver on Government aims"

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “The CIPHE welcomes the drive for energy efficient buildings and the path to net zero carbon emissions. However, these new standards are being introduced rapidly, into an industry fighting the effects of COVID-19, problems with the supply chain and a training crisis. To be successful, the industry has to work together and support must be given to help deliver on Government aims.”

Higher performance targets

The Government has also announced a consultation on higher performance targets for non-domestic buildings, which will mean buildings will be zero carbon ready by 2025. The Future Building Standards consultation will run from 19th January 2021 to 11:45pm on 13th April 2021.

Kevin continued, “It is vital that the industry makes their views heard on the path to net zero. Installers are at the forefront of environmental change and need to be involved in the process. The CIPHE is urging all those with an interest in higher performance targets for non-domestic buildings to take part in the Future Building Standards consultation, before it closes on 13th April.”

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