If we are to meet our legally binding net zero targets, the domestic heating sector will need to change over the next few decades. One of the ways the government is trying to tackle household carbon emissions is through the Future Homes Standard.
What is the Future Homes Standard?
This proposed legislation will change Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (Ventilation) of the Building Regulations.
They will set rigorous new energy efficiency standards for new build homes from 2025.
What changes will it make?
When the legislation is implemented, all new builds will have to be ‘zero carbon ready’.
This means they will be future-proofed with a high level of fabric efficiency and be heated with low-carbon technologies. Homes built to the new regulations will not be able to be heated by natural gas.
The idea behind this is that as the electric grid draws more of its power from renewable and low-carbon sources, homes built to the Future Homes Standard will already have the necessary insulation and heating in place to become net zero. No further retro-fitting will be required.
The new standards will result in a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the current Building Regulations. In June 2022, an uplift to Part L will reduce carbon emissions in new builds by 31%.
What will replace gas from 2025?
There is no perfect and simple solution; a combination of different technologies will be required to support full decarbonisation, however, heat pumps are expected to shoulder the lion’s share of the burden, particularly in new builds.
Heat pumps are extremely energy efficient. Around 70% of their energy usage comes from environmental sources with the remainder provided by electricity.
Other low-carbon solutions that will support heat pumps include heat networks, direct electric heating, solar thermal and green gas, such as hydrogen or biomethane.
Is it worth upskilling to heat pumps?
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) says we will need to install 19 million heat pumps in total by 2050 to meet our targets. This will not just be in new homes – the government plans to phase out all new fossil fuel installations, including boiler replacements, by the mid-2030s.
However, there is a serious lack of qualified heat pump installers. To meet demand, the installer base will need to increase from 1,800 installers in 2020 to 69,500 by 2035. This will mainly come from experienced installers and renewables qualifications are designed to build on your knowledge, making it a relatively short process.
Find out more about GTEC’s renewables training courses
At the moment, installers can get vouchers for up to 70% of their training fees, pre-requisite courses and certification fees through the Renewable Heat Installer Training and Support Scheme (RHITSS), together with practical help to become MCS certified.
Click here to find out more about RHITSS.