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Delivering zero-carbon ready homes with changes to the Future Homes Standard

The government’s Future Homes Standard sets out the intention that all new homes will be zero-carbon ready by 2025. It means they will need to have high levels of energy efficiency built in and will not require any retro-fit work to become zero-carbon as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise.

The intention is to meet the target in a phased approach. By 2022, new homes will be expected to produce 31% less CO2 emissions compared to current standards. By 2025, they will need to produce 75-80% less CO2 than one built to current standards.

The changes will be enforced through changes to Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations.

What does the Future Homes Standard aim to do?

The Future Homes Standard is important for the UK’s climate commitments. The UK is already committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And in April 2021, the UK government announced that it will commit to cutting carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, almost 15 years earlier than planned.

The UK has already made considerable progress in reducing greenhouse emissions from heating and powering our homes. In 2018, heating and powering homes accounted for 22% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. This is a 43% reduction on 1990 levels, even though there are a quarter more homes.1

However, the homes built now and over the next decade will still exist in 2050, so there is still further to go. The Future Homes Standard aims to make energy efficient, low carbon homes the norm, not least because it is significantly cheaper and easier to install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures when homes are built, rather than retrofitting them afterwards.

1The Future Homes Standard: 2019 Consultation on changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for new dwellings

What does the Future Homes Standard mean for the window and door industry?

Windows and doors are important for a home’s overall energy efficiency. Accordingly, the minimum U-values for doors and windows will be reduced on the current standards, which have been in force since 2013.

In line with the phased approach, there will be two reductions between now and 2025:

  Current 2013 Part L standard 2021 Part L standard Likely 2025 Part L standard
Window U-value 1.4 W/m2.K 1.2 W/m2.K 0.8 W/m2.K
Door U-value 1.0 W/m2.K – opaque
1.2 W/m2.K – semi-opaque
1.0 W/m2.K 1.0 W/m2.K

When do the new Part L requirements come into effect?

The first set of changes to Part L will be published in December 2021 and will come into force in June 2022. Developers will need to submit a building / initial notice or deposited plans by June 2022 and commence work on each individual building by 2023.

Are there other changes the window and door industry needs to know about?

The Future Homes Standard is the first part of a two-part plan to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings. It covers new buildings.

The second part is the Future Buildings Standard. It’s being consulted on at the moment. It covers the energy efficiency of existing homes and buildings, the bulk of the UK’s housing stock. It is likely to mean that the U-values for replacement windows and doors in existing homes will also reduce.

What happens now?

These are the first changes to Part L of Building Regulations since 2013. Keep them in mind as you check specifications and respond to tenders. Epwin Window Systems customers and Approved Commercial Manufacturers can contact the Epwin Window Systems specification team with any queries. They will be more than happy to help.

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