Are you ready for the Future Homes Standard?

Catherine Ryder, 18 February 2020

Although the Future Homes Standard will be introduced in full by 2025, some parts will come into effect as early as this year – so we need to start preparing right now.  

The UK has a legal target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. New and existing homes make up about 20% of current emissions so, despite progress, our sector has a big role to play in meeting this target and tackling the climate crisis.

2050 sounds far away, but the homes we build right now will be the homes of 2050. We also have a significant challenge to overcome on future-proofing existing homes, so it’s vital that we get new homes right to avoid retrofitting them again in the future.

That’s why the government is introducing a Future Homes Standard now, to ensure a step-up in the energy efficiency of new homes sooner rather than later.

In a nutshell, what is the Future Homes Standard?

Essentially, it’s a proposed government standard for new homes that will make them far more green (energy efficient) so that homes built now are fit for the future.

This means that homes will need to be much better insulated, and will have low-carbon heating – so no more fossil fuels such as gas.

We’ve just responded to the government’s first (of two) consultations about the standard and changes required to building regulations. You can read our full response.

What do people think about the Future Homes Standard?

I’ve spent the last few weeks speaking to housing associations up and down the country to hear their views on the Future Homes Standard. These conversations shaped our consultation response.

Overall, feedback was really positive and supportive that the government is taking steps to address the climate crisis and provide a roadmap for future changes. This means that housing associations can effectively plan ahead and make decisions about future homes.

The common theme was commitment – right across the country I heard time and time again how committed housing associations are to making sure that quality, sustainability and long-term value are at the heart of constructing new homes, and maintaining current ones.

What can housing associations start doing now?

Now is the right time to be thinking about climate and sustainability, and it's exciting to think about what can be achieved by our sector due its commitment and ability to work collaboratively.

But there is a lot to do, and it isn’t going to be easy.

Many housing associations are already thinking about how to tackle capacity and resource challenges, by developing new skills and technology to support the transition to new standards.

Importantly, housing associations are also working with residents to understand the impact that changes will have on their homes – on what will become the new normal.

As part of the NHF’s new work programme of work on climate and sustainability we’ll be working with our members to understand the scale of work required and how we can overcome challenges, together.

In the meantime, the first Future Homes Standard consultation has closed, but you can still contact me with any questions you have, or share your feedback on what our new programme of work should focus on.