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Revised standards for new build homes in England will come into effect next June to introduce up to a 30 per cent reduction in emissions from lower carbon heat and insulation

The government has amended the Building Regulations to ensure new homes built in England from 2022 must drastically reduce their carbon emissions compared to current requirements.

The new commitments will mean that CO2 emissions from home will be reduced by up to 30 per cent over current standards.  Emissions from other new buildings such as offices and shops will meanwhile be cut by around 27 per cent of present levels, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The requirements will come into effect from 15 June 2022. However, a transition period will mean that building notices or planning work submitted to a local authority before this day can continue to be built under current standards.  A range of new requirements are also set out in the revisions with regards to ventilation requirements in buildings.

The so-called uplift in building standards will seek to encourage more energy efficient buildings and heat as a means to support industry to prepare for the introduction of a Future Homes/Buildings Standard in 2025.

This 2025 Future Homes Standard is intended to ensure new build properties are “net zero ready” without the need for the extensive retrofitting that will be required in existing homes and buildings to meet the government’s 2050 decarbonisation targets.

The new standards are intended to be realised through the use of lower carbon technologies such as heat pumps or solar panel technologies, or via the use of more energy efficient materials in a building’s construction.

MP Eddie Hughes, the current housing minister, said the amendments were part of a longer-term government focus on cutting CO2 emissions from homes and buildings.

He said, “The changes will significantly improve the energy efficiency of the buildings where we live, work and spend our free time and are an important step on our country’s journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment.”

The latest Building Regulation amendments will be followed in 2023 by the launch of a full technical consultation for the Future Buildings Standard. This will make use of industry and other specialist feedback to help shape the full requirements of the 2025 standard. The new standard is expected to include a legal requirement to end using heating systems exclusively designed to run on fossil fuels in any new homes.

Early industry reaction

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) described the revised Building Regulations in England as an encouraging step to uplift efficiency standards.

CIBSE’s technical director Hwyel Davies said the amendments reflected the most ambitious put forward within a consultation on the standards.

He added, “CIBSE welcome new requirements for energy performance modelling and overheating risk assessments, which should help deliver better building performance outcomes. We are also pleased to see the renewed commitment that the Future Homes/Buildings standard will ensure new buildings do not need retrofit for Net Zero.

“We look forward to working with DHLUC on this, and on the next uplifts for works to existing buildings, since retrofitting our existing stock is essential to deliver Net Zero as well as healthy and comfortable buildings.”

The government earlier this month revealed the 57 local authority-led projects that will be the first recipients of £430m in funds from its Sustainable Warmth Competition. The competition aims to upgrade the energy efficiency of households in England between early 2022 and March 23 by combining two different fuel poverty schemes introduced to curb domestic emissions for purposes such as heat.

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