The mounting threat of climate change is causing substantial shifts in priorities when it comes to building homes now and for the future. A target to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 has been established by the Climate Change Committee and the government. To achieve this, buildings must decarbonise well before that time.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about this topic.

What Is the Future Homes Standard?

The Future Homes Standard is a two-stage consultation by the government. The goal is to increase energy efficiency in new homes by increasing building standards. From 2025, new homes must be built to this standard, and they need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a massive 75% in comparison to current Building Regulations standards.

Amendments in Building Regulation Approved Documents Parts F, O and L are the means of implementing these standards. They relate to the conservation of fuel, the implementation of ventilation and overheating. The overarching goal is to achieve energy efficient houses that reduce emissions from fossil fuels used to heat and cool homes as part of the wider goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

To reach these goals, high fabric standards and low-carbon heating systems are the main priorities for buildings. Central to these standards are the following:

As much as 25% of heat is lost through windows, so the most thermal-efficient glazing is likely to be a key component of the amended standards for new homes. At present, none of these new standards will apply to existing houses unless you are building an extension or making significant home upgrades.

The First-Stage Consultation: Future Homes Standard

Stage one of the consultation was between October 2019 and February 2020. It laid the foundation of requirements for new-build homes to be future-proofed with low-carbon heating and energy-efficient fabrics, to be introduced in 2025.

The Second-Stage Consultation: Future Buildings Standard

Occurring between January 2021 and April 2021, this stage of the consultation built on the first by defining energy and ventilation standards for non-domestic buildings and existing homes. It includes proposals to mitigate against overheating and define a pathway to highly-efficient, non-domestic buildings to reduce environmental impact in the future.

Future Homes Standard and Building Regulations

The Future Homes Standard consultation revolves around improving the fabric structure of new builds. The improved standards will come into play via building regulations. The interim measures for Future Homes Standard came into effect in June 2022, affecting building regulations Document Part L and Document Part F, laying the foundation for a reduction in energy consumption and the overheating of homes.

We expect to see more interim changes before the full implementation in 2025, easing the transition towards the new, higher standards.

What Is the Timetable for the Future Homes Standard?

Let’s take a look at the way the consultation has developed and when everything is to be fully introduced (FHS stands for Future Homes Standard, FBS for Future Buildings Standard):

Why Has This Been Introduced?

The government has a target to achieve net zero emissions nationwide by 2050 in order to take action on the climate crisis. The heating and energy consumption for buildings represents 40% of the nation’s overall energy use, so buildings are clearly a key area to make these changes.

The heating and cooling of homes and buildings is a significant source of excessive energy consumption, so making them better at regulating a comfortable internal temperature could substantially reduce emissions and make homes cheaper to run.

With energy-efficient homes, we will also have better living environments for health and wellbeing, reducing the prevalence of issues like mould.

Will Future Buildings Standard Affect Renovators and Self-Builders?

If you are renovating a house and installing new thermal elements or replacing them, you may be affected by the new regulations. The standard for extensions is set to be raised, and home improvers will likely be required to use energy-efficient replacements for windows and doors, or even to install heat pumps, when making changes.

Self builders will be required to adhere to Future Homes Standards. This shouldn’t be a problem, since most self-builders already aim to construct to high energy-efficiency levels. 

Things like solar panels and heat pumps are likely to be recommended, but there will still be plenty of freedom when it comes to bringing your vision to life.

What Building Regulations Documents Will Be Affected?

As mentioned, the buildings regulations documents that will be amended for the Future Homes Standard are Parts F, L and O. Let’s take a look in a little more detail:

Building Regulations Part F

Document Part F applies to ventilation in homes. In 2021, there was a proposal for changes to improve ventilation to bring the standards in existing homes in line with those for new hoses, including the requirement for trickle vents in replacement windows.

Building Regulations Part L

Document Part L is based upon the conservation of fuel and power. This is central to making homes more energy-efficient, and proposed changes include:

Building Regulations Part O

Document Part 0 revolves around overheating in homes. In 2021, we saw the introduction of changes to building regulations aimed at reducing overheating in houses. This included a limit on glazing in new build properties.

U-Values in Future Buildings Standards

To achieve high standards of fabric performance – a fundamental part of improving energy-efficiency – u-values are a key focus. They are among the primary standards of performance and are being reviewed as part of the Future Buildings Standard. At present, the minimum standard for windows is a u=value of 1.4, and it is the same for doors, but we expect these to change in the near future.
You can learn more about the energy efficiency of windows in our informative article uValues for Windows Explained.

Low-Carbon Heating in Future Homes Standard

Alongside improving energy efficiency, the Future Homes Standard aims to introduce low-carbon heating systems. There is talk of new homes being disallowed from connecting to the gas grid from 2025, and gas boilers are being phased out with an aim to ban them from 2035.

Heat pumps are currently the most popular alternative to gas boilers. A boiler upgrade scheme was launched in 2022 that encourages homeowners to make the transition to heat pumps, though there are question marks about the efficiency of these types of heating systems when retrofitted to older houses.

Recommended alternatives for low-carbon heating systems include:

Windows in Future Homes Standard

Windows are a major culprit for heat loss in rooms – around 25% of heat escapes through the glass and frame. As a new focus on high fabric standards and structural insulation is introduced, the quality of energy-efficient windows will be under the spotlight.

Future Homes Standard mentions the possibility of triple glazed windows being a potential requirement in new build houses. The expected standard for window u-values in new homes is predicted to be below 1.0 W/m2K, which can be achieved with high-quality double glazing, so the actual recommendation remains to be seen.

Future Homes and Buildings Standards are subject to further consultation. This will continue after the rollout, so there is no doubt the standards for fabric structures will increase further over time. Homeowners are encouraged to future-proof their homes now where possible – this will definitely be a selling point to help achieve maximum property value.

And it will help achieve reduced energy bills and a more comfortable living environment.

How Will Energy Standards be Assessed?

The Home Energy Model will be central to assessments in the Future Homes Standard. This is how builders will demonstrate that new dwellings meet the requirements for the standard. This will replace the SAP calculations currently used to assess EPC ratings.

The key metric will be primary energy consumption in measuring building performance. This is the energy potential of the fuel used to generate electricity used in a home. CO2 emissions will be the secondary metric.

The reason for this is to shift the focus onto making good use of the UK’s energy resources. It will force a greater prioritising of energy-efficiency in buildings, regardless of the heat source. The Home Energy Model is still under development, but it will come into effect alongside the finalised Future Homes Standard in 2025.

Why choose Eco Thermal Design for your energy efficient home improvements?

Eco Thermal Design has transformed countless homes across Barnsley, Sheffield and other areas of South Yorkshire with quality energy-efficient home improvements. We are experts when it comes to windows and can help you find the right windows for your home. We manufacturer our windows in our factory in Barnsley, and only work with quality brands such as KömmerlingSchucoSheerline and Origin. We also offer Residence Collection windows, perfectly suited for period properties.

We also offer energy-efficient composite doors from quality brands such as Rockdoor and Solidor, as well as energy-efficient replacement tiled conservatory roofs.

Our expert team can help you decide on the right products for your home, and our team of friendly and experienced fitters can complete their work to the highest standards, causing you minimal disruption along the way. We’re proud of the quality of our products, work and people, which is echoed by our customers in our Which Trusted Trader reviews.

If you would like to speak to one of our window experts or get a quote, you can contact us here or give us a call on 0800 009 6241.

What Our Customers Say

“Quality products are only as good as the team that fit them and in our case both the product and the fitters resulted in a first class and professional installation. Respectful of our home and tidied up at the end of each day….Thank You”
Les Finucane

“Excellent service from Eco Thermal again. Would recommend to anyone. Also good to have a local firm that you can trust.”
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“Very happy with the whole process and of course the finished installation.”
Michael Senior

You can also read our reviews on Which Trusted Trader where we are rated five stars.