On the last day of the Conservative Party Conference, the eagerly awaited Future Homes Standard Consultation was published. NIBE Energy Systems is encouraged by the content of the consultation which ensures that the 2020 Building Regulations change lays the groundwork for the introduction of the Future Homes Standard in 2025.
The preferred approach is for the regulations to drive a 31% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the current standard. The Government recognises major role for heat pumps in the transition to net zero and meeting the Future Homes Standard. The consultation proposes that heat pumps and heat networks will be the principle means to deliver the low carbon heating requirement of the Standard.
Through the deployment of low carbon electricity generation, the grid is decarbonising at a substantial rate. To date this progress has not been recognised in the targets set for new homes and as such has not encouraged the deployment of technology which takes advantage of these lower emission rates. The consultation proposes introducing a carbon emissions factor for electricity which is lower than natural gas and also removes the fuel factors for LPG, oil and mineral fuel heating supporting the phase out of high carbon fossil fuels.
Ensuring that homes are futureproofed is a key consideration within the consultation and NIBE Energy Systems welcomes the proposal to ensure that wet space heating systems operate with a flow-rate temperature of 55°C or lower in the final heating circuit. This helps to reduce the costs and disruption associated with retrofitting low carbon heat at a later date as heat emitters will be appropriately sized.
Importantly, the consultation also addresses the loophole which allows new homes to be built to old Building Regulations standards. NIBE Energy Systems strongly support changes to the transitional arrangements to ensure that consumers are getting homes which are cost-effective to run and are low carbon.
As standards of new homes increase, it is essential that we help to prepare supply chains for heat pumps and increase the number of trained installers. NIBE Energy Systems is committed to providing high quality training for installers and building capacity within the market to support the transition.
Finally, the Government is proposing to improve the accuracy of as built performance to reduce the performance gap. Homeowners will be provided more information about their new home which will ensure that they understand how the as-built energy calculation of their home was undertaken and that they are using the technologies installed correctly.
Phil Hurley, Managing Director at NIBE Energy Systems, said “This consultation is a significant step towards England meeting the net zero commitments and we look forward to working with the government and our industry partners to ensure that the new standards are ambitious and implemented effectively. The Future Homes Standard and the 2020 interim standards will provide the much-needed certainty for our sector. Heat pumps will play a key role in decarbonising our homes and NIBE Energy Systems is ready to step up to the challenge.”