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What is future homes?

15 July 2021

15th July 2021

What is Future Homes?

Responding to the 2019 consultation on its Future Homes Standard, the government announced in February that all new homes will have to be built with lower emissions and be ‘zero carbon ready’ by 2025.

New homes are expected to produce 31/35% lower carbon emissions compared to current levels by June 2022 and 75% by 2025. The transition towards the first step has already taken pace as we consult directly with house builders to look at how Eurocell can help in this selection process.

In 2019 the government introduced a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Making houses less energy dependent.

Before this there was the Zero Carbon Homes standard which was dissolved in 2015. The Future Homes Standard will eventually drive industry to ban the use of fossil-fuel heating from all new homes and instead look at a combination of Renewable and Fabric first interventions.

The consultation launched last month also outlines changes to standards within, Part F and Part L of the Building Regulations, which governs ventilation and energy efficiency.

Will this increase costs?

Yes, undoubtedly this will be the case, although there will be emphasis on life cycle savings, there will still be pressure on the supply chain to gear up for this change.

Is the supply chain ready to deliver?

This is going to be the challenge for everyone within the supply chain, especially for those delivering some of the newer renewable technologies at a scale never seen before in the UK.

At Eurocell we are already well placed to differentiate our range of products and sustainable credentials. We see this change as a positive step in the right direction in driving better standards of quality and specification.

What is the best solution?

Many architects believe it is best to make the building as energy efficient as you can from the very start, inbuilt within the design, known as Fabric First principles, this in part mitigates the risk of future costs occurring associated with renewable failure or ongoing maintenance costs. A Fabric First solution also suits the current Eurocell product range.

What does this mean to the house builders?

Principally house builders will be looking to deliver this on a number of fronts, employing both Fabric First & Renewable technology combinations in the most cost-effective way. Higher performing windows in conjunction with heat recovery systems, as well as higher standards to prevent heat loss from walls and floors. This will also include the use of better glazing utilising our energy efficient multi chamber profiles along with wider Cavity Closers from the Cavalok range.

What does this mean to Eurocell?

To achieve the first step in these uplifted standards it is very likely the industry standard for New Build Windows currently supplied at 1.4 will adopt a lower u value of 1.2. In meeting their FEES (Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard) architects and house builders use an assessment tool called SAP (Standard assessment Procedure) which enables them to configure a number of different combinations to hit the sweet spot in terms of performance, both technically and commercially.

Consideration to risk of overheating homes has also posed a headache for house builders for some time, as homes become more efficient. This also needs to be considered as part and parcel of Part F (Ventilation) and how they can manage overheating. Lack of purge ventilation and excessive overheating from solar gain is an ongoing issue. In addition to looking at u values there will be a focus on g values to minimise excessive solar gain in summer months.

By combining less demanding fabric standards, such as higher performance double glazing, with deployment of low-carbon heating and other contributory technology, such as solar. This option, which is preferred by most of the house builders, would get them to where they need to be for the first step change.

The second step in meeting the 2025 requirements may lead to looking at triple glazing or how we might be able to mitigate the use of expensive glazed units by other means, new glass technology, etc., to maximise performance from existing double glazed unit solutions.

What’s the best approach?

It is better to build as much as you can into the fabric of the design from day one, this doesn’t preclude the use of renewables, ideally you’ll use a combination of both in the right measure to give longevity to a reliable and cost effective solution.