Skip to main content

You are here

Zero Carbon New Build – nine principles to underpin building standards

Zero Carbon New Build – nine principles to underpin building standardsFriday, 7 February, 2020

 

builders and architects in hard hats looking at plans on site

Energy Saving Trust has put together nine principles designed to underpin any changes to energy and building regulations across the UK. In line with the UK Government and devolved Welsh and Scottish governments’ current and forthcoming consultations on this issue, we’ve been thinking about the key features of energy and building standards for new homes that we want to see in place in building standards across the country.

Increasing numbers of individuals and organisations are aware that energy use in homes makes up around 14% of the UK’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Without the near complete decarbonisation of the housing stock, we will not meet the UK’s climate change targets.

The fact is, the energy involved in building and then operating every new UK home adds to the UK's overall CO2 emissions at a time when there is an urgent need to reduce them.

As a result, the UK Government’s consultation on changes to energy standards in building regulations for new homes in England has received unprecedented attention. The proposals in this consultation will only apply in England. Each of the other UK nations – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - have devolved responsibility for building standards in their country.

Wales and Scotland also have clear plans for revising minimum standards for energy use in new homes. Wales also has a consultation out currently and Scotland is expected to issue one in the next few months.  

There’s a common approach being taken across England, Wales and Scotland: reviews are looking at tightening current energy/building standards in 2020 or 2021. Moreover, each government is planning for a further change to regulations in 2024 or 2025 to require low carbon heating in all new homes.

 In Northern Ireland, no equivalent steps have been taken but Energy Saving Trust believes they are as urgently required. The restored government and plans for a new Energy Strategy may mean proposals will shortly be forthcoming.

At the Energy Saving Trust, we work across the UK, so we've been thinking - not just about the proposed changes in England - but also about this wider UK context. What are the key featuers of energy and building standards for new homes that we want to see in place in building standards across the country?

Here are the key principles that the Energy Saving Trust have identified that we think should underpin changes to energy and building regulations – whatever part of the UK you live in. We’ll shortly be publishing a detailed report to look at each of the key principles below, to inform policy makers across the UK.

Summary of principles

 

 

 

Status of proposed changes to energy standards in new build homes across the UK

 

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

Section of the building standards / regulations that relates to energy

Part L

Section 6

Part L

Part F

Last time there was a major revision

2013

2015

2014

2012

Key announcements

Chancellor’s Spring Statement 2019:

 

A Future Homes Standard, to be introduced by 2025, future-proofing new build homes with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency.’

 

‘…we will introduce a Future Homes Standard, mandating the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025’.

 

Scottish Government’s  Programme for Government 2019/20 commits to:

 

‘…new standards to reduce energy demand, and associated carbon emissions, within new buildings by 2021’

 

and to requiring:

 

new homes consented from 2024 to use renewable or low carbon heat

Welsh Government’s Prosperity for All report notes they have:

 

recently commenced a further review of Part L, which is intended to be the next step on our journey towards a low-carbon built environment.’

No announcements to date.

 

With the recent restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland, and the publication of a major new consultation on Energy Strategy, we expect announcements in this area over the coming months.

Next steps

Current consultation due to close 7 February 2020, with subsequent consultation due in 2024.

Consultation due in Spring 2020

Consultation currently underway. Next review of Part L due to start in 2022 with subsequent consultation due in 2024.

TBC

More on this...