2 April 2024
by Hassan Akhtar

Disappointment in UK Future Homes Standard

The UK Future Homes and Building Standard has been criticised in a joint letter by industry leaders.

© Unsplash/Marcin Nowak

They call for clearer guidelines and a higher standard, claiming this will not limit housing supply.

Drafted by the Good Homes Alliance, Bioregional, the Low Energy Transformation Initiative, the UK Green Building Council and 250 other industry leaders, the letter was sent on Wednesday 27 March to the UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.

The letter states the Standard is ‘not a definitive Future Homes Standard (FHS), but rather a positive step towards it’ and request further iteration to ensure a higher specification is met by 2028.

The FHS provides two options for domestic notional buildings, with Option 1 balancing higher additional build costs against lower consumer bills – by including photovoltaic (PV) panels, a wastewater heat recovery system, increased airtightness and a decentralised mechanical ventilation system.

Option 2 does not include those elements and has lower additional build costs but is less beneficial for consumer bills.

The leaders ‘strongly disagree’ with Option 2 specifications, stating the omission of PVs and lowering building fabric standards will cost an additional £600-£700 per year on energy bills. They call on the government to have PVs integrated as standard.

Primary energy was prioritised over delivered energy, and the letter asks for the latter to be the key metric in the Standard.

The government is requested to regulate embodied carbon in new buildings and reduce electricity generation investment, as well as improve fabric standards (for U values and air tightness) and home ventilation.

The leaders support the end of fossil-fuel heating and commitment to electric heating, integrated onsite renewables for new homes, and the extension of energy-efficiency measures for dwellings created under material change of use.

The letter also addresses the Home Energy Model (HEM) consultations and see it replacing the Standard Assessment Procedure as a positive step.

The letter concludes by calling for collaboration for better standards.

Flavie Lowres FIMMM, Chair of the IOM3 Construction Materials Group, says, ‘The Future Homes Standard is an opportunity to ensure that new homes and non-domestic buildings have reduced emissions. I strongly support the initiative driven by the Good Homes Alliance, Leti, UKGBC and Bioregional to push the UK Government to be more ambitious and include aspects such as embodied carbon which represent a significant proportion of the carbon emissions of buildings.’


Hassan Akhtar