Future Homes Consultation 2023: 5 Key Take Aways

min read time
2024-01-17 10:29:30

In December the Government released its consultation documents for the UK Future Homes and Buildings standards which are expected to come into effect in 2025. The Future Homes and Buildings standards aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of new homes and non-domestic buildings. This new legislation will have a huge impact on the way new developments are designed, built and heated from its implementation in 2025 but changes to building regulations in 2022 are already paving the way to a new lower carbon future for the construction industry.

We caught up with Martyn Neil, Business Development Director for UK Indoor Climate Solutions at Wavin to find out more about his 5 key take aways for housebuilders from the Government’s Future Homes 2023 consultation document.

1. Heat pumps are the future

Martyn explains that the document strongly suggests that heat pumps will be used in new build houses as there are currently limited alternative options which are viable and ready to install. This reinforces the Government’s commitment to heat pumps.

The consultation states “All performance requirements are based on notional buildings with an efficient air source heat pump or a 4th generation heat network that uses heat pumps. We found no practical way to allow the installation of fossil fuel boilers while also delivering significant carbon savings and ‘zero-carbon ready’ homes. As such, we do not expect fossil fuel heating, such as gas, hybrid heat pumps and hydrogen-ready boilers, will meet these standards.

We considered other types of widely commercially available electric heating, such as direct electric and immersion heaters. While these achieve the goal of being ‘zero-carbon ready’ they can be more expensive to run than modern heat pumps, pushing up bills for households.”

2. Heat networks are the preferred option for apartments

The 4th generation of heat networks commonly rely on HIU (Heat Interface Units) to heat apartments and provide hot water. Where heat networks are supplied by heat pumps, they will require low operating temperatures to maximise performance whilst providing hot water using the lowest heat network temperature possible. CIBSE CP1 Code of practice for heat networks will be used as a standard for the heat networks apartments will connect to.


Calefa Case Study v2


Martyn explains that Wavin’s Calefa HIU can satisfy these requirements by using electronic controls to provide hot water using a very low network supply temperature. Further network optimization can be achieved with Calefa by using its unique ‘auto mode’ which reduces bypassing in low demand periods. It has also been independently tested to BESA (Building Engineering Services Association) test standard with a VWART of 31 degrees Celsius (2 degrees lower than CIBSE CP1 recommendations)


The consultation states: New low carbon communal and district heat networks will likely be the preferred way of providing heating and hot water to blocks of flats under the Future Homes Standard.

All performance requirements are based on notional buildings with an efficient air source heat pump or a 4th generation heat network that uses air source heat pumps.

3. Ventilation standards will focus on installation and commissioning

Currently ventilation can sit between trades, sometimes installed by plumbers or electricians, but the new requirements will be for a ‘registered competent person’ making this an individual specialisation. Another key change in part F is a requirement to change from flexible ducting to semi rigid ducting which will improve the performance of installations by removing a common failure point. 
Read more in Draft consultation-stage Approved Document F, Volume 1: Dwellings (publishing.service.gov.uk)

There is, however, a missed opportunity with regards to energy efficiency in the new ventilation standards. Martyn explains that the option of intermittent fans and dMEV (Mechanical Extraction Ventilation) look set to remain but these solutions do not recover the heat from the extracted air. Not recovering the heat using an MVHR system means that running costs of future homes will be higher than they need to be.  
He highlights MVHR (Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) as a better option within the standard, which whilst not mandatory, will be more efficient than intermittent fans or dMEV for homeowners due to:

•    Reduced running costs and energy efficiency 
•    Continuous and controlled ventilation rates
•    High suitability for use with heat pumps and underfloor heating
•    Reduced risk of condensation
•    Filtered air for improved health
•    No need for background ventilators (window vents) 
•    The lowest DER (Dwelling Emission Rate) of all the available systems. 

Read more in Can a well-ventilated house also be energy efficient? (wavin.com)


4. A new Home Energy Model will replace SAP calculations

The consultation introduces the development of the Home Energy Model to replace SAP calculations. The HEM will be open source to provide full transparency of the methodology and to allow assessment to made on technology with open information. The product characteristics database will also be replaced in the new model with the ability for manufacturers to provide more details on product performance.

5. The Future Homes and Buildings Standard is coming soon

Martyn highlights the need for developers to be prepared for the new Future Homes Standard with the current consultation period lasting until 6th March 2024 and legislation being laid in 2024. With a 6–12-month period between legislation being published and coming into force and 12-month transition period, this means that the standard should start to be implemented in 2025 and be fully in place for all new build homes from 2026. A Future Homes Standard brand will be considered which would allow developers to market the Future Homes Standard.

Wavin Indoor Climate Solutions

At Wavin, our purpose is to build healthy sustainable environments. Our tailored indoor climate solutions feature our market-leading systems and products including underfloor heating, heat interface units, MVHR and smart controls (interfacing with all of these technologies) are Future Homes compliant and provide the following benefits: 
•    Improved energy efficiency
•    Low maintenance
•    More space and design freedom
•    Compatible with all floor types and coverings
•    Comfortable environments with even heat and less dust
•    Full zone control
•    Flexible solutions including installation and after-sales support
•    Design and system selection support
•    Wavin’s extensive experience in residential projects as the market leader in Europe

Get in touch today to find out how Wavin can help you to be prepared for the new Future Homes Standard.




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