Last week, the government responded to the 2019 consultation on its Future Homes Standard, confirming that all new homes will have to have low carbon heating and be ‘zero carbon ready’ by 2025; achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Here, Evan Maindonald, CEO and founder at MELT Property, responds to the announcement and looks at what measures will need to be taken.
“With some 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from domestic buildings, the importance of sustainable construction has become undeniable,” says Evan Maindonald. “New homes being built now and in the next 5-10 years will still exist in 2050 and therefore we must ensure that the energy efficiency standard we set for them put us on track to meet the 2050 target.
“With global warming being a significant concern for current and future generations, we believe that developers have a responsibility to deliver schemes that have a positive impact on the environment. However, it’s not enough to just deliver the technology – it needs to be done in a way that is commercially viable and creates value for the homeowner. We call this sustainable sustainability. This means delivering technology solutions that are not only environmentally but also economically viable.”
Advice for people, living in old properties (which are not addressed under the current Future Homes Standard):
Review your heating system
Old-fashioned heating systems will send your property’s utility bills rocketing and have a high carbon footprint. To reduce both, consider installing a Ground Source Heat Pump. This is a highly efficient, renewable energy source that has a low environmental impact and reduces carbon output by as much as 70%.
Poor insulation can have a significant impact on your property’s EPC rating. Luckily, there are a number of solutions available that can help you fix this. Do bear in mind, however, that there is a wide variety of insulation materials available. Each offers different benefits and suits different budgets. If you’re looking for something affordable that, at the same time, is environmentally friendly, you might want to consider cellulose insulation. This material is particularly well suited to insulation of floors, walls and roofs.
An obvious detail to review when trying to improve your property’s energy efficiency is windows. The performance of windows is measured by something called a U value, which reflects the thermal transmittance, e.g. the transfer rate of heat through matter. The lower the U value, the better. Building Regulations now insist that any window you install nowadays should have a U value no worse than 1.6.Single glazed windows normally have a U value of around 5. Double-glazed windows can range from 1.2 to over 3 depending on coatings and frames; certain makes such as Velfac can achieve as low as 1.4. On the other side of the spectrum, the Passivhaus standard requires triple glazed windows with a U value of no more than 0.8.
MELT secured planning permission to create Lime Grove; a residential community in Tuffley, Gloucestershire that puts particular emphasis on sustainability. Already incorporating the government’s Future Homes Standard 2025, Lime Grove will be a completely gas-free development. In addition, all properties will utilise Ground Source Heat Pumps, a highly efficient, renewable energy source that has a low environmental impact and reduces carbon output by as much as 70%. Prices at Lime Grove start from £210,000 and buyers can choose from seven stunning two- and three-bedroom apartments or 12 spacious family homes, using timber frames; one of the most sustainable building materials available.
For the full government report, please see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953791/Government_response_to_Future_Homes_Standard_consultation.pdf