The UK government launched a consultation on the Future Homes Standard (FHS), a new set of regulations designed to make new homes more energy efficient and sustainable. The consultation closed on the 6th March 2024 (note: the deadline has been extended to the 27th March) , the views of a wide range of stakeholders will be taken into account including homeowners, developers, and environmental groups.

What does the Future Homes Standard mean for housebuilders?

The FHS will be implemented in two phases:

Future Homes standard key points 

Option 1: A heat pump system with Waste water heat recovery and Solar PV. 

Option 1 will have higher capital costs but will result in lower carbon emissions and running costs.

Option 2: A heat pump system, no additional technology required. 

Option 2 will have a lower capital cost with higher carbon emissions and running costs. 

Fabric Standards 

Fabric requirements for the notional building envelopes remain consistent with Part L 2021 standards for both Options with the exception of air permeability which is lower for option 1. 

Building Services and Renewables

Both options require heat pumps to be used for both heating and domestic hot water. The Option 1 notional also includes solar PV, mechanical extract ventilation and WWHR with a quoted capital uplift of 4%. 

What is the new Home Energy Model

A consultation on the new Home Energy Model (HEM) which will replace SAP is running in parallel. A beta version of the HEM compliance software is now available for modelling. The HEM methodology is significantly more complex than SAP. Additional inputs are required and half hourly calculations are undertaken to better reflect time of energy use and the interactions with energy systems and environmental conditions.

The model will also require more specific construction information including the number of bedrooms, energy ratings of household appliances, hot water distribution details, and the ductwork/pipework dimensions and insulation properties.

Future Building Standards (Non domestic buildings) 

Option 1 (recommended): Solar PV panel coverage equivalent of 40% of the building’s foundation area for side-lit spaces and 75% for top-lit spaces. 

Option 2 (not recommended): Solar PV panel coverage equivalent of 20% of foundation area for side-lit spaces and 40% for top-lit spaces.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the FHS presents challenges, such as adapting construction practices and potentially higher upfront costs, it also offers significant opportunities:

Stay Informed and Prepare

The consultation period for the Future Homes and Buildings Standards has been extended to March 27, 2024. Housebuilders can take proactive steps to stay informed and prepare for the future by:

By taking these steps, housebuilders can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and be well-positioned to adapt to the evolving regulations once they are finalised.

Get in touch today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you future-proof your new build projects.

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