The UK government is proposing that all new homes and non-domestic buildings in England are built ‘zero carbon ready’ from 2025.
In its consultation on the Future Homes and Buildings Standards, published last month, the government says the proposals will mean no further work to buildings would be needed to meet zero carbon emissions ‘once the electricity Grid has fully decarbonised’.
The proposals focus on improvements to the minimum standards for fixed building services. These include banning gas and hydrogen-ready boilers in favour of air source heat pumps or connection to a 4th-generation heat network. District heat networks will also ‘likely be the preferred way of providing heating and hot water to blocks of flats’.
Existing building fabric standards will be retained, but the airtightness of new homes, warehouses and sports halls will be improved. The government is also looking to toughen up standards for homes created from buildings that have undergone a material change of use. There is also a proposal to replace the Standard Assessment Procedure with the Home Energy Model to calculate compliance (see below).
The proposals do not include the carbon embodied in building materials and construction processes, which the government says it will consult on ‘in due course’.
Feedback from the consultation will be published as new regulations in 2024, with the new standards coming into force from 2025 with a one year transition period.
The UK Green Building Council has criticised the proposals for lacking ambition and for failing to make the installation of photovoltaics mandatory, address embodied carbon, or tackle flood risk.