Solar Energy UK welcomes Future Homes Standard’s 31% carbon reduction target
As part of the long-awaited Future Homes Norm update, the solar industry has welcomed the UK government's 31 percent home carbon emissions reduction goal.
According to Solar Energy UK, as home builders opt for low-carbon technology to help reach reduction goals, this goal could lead to a five-fold rise in new homes constructed with solar technologies.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has detailed plans to radically improve the energy performance of new homes. It intends to reduce carbon emissions by 75-80 percent relative to current levels by 2025 and, as such, to reduce carbon emissions by 31 percent on an interim basis by June 2022.
Housing minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said that improving the energy performance of buildings will be vital to reaching net zero by 2050.
“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%.”
Following a consultation initiated in October 2019, the release of the Future Homes Standard looked at delivering a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions by "very high" fabric standards, or, as preferred, pursuing a greater reduction by also including carbon-saving technologies.
A number of technologies that could help reduce domestic carbon emissions are explored in Part L of the Future Homes Standard, with the consultation being supported by solar panels, green gases such as hydrogen and biomethane, as well as mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.
How the reductions are achieved will largely remain up to the housebuilder, with a technology-neutral approach being taken by the ministry. It noted, however, that, as opposed to low carbon heating solutions such as heat pumps, it expects many to opt for solar PV.
As well as these new goals, with 15% of the UK's carbon emissions currently coming from residential housing, helping to reduce emissions in an especially difficult market, they will help combat fuel poverty, lowering bills through efficiency. The document states that under the Buildings Legislation, householders pay about £ 379 a year for electricity.
After research by Solar Energy UK, then the Solar Trade Association, found in 2019 that over half of the local authorities set higher building standards than national requirements, the greater ambition in the Future Homes Standard was especially welcomed.
Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said they were delighted that the government had listened to their call for higher ambitions.
“Every new home built will require an increase in energy efficiency that could be met by solar. This is a real victory for our industry and consumers, acting as an important steppingstone on the way towards a more ambitious Future Home Standard come 2025.
The home of the future will feature solar panels and a battery. It may well be heated with electricity, have solar heated water and an electric vehicle parked outside. It will be well insulated, well built and cost less to run than today. All the necessary technology exists at reasonable cost. Housebuilders, let’s get started”