Future homes standard

Future homes standard: Upgrading the existing housing stock

The achievement of the UK target for net-zero by 2050 is highly challenging and will require a coordinated effort by us all living in the UK. Domestic housing is currently a major contributor to our emissions, with heating being responsible for 15% of CO2 emissions and 22% if the embodied carbon in electricity usage is also included. 

The introduction of the Future Homes Standard for new homes will address new builds, but a solution needs to be found for our 28 million existing houses, many of which are draughty and poorly insulated.

Why now is the time to act

It is not unreasonable to expect the UK government to use fiscal policy to encourage the owners of houses to upgrade their properties to more efficient standards. This may include a carbon tax on oil and gas or surcharges in council tax for houses in the comparatively worse EPC bands. In light of this, many UK homeowners are turning their attention to how to improve the efficiency of their own home to comply with the future homes standard regulations.

Homeowners are also seeking ways to decarbonise their homes, which could include air source or ground source heat pumps, full electrification or conversion to hydrogen heating and cooking. Whichever route is chosen, efficiency improvements are needed.

How to identify heat loss

The first step is usually a survey to identify the source of heat loss through lack in the continuity of insulation, thermal bridging and air leakage. Once this is identified, plans can be established for improving the various deficiencies in the building performance. 

The different survey techniques are airtightness testing which quantifies the amount of air leakage, thermographic surveys and smoke testing which are diagnostic tools allowing identification of areas for improvement.

Rectification plan

The results of these surveys allow the formation of a rectification plan. This could be the sealing of gaps that may have been identified such as poorly sealed doors and windows, cracks in the building fabric or poor seals around wall penetrations such as boiler flues or bathroom and kitchen vents. 

Alternatively, it could be poor insulation in walls and ceilings. A work plan is formulated to allow the rectification of the various deficiencies. On completion of the works a post defect survey confirms that the work has been properly undertaken and the target efficiency levels have been met.

Other considerations

It is important to ensure ventilation is working as designed to mitigate cold patches within the occupied zone. Heat loss is undesirable within our existing housing stock and working environment, financially costly and fundamental if we are to meet net-zero targets.

Rectifying the thermal performance of an existing house when undergoing refurbishment or commercial premises at the change of lease would allow for the effective integration of zero-carbon heating systems.

At airtight solutions, we provide a variety of services that can help you rectify any heat loss or sound problems you may be having at your place of business or home. Contact us today to get an idea of how we can help you.

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