Written by Beth Howell Updated on 30 August 2023 ✔ The Future Homes Standards will create new environmental building standards ✔ Newbuilds will emit 75-80% fewer carbon emissions compared to current standards✔ Changes could include improving insulation and using low-carbon heatingThe UK is in a race against time to make its homes more eco-friendly. In 2020, total household emissions fell to 133 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e), compared to 148 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019 (ONS, 2021) – but much more still needs to be done.That’s why the government is bringing in the Future Homes Standard, which will ensure that all new homes built from 2025 will produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions than current properties.Although the Future Homes Standard is a work in progress – and has been since 2019 – we should start to see some changes brought by the end of the year. Want to learn more? Check out our helpful guide below. What’s on this page? 01 What is the Future Homes Standard? 02 What changes will home builders have to make? 03 Why has the Future Homes Standard been created? 04 Is the Future Homes Standard good enough? 05 FAQs What is the Future Homes Standard?The Future Homes Standard is an ongoing project, which involves the government collaborating with experts in different industries to create a new set of environmental building standards.Although the plans are currently in ‘phase two’, it’s already been established that the new set of regulations will make sure all newbuilds will emit 75-80% fewer carbon emissions than homes under current rules.On top of this, the Future Homes Standard – which is set to come into place in 2025 – is aiming to:Ensure all UK homes are ‘fit for the future’ – Meaning they’ll be better for the environment and more affordable for people to heat. ‘Future-proofed’ homes are expected to produce 31% fewer CO2 emissions compared to current standardsIntroduce ‘zero-carbon-ready homes’ – This essentially means homes will release fewer emissions over time, without the need for more pricey retrofitting work, as the electricity grid becomes greenerAvoid having homes rely on fossil-fuel heating – Currently, the main plan for this in the report is to make homes compatible with heat pumps, rather than gas boilersIntroduce a ‘fabric-first approach’ – This involves maximising the performance of the materials that make up the building itself, consequently improving insulation and airtightnessWhen will the Future Homes Standard come into effect?The Future Homes Standard was first announced back in 2019, and won’t be finalised until 2025.Although there have been two consultations so far, which have looked into how the standards should be delivered, the full details are yet to be mapped out.The Future Homes Standard is split into four different phases, which we’ve outlined below.Phase one: Interim uplift to parts L (energy and carbon emissions), F (ventilation), O (overheating), and S (electric vehicle charging points) of building regulations for new homes and buildings, in effect as of 15 June 2022. Carbon emissions from new homes have to be 30% lower than the old standards, for new commercial buildings they need to be 27% lowerPhase two: Consultations to set out technical specifications for proposed new building regulations – complete by 2023Phase three: Introduce new legislation to Parliament – complete by 2024Phase four: Implementation – complete by 2025 What changes will home builders have to make?Since phase two of the Future Homes Standard still hasn't been completed, specifics aren’t set in stone. However, the government’s report shows a lot of interest in some key areas, including:Removing fossil fuels – This is likely to include installing appliances like heat pumps, introducing hydrogen-fueled energy, and encouraging more renewable energy in the gridIncreasing energy efficiency – The report suggests key areas that could benefit from energy-efficiency improvements include boilers, heat pumps, cooling appliances, and lightingImproving home ventilation – The government suggests that it will “proceed with the use of performance-based ventilation standards”Upgrading building airtightness – This essentially means there will be more of a focus on removing all gaps and cracks on buildings, which will help keep them well insulatedImproving fabrics and materials – This will include considering alternative building methods to the more traditional constructionHaving heating systems run at lower temperatures – This will enable heat pumps to work more effectively Why has the Future Homes Standard been created?The UK needs to rapidly reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses it releases into the atmosphere – and household emissions is an excellent place to start.The Climate Change Committee has estimated that energy use in homes accounts for about 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, each year, home energy accounts for roughly 133 million tonnes of CO2e – that’s double Austria’s total annual emissions.By addressing the environmental issues in our homes, the Future Homes Standard will hopefully bring these emissions down, which will help us massively in the fight against climate change.The general public will also benefit from these alterations – not only will we all be warmer during the winter, but we’ll be paying less for our energy bills. It’s a win-win! Is the Future Homes Standard good enough?The overall consensus from experts in the field is that the standards aren’t good enough.Don’t get us wrong, the Future Homes Standard is a step in the right direction, but there’s definitely room for improvement.In February 2021, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President, Professor Alan M Jones, said: “The proposed changes to building regulations are simply not ambitious enough to meet the scale of our environmental challenge.”This is also reflected in the government’s phase one consultation, which included a survey of 3,310 people from different sectors.When asked whether the government’s goal of having newbuilds produce 75-80% fewer emissions than current buildings was good enough, 80% of people said the reduction was too low. Instead of reducing emissions, many of the respondents suggested that the Future Homes Standard should make sure all new homes are designed to be net zero. This would provide a more urgent response to climate change.On top of this, when respondents were asked whether they agreed with the proposed timings of the Future Homes Standard roadmap, 84% of people said the timings are not ambitious enough.Most respondents argued that the proposed roadmap to 2025 needs to speed up rapidly if we want to meet the net-zero target by 2050.Another noticeable problem is that the Future Homes Standard is relying on grid decarbonisation to reduce emissions. Feedback from experts suggested that new buildings should be designed to reduce the burden on the National Grid – this would also help the grid decarbonise faster.SummaryThere’s no denying it – Britain is in dire need of home improvements and new building regulations. But unfortunately, we’ll be waiting roughly four years to see significant action.But fear not – we’ll be here to update you with all the key information you’ll need to know along the way, as more details are released about the Future Homes Standard. FAQs What is the window U-value in the Future Homes Standard The government is finalising exact specifications for the 2025 Future Homes Standard.However, interim regulations which applies to newbuilds from June 2022 requires windows and glazed doors to have a U-value of 1.2 watts per square metre per degree (W/m²K).For context, the U-value of single glazed windows is typically 4.8-5.8, for double glazing it's 1.2-3.7, and for triple glazing it's 1 or lower. Essentially, newbuilds are required to be fitted with highly efficient double glazing, or triple glazing. What is the Future Homes Standard interim uplift? The Future Homes Standard Interim uplift is are amendments to building standards for new homes. It came into effect in June 2022, and requires new homes to emit 31% less carbon emissions compared to old standards.The interim uplift was put in place to help prepare UK homes to meet new environmental building regulations, which will come into effect as part of the Future Homes Standard in 2025. How many new homes are built in the UK each year? In 2022, there were 204,530 new homes built in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics, a figure which is lower than the government's target of 300,000 a year.Overall, newbuild homes only make up a small fraction of the UK's estimated 28 million households (IBIS World). Written by: Beth Howell Content Manager Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.