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8 Minute Read • Regulatory Updates

The Future Homes Standard Webinar Recap: Your questions answered

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Regulatory Updates Webinars
Regulatory Updates

The Future Homes Standard Webinar Recap: Your questions answered

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In a rapidly evolving landscape of energy efficiency regulations and sustainability mandates, staying informed is key. Our webinar aimed to provide clarity on the implications of the Future Homes Standard Consultation and guide attendees through what lies ahead in the realm of home construction and design. From deciphering regulatory jargon to outlining actionable steps, we’ve curated a comprehensive resource to address all the questions posed during the session.

 

Can EAHP's be used in London or does the London Plan requirement for a DHN prevent this?
- The intent of the London Plan is to utilise communal heating systems or connection to DHNs in the first instance and deviations from this are often strongly resisted. However, there have been instances where EAHPs have been accepted, but this very much appears to be on a case by case basis with significant justification both for EAHP and against communal heating. Wider planning considerations will also impact the discussion, especially around viability.
Under Heat Networks, will you capture relevant data for communal ASHP networks? ( e.g. serving 500-2000 homes)
- Heat Networks will need to be approved through the reformed PCDB, this will then provide the necessary data applicable to the calculations including network loss factors, plant efficiencies and carbon factors. whoever is responsible for the DHN is likely to be responsible for submitting this information for approval. A further consultation on how this process should be managed is expected out this year.
How does the Home Energy Model compare to CIBSIE TM54 and could TM54 be used instead of the Home Energy Model for FHS compliance?
- TM54 does not report on TFEE, TER and TPER, so can't be used as a compliance tool for the FHS. The HEM appears to have more detailed inputs relating to fabric specifications, space heating and DHW provision and access to what will be a reformed Product Characteristics Database.
Would it not be more straightforward to make new dwellings meet PassivHaus standards rather than reinventing the wheel?
- The PassivHaus standard and the PassivHaus Planning Package (PHPP) are effectively privately owned assessment methodologies and therefore outside the control and/or guidance of the UK government. PHPP may not necessarily align to the aims of the UK Government, specifically around the use of additional metrics including the TER and TFEE> Worth noting that HEM does take into account PHPP principles in places and the company which lead the review of SAP to develop the HEM was Etude, who specialise in PHPP assessment.
If the HEM cooling demand is much improved - should it cover overheating? and add energy and running cost for necessary cooling if necessary (e.g. heat pumps may offer cooling) - but that has an electricity demand.
- HEM will assess the energy demand from any form of mechanical cooling and it's subsequent impact on compliance with the FHS. Whilst HEM is not an overheating assessment tool, there is the potential for HEM methodology to be built into other assessment tools, such as IES, which would allow for efficiencies in data input, modelling and help align overheating and energy assessment inputs.
Would it be a better idea to require a percentage of homes to be fitted with SMETER systems (say on sites of 10 or more homes, minimum of 10% or similar? Rather than voluntary. Similar to how air tightness was treated when it first came in.
- We think this depends on three factors. Industry confidence in the HEM, it's assessors and the ability of SMETERs to accurately assess as built energy performance. Once those questions are answered, then this can be rolled forward, but until this time, we suspect there would be resistance to mandatory monitoring, especially where as built performance is transparently shared.
Do we have an idea of how an individual ASHP per apartment solution on a large residential development/building will likely compare with an ASHP fed DHN solution that the future homes standard calcs will assume for the notional?
- We anticipate an individual system approach should perform equally if not better than a communal system as the impact of network losses is avoided. This is especially considering the notional sets stringent standards for the performance of DHNs, that will require an uplift in design performance for heat loss.
On new energy centres, are these to be no gas or CHP peaking plant, so entirely ASHP led?
- Yes, this will allow for future-proofing and de-carbonisation in the future leading the net-zero targets. However, existing DHNs will be subject to the sleeving process, which will allow existing gas fired energy centres to be decarbonised in line with the energy demand of new development connecting in to allow these homes to be FHS compliant.
Are ground source heat pumps ok?
- Yes, the initial HEM Consultation software allows for ASHP, GSHP and EAHP.
There are a lot of other databases of performance out there, that could be incorporated into the PCDB e.g. HETAS efficiency for secondary heating; Window Energy Ratings; Solar Keymark data; Hot water cylinder loss factors all need to be tested - could these all be included in the database? Would make for more accurate assessments.
- Questions 8-10 allow for comments against the reformed PCDB, as part of the wider Appendix Q reform collection and auditing of product performance is being reviewed also.
As the new standards are pushing compliance via heat pumps; and most heat pump manufacturers are pushing that heat pumps are reversible an can offer cooling in the Summer, will the HEM account for cooling energy and costs and carbon from the summer months that might occur?
- Yes, HEM will account for cooling demand, and associated energy use and carbon emissions in more detail than SAP has been able to do so before.
With no tightened fabric and heat pumps which have their highest CoP when you don't need heating and lower CoP when demands are highest; and with high electricity prices and insufficient electricity generation to cover current demands for energy, let alone increased demands on the grid - what will the effect on fuel prices be? Will these homes be affordable if designers go back to the worst fabric that they can?
- I suspect that relaxing fabric performance over and above the details specified in consultation will be unlikely in many instances, irrespective of which options the Government settles on. Option 1 requires large PV arrays which will not be deliverable on some house types and especially where the orientation is east or west, the dwelling will have to go further than the notional to comply, given a PV array is orientated south in the notional. for Option 2, heat pump performance in the notional is top end and not all heat pumps will hit this standard, again meaning improvements over the notional will be needed. Either way, there appears limited opportunity to relax fabric standards in the notional. The Consultation also states that the fabric in the notional is an optimal balance between optimal fabric performance for heat pumps and cost effective ROI on further improvements to fabric. As for the impact on fuel prices, if I could accurately predict these, I'd have a successful career in investments...
Space Heating - how about electric UFH?
- Electric Underfloor heating will not comply with the FHS. The Notional is based on air source heat pumps so the efficiency difference between the two systems, means that significant fabric, services and renewable energy uplifts would be needed, that simply won't be viable.
The Standards for England are a fairly long way behind current Welsh and Scottish notional buildings and backstop area-weighted limiting U-values targets. This does not gel with CCC's prior fabric/demands recommendation for net zero buildings; Is the Govt. more focused on more homes, rather than better ones that are actually fit for the future?
- The consultation is at great pains to strike a balance between delivering net zero ready homes and ensuring the changes are cost effective and deliverable. Whether they've got that balance right is a matter of personal opinion. There are significant steps forward here which will in some cases be challenging to deliver. We should also have one eye on where we go after the FHS. Tighter fabric? Embodied Carbon?

Cost consideration

Is there further information on the cost uplifts?

Are the running costs for occupiers considered at all – or is it just about cost to the builder?

Yes full cost impact assessment can be found here:

Future Homes Standard Impact Assessment
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