Rigorous new targets for green building revolution

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All homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment, the Housing Minister Chris Pincher has announced today.

Responding to a consultation on the Future Homes Standard, the government has set out plans to radically improve the energy performance of new homes, with all homes to be highly energy efficient, with low carbon heating and be zero carbon ready by 2025.

These homes are expected to produce 75-80% lower carbon emissions compared to current levels. To ensure industry is ready to meet the new standards by 2025, new homes will be expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions from 2021.

Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards – with a significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient. This includes the replacement of windows and building services such as heat pumps, cooling systems, or fixed lighting.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:

Improving the energy performance of buildings is vital to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and protecting the environment for future generations to come.

The radical new standards announced today will not only improve energy efficiency of existing homes and other buildings, but will also ensure our new homes are fit for the future, by reducing emissions from new homes by at least 75%.

This will help deliver greener homes and buildings, as well as reducing energy bills for hard-working families and businesses.

The government say the plan also includes measures to tackle:

  • Ventilation – a new requirement for additional ventilation and indoor air quality monitoring in high-risk non-domestic buildings such as offices and gyms, reducing the risk of any potential infections being spread indoors.
  • Overheating in residential buildings – a new overheating mitigation requirement in the Building Regulations.

There will be stringent transitional arrangements in place to provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building. These will last for one year and apply to individual homes, rather than an entire development.

The government has also announced a consultation on higher performance targets for non-domestic buildings which will mean they will be zero carbon ready by 2025.

Taken together these measures will help to lower the cost of energy bills for families, while helping to tackle our climate change goals.

The government is committed to reaching net-zero and is taking considerable action to address the emissions from buildings – with heating and powering buildings currently accounting for 40% of the UK’s total energy usage.

There has already been considerable progress made on emissions from homes, with overall total emissions reduced by about a fifth since 1990 despite there being approximately a quarter more homes.

In 2019 the government introduced a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – making the UK the first major economy in the world to legislate a zero net emissions target. The measures announced today recognise the important role that the energy efficiency of buildings can play in achieving this goal.

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