Written by Editor
ESG Report 2023
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Mar 18, 2024

The Future Homes Standard: building to net-zero

G&T partner Ben McCartney recently met with industry leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges of The UK Goverment's Future Homes Standard.

Written by Editor
ESG Report 2023

The UK Government’s Future Homes Standard will come into effect in 2025. The regulations aim to cut the carbon emissions of homes by 75 – 80%, in part by focussing on heating systems that are not reliant on fossil fuels. 

The Future Homes Standard was announced in 2019 as part of the Government’s Spring Statement, and legislators are currently consulting with industry for technical specification ahead of implementation next year. The Standard is now part of the Government’s wider goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which the government set in October 2021.

Earlier this year, NorDan UK, together with industry publisher, Place North West, hosted a roundtable discussion with industry experts including G&T partner Ben McCartney. The purpose was to discuss the effects that the Future Homes Standard would have on the industry and what steps can be taken to meet any challenges presented by the new Standard.

Participants expressed different opinions representing a variety of perspectives from within the industry. Around the table there was an optimistic sense that, encouraged by the new Standard, the construction industry could play an important role in a green future. However, it was also acknowledged that any new regulations must not place an undue burden on homebuyers or the industry that builds those homes, especially given the current shortage.

"The benefits of improving the energy efficiency of new homes are clear – reducing residents bills and moving us as an industry in the direction of net zero. However, it is the commercial strains through this transitional period which may need an adjustment of mind set in relation to capital cost versus whole-life costs."

Ben McCartney, G&T Partner

A number of key questions emerged from the discussion that probed into the practicality of meeting the new Standard.

Participants expressed concern that a lack of construction firms that possess the necessary skills would represent an obstacle to building homes that meet the new Standard, and whether providers would be able to sufficiently train their teams in time.

The issue of increased building costs was also raised. There was concern that this would make reaching viability too great of a challenge, impeding the delivery of homes or making them unaffordable. Participants around the table emphasised the importance or bringing new homes to market to meet the current shortage. More generally they expressed that any plan to achieve net zero should be balanced with the interests of tenants and homebuyers.

Participants also raised the fact that the Future Homes Standard does not take into consideration embodied carbon emissions. The participants argued that this is an important factor that should be accounted for in a plan towards net zero.

Members of the panel emphasised that any new regulations need to take a sophisticated approach that considers where the sector is currently and the speed at which it can adapt. However, they were also clear that the drive towards environmental sustainability within the industry was very positive. The group also acknowledged the benefit to tenants of reduced bills and warmer homes.

"It was great to be invited to join a panel of industry experts from a varied range of disciplines to discuss the benefits and challenges of the impending Future Homes Standard."

Ben McCartney

Partner, G&T

Shared dialogue helps to steer the industry in the right direction and with this discussion highlighting just how consequential the construction space is for the economy, the environment and peoples’ lives, we believe that conversations should continue. G&T is proud to be part of the dialogue and part of an industry that is paving the way to net zero.

Read our 2023 Sustainability report to find out how G&T is reducing its carbon emissions.

Place North West has also released a video featuring some of the highlights of the day’s conversation which can be accessed here.

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