NHBC Foundation explores implications of building low-energy homes

Current government proposals indicate that from 2025, newly built homes will not be allowed to be heated with the use of fossil fuels under the ‘Future Homes Standard’. This standard aims to significantly reduce the energy use of new homes and marks the beginning of the end for the traditional gas boiler.

2025: New Homes Without Gas is the latest guide from the NHBC Foundation which explores the implications of designing and building low-energy homes without gas boilers.  The guide explains the key technical issues, and discusses the choices facing housebuilders and their designers and architects when specifying alternative heating and hot water systems.

Richard Smith, NHBC’s Head of Standards, Innovation and Research commented: “Under the Government’s proposed ‘Future Homes Standard’ which will be introduced by 2025 new homes will no longer be able to be heated using fossil fuels. Our new NHBC Foundation guide provides housebuilders with a roadmap to achieving this standard and paves the way for the ‘no gas’ home.

“For both house builders and new home buyers, the ‘no gas’ home will represent a generational shift in how dwellings are heated.  As Government targets on reducing carbon emissions come into effect and many people become more attuned to the green agenda, we will begin the shift away from the traditional gas boiler and gas cooking appliances.”

According to recent figures, energy use in the UK’s 29 million homes accounts for 14% of total UK emissions and that increased between 2016 and 2017. To meet the proposed carbon and primary energy targets the 2025 home must be designed and built to have minimal energy demand.

To achieve this the following elements should be considered:

  • Minimal heat losses via the building fabric and air infiltration
  • A high-efficiency heat recovery ventilation system
  • Good heating controls
  • LED fixed lighting
  • A+ rated (or better) electrical appliances, where provided
  • Photovoltaic panels, battery storage and/or solar hot water systems.

The guide also outlines the further technical elements for house builders to consider in designing and building ‘no gas’ homes, including what type of electric heat pump to install, the benefits of ‘heat networks’, ensuring the industry has a skilled workforce to install and deliver alternate systems to meet all the new demand and importantly, consideration of how to market homes to potential buyers that do not have a gas powered boiler or a gas cooker.

In summary, Richard Smith added: “With just five years until the proposals are expected to come into force, this guide sets out the critical elements for house builders to consider, from designing homes with minimal energy demand to identifying the appropriate alternative heating systems and ensuring there are enough skilled tradespeople to fit and install new systems.”

Find out more and download the guide here http://nhbc.co.uk/home-heating



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