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NHBC Foundation publishes brand new report on the future for home heating

Current Government proposals indicate that from 2025, under the Future Homes Standard, newly-built homes will not be permitted to use fossil fuels for heating. This change aims to significantly improve the energy-efficiency of new homes and marks the beginning of the end for the traditional gas boiler.

In ‘The Future For Home Heating – life without fossil fuels’, the latest report from the NHBC Foundation published today, the leading research body explores the implications of designing and building low-energy homes without gas boilers. The report explains the key technical issues and discusses the choices facing house builders, designers and architects when specifying alternative heating and hot water systems.

Richard Smith, NHBC’s Head of Standards, Innovation and Research commented: “Under the Government’s proposed ‘Future Homes Standard’ which is likely to be introduced by 2025, new homes will no longer be heated using fossil fuels. Our new NHBC Foundation report provides housebuilders with a roadmap to achieving this standard and paves the way for the no gas home.

“For both house builders and new home buyers, the no gas home will represent a generational shift in how dwellings are heated. As Government targets on reducing carbon emissions come into effect and many people become more attuned to the climate change agenda, we will begin the shift away from the traditional gas boiler and gas cooking appliances.”

According to recent figures, energy use in the UK’s 29 million homes accounts for 14% of total UK emissions and that increased between 2016 and 2017. To meet the proposed carbon and primary energy targets, the 2025 home must be designed and built to have minimal energy demand.

To achieve this the following elements should be considered:

  • Minimal heat losses via the building fabric and air infiltration
  • A high-efficiency heat recovery ventilation system
  • Good heating controls
  • LED fixed lighting
  • A+ rated (or better) electrical appliances, where provided
  • Photovoltaic panels, battery storage and/or solar hot water systems.

The report also outlines the further technical elements for house builders to consider in designing and building no gas homes, including the type of electric heat pump to install, the benefits of heat networks, ensuring the industry has a skilled workforce to install and deliver alternate systems to meet all the new demand and, importantly, consideration of how to market homes to potential buyers that do not have a gas-powered boiler or a gas cooker.

In summary, Richard Smith added: “With just a few years until the proposals are expected to come into force, this guide sets out the critical elements for house builders to consider, from designing homes with minimal energy demand to identifying the appropriate alternative heating systems and ensuring there are enough skilled tradespeople to fit and install new systems.”

Find out more and download the guide here.