In the 2019 Spring Statement Philip Hammond, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a new Future Homes Standard (FHS).  And now, a little over three years later, we’re at the first milestone in the journey to full FHS implementation in 2025.

The Future Homes Standard will feed into new Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) building regulations. For housebuilders, it’s a game-changer.

To meet the required 75%-80% reduction in emissions required by the FHS, gas boilers will no longer be an option to heat homes and provide hot water. So after more than 60 years of gas being the home-heating method of choice for housebuilders, what’s next?

It’s taken a while to understand exactly how the Future Homes Standard will drive change, and even now it’s not entirely clear. However, we know enough. Enough to recognise that alternative heating methods are needed from 2025 and beyond; initially heat pumps and maybe heat networks for appropriate schemes.

Right now, we see that developers are refining their approaches. Deliver the 31% emissions reduction as required by the FHS transitional process (2022 to 2025) by including efficiency-orientated fabric improvements and PV alongside a gas boiler,  or step straight to heat pumps?

As a utility connections provider to most large housebuilders in the UK, we know that more and more housebuilders are planning future developments without gas. And a new challenge has also emerged – the need to secure greater electrical load capacities from increasingly constrained local electric networks as new approaches to heating homes are introduced. This makes early planning and choosing partners who are highly experienced in dealing with DNOs and grid connections an essential step for any developer to take.

Linking back to the first milestone in the FHS journey that I referred to earlier. For developments to be able to be built under the current 2013 building regulations, building notices and plans need to have been submitted this month, otherwise the transitional (31% reduction) requirements referred to above will apply.

The energy transition of home heating is now very much underway.

Author: David Topping, TriConnex Managing Director