A Europe-wide standard for energy-efficient homes will be introduced in 2025, but the first step is a review of Approved Document L and F for new dwellings. It comes into force at the end of 2020
The Future Homes Standard will require new-build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency and will be introduced by 2025.
The UK government's consultation on the standard, which closed in February, included proposed options to increase the energy-efficiency requirements for new homes and update Approved Documents L (conservation of fuel and power in new dwellings) and F (ventilation) in 2020.
The results of the consultation, taking into account the feedback from industry on the initial document, are likely to be published mid-2020 and become the new standard in the closing months of this year.
Within the consultation, the message from the government was clear: to meet the UK's environmental target and build a vision of the future, building design for new residential developments must change.
For those working on projects likely to fall under the new requirements of Part L and Part F later this year, understanding what a compliant heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system might look like can help reduce delays on new projects and allow greater scope to research potential HVAC strategies.
In order to understand what future HVAC specification could entail, it is first important to understand the government’s aim behind updating Part L and Part F. The government has suggested that in 2025 new homes should produce 75 to 80 per cent less carbon than those built to current standards. This will require heating demands to be met using low carbon systems, such as direct electric heating and heat pump technology.
To ensure supply chains are developed for this, the government is setting targets now to encourage the take-up of these solutions ahead of it potentially becoming mandatory in 2025. As a result, developments are likely to gain compliance benefits from including these technologies in their designs now.
Recent research carried out during the Grenfell Tower Inquiry revealed that the Building Regulations are so complex that it is often difficult to distinguish what is actually required from new developments. As such, the government has written the new proposal with simplification in mind.
This has especially influenced the proposal for ventilation design and specification, where not only has the calculation for whole dwelling ventilation rates changed, but the government has given guidance on where certain ventilation systems should be used. Therefore, in developments built to a high fabric standard, there may be a case for specifying whole dwelling ventilation systems.
Due to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, all new developments in the UK are required to be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) before 2021. This is one of the drivers behind primary energy becoming a compliance metric, alongside a carbon emissions target.
Designing with primary energy in mind will have an impact on the HVAC strategy employed within a development. Limiting primary energy within a building not only means reducing energy use within the dwelling itself, but also utilising an energy source for heating that has a low primary energy factor. This is where heat pump technology will be a compliance benefit for a project.
To learn more about the Future Homes Standard, download Glen Dimplex's guide to what the proposed changes to Part L and Part F 2020 mean for future HVAC design, at gdhv.co.uk/future-homes-standard-download
For more information and technical support, visit gdhv.co.uk
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