The Group officers and Alan Spence who is leading the project which lobbies for new house to be more sustainable all met recently to consider a response to the new Future Homes Standard which the Government is currently consulting on.
We thought meeting face to face was the only practical way to respond and we spent last Monday considering over 160 questions in the on-line response form to offer our combined view on new proposals to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon impact of new houses.
Essentially a new standard is being proposed for all new homes so that they will require less energy and correspondingly emit less carbon in the future. It is proposed that this standard will be fully operational by 2025 and the transition towards the new standard will begin later this year with one of two uplift options coming into force quickly. With all the houses being built in the area and in a declared Climate Emergency this is an important document.
Generally we took the view that in a number of areas the new standard does not go far enough. For example:
- We felt the suggested carbon reduction of 75 -80% against homes being currently built was not high enough.
- We thought that the insulation standard suggested was not demanding enough
- We felt that local planning authorities should not be restricted from setting higher energy-efficiency standards if they desired to do so
- We felt that that the timings being proposed for the new standards to come into force were not ambitious enough to respond to the declared Climate Emergency
- We concluded that neither of the two Options for the uplift coming into force this year were adequate and the insulation standard proposed in Option 1 should be augmented with renewable energy to meet at least the CO2 reduction standard of Option 2
On the positive side:
- We agreed with the proposal that air-tight testing should be performed on all new houses built – not just a representative sample
- We agreed with the proposal that photographic evidence should be required to demonstrate compliance with the new standard
- We agreed with proposals to provide a completed check-list to the new building owner
- We agreed with the proposal that the standard should provide a set format for a home user guide in order to inform homeowners how to efficiently operate their dwelling
We did not feel that we were competent enough to answer many of the specific highly technical questions so these were left blank. The attached PDF shows our detailed response so please feel free to have a look and let us know if you have any comments.