Friday, October 11, 2019

Consultation Alert: Future Homes Standard

All those concerned about the contribution that the built environment makes to GHG emissions and the need to get to net zero by about 2030 and carbon negative soon thereafter should read the consultation at and respond by 10 January 2020.
When doing so it would seem to be important to bear in mind that most of the housing stock (ie about 27million dwellings) will still be being occupied over the next ten years and beyond and that all will need a substantial energy upgrade.  To add any substandard (ie not zero net carbon in construction and operation) dwellings to this liability would seem to be a recipe for failure.
Note that the Future Homes Standard is intended to remove the current ability for local councils to impose higher (eg net zero carbon standards) and for the Government to insist on anything less should be resisted, while a leveling up should be strongly argued for and supported.
The problem of carbon emissions arising from the construction of new dwellings (ie about half of lifetime emissions but all occurring in the short term when reductions are most important) does not feature in this consultation as it is not yet seen as a matter for the Building Regulations. However, if the Government is serious about reducing emissions it should be referred to the UK Green Building Council Framework 2019 that sets out the correct way to calculate carbon emissions.
It might also be helpful to remind HMG and Mr Jenrick that housing is one of the few sectors that has the potential to become carbon negative as transport, agriculture, manufacture (and imported emissions), the military and power generations will struggle and look for offsetting. And offsetting will be needed to remove emissions to get from 408ppm to 300ppm in the next ten years and not to mitigate for continuing emitters (see British Airways or Heathrow plotting a route to zero carbon) enabling business/pollution as usual.