All new buildings must reduce their greenhouse gases by nearly a third under new building regulations which will come into force in June.
Under the rules, carbon emissions from new build homes must be 30 per cent lower than current standards and other new buildings such as offices and shops must be 27 per cent lower.
Housing minister Eddie Hughes said the regulations were an important step towards 2025’s future homes and building standards where all new homes must be net-zero ready.
“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.”
This means installing solar panels and heat pumps and improving insulation will be critical for achieving the new tougher requirements.
New homes, care homes, student accommodation and children’s homes, must be designed to reduce overheating. Improvements to ventilation will be introduced to support residents’ safety in newly-built homes and to prevent airborne viruses from spreading in new non-residential buildings.
Government urged to keep it simple
The National Federation of Builders, NFB, said it supported higher standards but warned against changing the rules every few years.
NFB head of housing and planning policy Rico Wotulewicz said: “We’re encouraging our members to go higher than this interim standard as the 2025 future homes standard will move the goalposts again.”
The trade body is critical of new part S regulation leaving developers to pay for offsite grid work infrastructure so that new homes have electric vehicle chargers.
The Royal Institution of British Architects said the new rules had not gone far enough and should have included energy use regulation to force the built environment to decarbonise at the required rate.
Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were keen to give construction loans to SME developers embracing innovation to make their buildings net-zero ready.
The government’s announcement on 15th December was in response to the public consultation from January to April over future buildings standards. The new rules have amended parts L relating to energy efficiency and F concerning ventilation and have introduced part O regarding overheating.
There will be a six-month transition period allowing buildings already in the planning process to continue under the previous standards up until the 15th of June when the new rules come in.