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The clock is ticking for the future of net zero buildings

With nearly a quarter of carbon emissions – directly and indirectly – attributed to buildings, this is a key area for decarbonisation. 

ECA recently responded to the Future Buildings Standard consultation, regarding proposals for an uplift to the requirements in regulations L & F prior to the Future Homes Standard being adopted in 2025. The consultation also proposed a new regulation for prevention of overheating in buildings.

While we support  the uplift of regulations L & F to enable a CO2 reduction of 27%, ECA pointed out  the shortcomings of not going further. Ensuring the 2025  implementation  of the Future Homes Standard, which will direct buildings to be constructed as Zero Carbon ready, will be essential to counter this . The uplift (expected to be published in late 2021) will serve as a stepping stone, allowing industry and the supply chain to continue its transition.

We believe enforcing the regulations is a necessary part of the package and must be part of the new regulations

We welcomed the adoption of a newer version of the Standard Assessment Proceedure (SAP), as this reflects the lower CO2e per kWh and current primary energy factor (PEF) of electricity- thereby increasing the viability of electrically powered heating. However, ECA disagreed that PEF should be the principle performance metric, proposing for this to be CO2e emissions, with PEF as the secondary metric.

To achieve the ambitious 2050 Net Zero Carbon reduction, ECA stated that a package of measures is needed for successful implementation of the new regulations:     

  • Clear communication to the industry about the changes in rules and the consequences of not following them. 
  • Developers and sub-contractors should be made aware of how contracts and costings may be affected.
  • Guidance on how to adjust costings to reflect the changes to projects not yet begun.

We  believe enforcing the regulations is a necessary part of the package and must be part of the new regulations.

ECA also drew attention to the fact that buildings must not be looked at in isolation, but considered as active components in the UK energy systems. The Future Homes Standard should specifically encourage on-site generation and storage-a missing feature of the proposal, therefore increasing the self-sufficiency of a building, and  adding flexibility to our evolving energy network.

 

ECA Member or not, you are welcome to access ECA’s new Green Pivot guidance document, which features information about the skills, training and frameworks that can help you to make the most of the UK’s net zero carbon opportunities.