Tuesday 16th March 2021

Future Homes Standard Consultation


In January 2021, the government issued its 114-page response to the Future Homes Standard Consultation. Emily Mansfield, Calfordseaden Senior Sustainability Engineer, has summarised the key notes.

Future Homes Standard Consultation

In January 2021, the government issued its 114-page response to the Future Homes Standard Consultation. Emily Mansfield, Calfordseaden Senior Sustainability Engineer, has summarised the key notes.

The Future Homes Standard is a set of standards that will complement the Building Regulations and will require new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. The standard will comprise a series of amendments to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations for new homes and will come into effect in England in 2025.

New homes that are built to the Future Homes Standard will produce 75% less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to new homes built to the current regulations. This will be achieved through high fabric standards and low-carbon heating systems.

The government response highlighted their ambition of achieving net zero carbon by 2050. The aim is to future proof new homes and reduce the energy demand from the National Electricity Grid. The government also confirmed the new Part L of the Building Regulations will be updated later in 2021 and will provide a 31% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to current levels. This update to the Building Regulations, due to come into effect in June 2022, will act as an interim step to help the industry prepare towards achieving the standards required under the Future Homes Standard and Part L 2025 of the Building Regulations.

Part L 2021 will introduce an additional performance metric to assess the energy efficiency of new homes, one of which will be primary energy, which is currently ignored under Part L 2013 of the Building Regulations. As the National Electricity Grid continues to decarbonise, the focus will move away from CO2 emissions and more towards the energy intensity of a development. Low energy designs will be encouraged to meet the primary energy targets.

It was originally proposed to remove the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) from Part L 2021 of the Building Regulations. However, the government has decided that the FEES will in fact remain, following a negative response to this proposal during the consultation. Applying the FEES ensures the building fabric specification is enhanced over the limiting parameters within Part L to reduce the space heating demand. This is key as we move away from mains gas, not only to reduce the energy demand from the grid, but also to ensure householder affordability for space heating.

The proposed Future Homes Standard and Part L 2025 specification will be based on a low-carbon heating system, which will put the focus on providing new homes that are well-insulated with a reduced space heating demand to reduce the burden on the National Electricity Grid once heat pumps are adopted widespread.

The response from the industry has been positive, and there is much support for the governments ambitions of working towards a Future Homes Standard that will improve energy efficiency of new homes.


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