31% Carbon reduction from this year

27 Jan 2021

31% Carbon reduction from this year

Last week the government published its consultation responses on the Future Home Standard confirming all new homes would be required to be highly energy efficient, with low carbon heating and be zero carbon ready by 2025. The report is, to be honest, fairly boring but can be found:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953791/Government_response_to_Future_Homes_Standard_consultation.pdf

‘Zero Carbon Ready’ means these homes are expected to produce 75-80% less carbon emissions compared to current levels with and then meet the 2050 Net Zero Carbon target.

From this year, all new homes built in the UK would be expected to produce 31% lower carbon emissions, compared to 2013 levels, under a set of interim building regulations aimed at preparing the industry for meeting the tougher requirements of the Future Homes Standard in four years' time.

That is this year. That is four years until we need to be at 75-80% reduction.

Bearing in mind the amount of time some planning applications take, we will be making design decisions on how we meet 75-80% reduction in the next 18 months or so. We will be drawing wall thicknesses and window sizes and roof build ups and areas for PV panels, at planning stage, which need to enable all this construction and technology in the near future so we need to get up to speed on the ‘how’ as soon as possible.

The good news is that since we have been back from Christmas, Penny and I have been having lots of virtual coffee catch ups with developers, registered providers and contractors and we are more and more often discussing where we are heading with NZC and what we need to be doing and what they need to be doing. Multiple RP’s we have spoken to are currently going through internal review processes on how to update their Employers Requirements to ensure the Future Home Standard will be met and to ensure all of their organisation (maintenance, asset management etc) are in the loop.

We are discussing the technologies available, which MEP engineers we work with in our #NZC projects, who benefits from the running cost savings, where are we going with retrofit, how #MMC and modular helps with NZC, and how to ‘be lean’ and upgrade the building fabric to improve U-Values, especially on taller buildings where the use of insulation which is combustible (but much better at reducing heat loss) is really being resisted due to the fire implications.

I have been working in architecture for 34 years and this feels like a really exciting time to be involved in architecture and delivering the built environment. I remember BedZed (a friend from University was a project architect on it) and it seemed so out there, so unreal, so academic. And now, I get to, nearly every day, make design decisions and help clients that reduce carbon. It is cool.

We have a long way to go to fully embed it in everything that we all do and there are some major conundrums that need to be overcome but it really feels like we are very quickly moving in the right direction.