Our response to Future Homes Standard consultation
The Government has today announced a consultation on proposals within its Future Homes Standard to ban fossil fuel boilers and “hydrogen-ready” boilers from new build homes in England from 2025.
The Government’s proposals for the Future Homes Standard (new building regulations)1 are published today following months of speculation and intense lobbying. The consultation on the plans makes it clear that energy efficient heat pumps or heat networks will be the default heating source for all new homes from 2025 onwards. This will mean that these homes will have low carbon heating systems, with the likelihood of lower bills.
Despite fears that fossil fuel infrastructure would be extended, the plans confirm that there is “no practical way to allow the installation of fossil fuel boilers while also delivering significant carbon savings and ‘zero-carbon ready’ homes. As such, we do not expect fossil fuel heating, such as gas, hybrid heat pumps or hydrogen-ready boilers, will meet these standards.”
With fossil fuel heating being effectively banned, efficient and cheap-to-run heat pumps or low-carbon heat networks will be the default heating source for all new homes. The Government’s proposals state: “All performance requirements are based on notional buildings with an efficient air source heat pump or a 4th generation heat network that uses air source heat pumps. We considered other types of widely commercially available electric heating, such as direct electric and immersion heaters. While these achieve the goal of being ‘zero-carbon ready’ they can be more expensive to run than modern heat pumps, pushing up bills for households.”
The MCS Foundation has been campaigning for heat pumps and heat networks to be recognised as the default option for heating, as they are the only viable option for zero-carbon heating at scale.
Welcoming this news, David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at The MCS Foundation, said, “Making heat pumps the default heating source for all new homes and banning gas and hydrogen boilers is absolutely the right step for the climate and for households’ energy bills. It is also vital that these heat pumps are designed and installed to MCS industry recognised standards to make sure consumers have the protection and confidence in their new heat pump.
“Allowing fossil fuel or hydrogen heating in new homes would have locked in high bills and high carbon emissions for a generation. It is a huge relief that we are escaping that possibility and that the Government has recognised the conclusive evidence that heat pumps and heat networks are the only viable option for getting our homes to net zero and ensuring low bills for people in new-build homes.”
However, the Government has so far failed to confirm whether solar panels will be made mandatory for new homes; they are consulting on this point. The MCS Foundation is urging the Government to require solar panels for all new homes, as this will reduce the costs of running a heat pump and should be combined with battery storage, to make sure homes are cheap to run with low bills.
David Cowdrey added, “Solar PV can hugely reduce bills for households and increase renewable energy capacity. It is what consumers expect to be installed on new homes, rather than have to retrofit them later. If heat pumps are to be installed in all new homes, then it makes sense to include Solar PV and battery storage, installed to MCS standards, so that each new home can massively reduce their energy bills and have confidence in the technology installed.”
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Notes to editors
The Future Homes Standard consultation is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-homes-and-buildings-standards-2023-consultation/the-future-homes-and-buildings-standards-2023-consultation#performance-requirements-for-new-buildings