Climate Action

Government reveals plans for emission-reduced homes to reach climate targets

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation this week on its plans for a Future Homes Standard (FHS).

  • 04 October 2019
  • Jennie Steele

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation this week on its plans for a Future Homes Standard (FHS).

This set of regulations aiming to decrease the carbon intensity of new builds by 80% was announced by former Chancellor Philip Hammond in March. It comes as part of the Government's target to move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 - a target that is set in law to align with the UK’s role in the Paris Agreement and the 1.5 degree goal.

New and existing builds contribute 20% of UK emissions; the Government recognises that the homes built now and in the immediate future will still exist in 2050, and therefore contribute to the 2050 target. 

UK Green Building Council’s Director of Policy and Places, John Alkeras, says that “as a nation we can no longer avoid the crucial role that new homes play in helping to meet this target.”

This FHS is set to be completely put in place in 2025, with mandatory requirements for new homes including triple glazing, building fabrics that limit heat loss, low-carbon heating systems, and onsite generation assets. Fossil fuel heating systems will be banned and there may be measures requiring additional carbon-saving methods such as heat pumps, heat networks, and direct electric heating.

The Government predicts emission reductions of up to 31% with the introduction of these requirements.

Interim measures will be introduced sooner than 2025: this consultation (one of two) relates particularly to the building regulations that will be implemented at the end of 2020, and will be open until 10th January 2020.

John Alkeras continues to say “This announcement sets out a new and extremely welcome level of ambition from the Government, which should see a significant improvement in carbon reductions from new homes in 2020, and important clarity on further improvement in 2025.”

“It is also encouraging to see a recognition from Government of the importance of clarity for businesses in the construction sector. By setting out a ‘roadmap’ towards the Future Homes Standard in 2025, this should provide confidence in the direction of travel. Many in the industry are still scarred by the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes and Zero Carbon Homes policy in 2015, so Government must learn lessons from that, and be absolutely rock solid in its commitment to this agenda…at long last, it appears as though we are heading in the right direction.”