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Homes without gas – how?

02/02/2021 13:26:31

news story imageOver a year after it launched its consultation on The Future Homes Standard and changes to Parts L and F of the Building Regulations, the Government has published its response to the industry views received.
The focus on building to a high thermal standard and not simply offsetting through renewable technologies has been reinforced by a backtracking from the original proposal to remove minimum fabric energy efficiency standards (FEES) from Part L. Cutland Consulting fully supports an emphasis on ‘fabric first’, so we were pleased to hear this.

The detailed technical specification for the Future Homes Standard will be consulted on (again!) in 2023, with implementation now planned for 2025 (again!). From that point new homes will need to meet or exceed a Passivhaus-equivalent standard of thermal performance, as well as embracing low-carbon technologies and – significantly - retreating from the ubiquitous gas boiler. This will obviously see an accelerated move to an all-electric energy infrastructure for new homes, accompanied by corresponding challenges for the housebuilding industry.
So, is it time to invest our pensions in heat pumps? Are there any other mainstream options for heating and hot water? What about cooking? And with domestic hot water becoming an ever-larger proportion of a home’s total energy demand, what does that mean for system design and operation? House builders and their designers/architects will have to make totally new decisions when specifying alternative systems. They will also have to bring about behaviour change as they prepare their customers for new ways of operating and maintaining their homes.
Take a look at the guide we recently researched and wrote for the NHBC Foundation: ‘The Future for Home Heating – life without fossil fuels’ (ref. NF87). It explores the implications of designing and building low-energy homes without gas boilers, discusses the challenges and highlights the issues and potential problems that the supply chain must be aware of. 

Speaking of the guide's publication, our director Dr Neil Cutland said, "Once again it's been a pleasure and a privilege to assist the NHBC Foundation in adding another title to its extensive portfolio of research and industry guidance. We look forward to seeing the housebuilding industry make a smooth and successful transition to non-gas heating technology, in a way that is both pleasing to the resident and commercially attractive for the house builder”. 

‘The Future for Home Heating – life without fossil fuels’ (ref. NF87) is available as a free download from www.nhbcfoundation.org. 

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