Government to bring forward implementation of promised Future Homes Standard

A planned ban on gas boilers in new-build properties could be implemented as early as 2023, under the 10-point green recovery plan outlined by Boris Johnson this week.

Details of the government’s plan, unveiled on Wednesday, made clear that the Future Homes Standard, under which new-builds will have to meet tough fabric efficiency standards and will not be able to use gas boilers, will now be brought forward “in the shortest possible timeline”.

Goldsmith Street_©Tim Crocker

Source: Tim Crocker

The Stirling Prize-winning Goldsmith Street development meets the Passivhaus energy standard

Previously the government had said that it would introduce the standard in 2025. However, an early version of the document, seen by The Times, said the government planned to bring in the Future Homes Standard in 2023.

It reported that a government source had confirmed the intention to bring in the new standard in 2023 but had not meant to make the date public yet as industry had not yet been consulted.

Banning gas boilers in new-builds is seen as the best way to make homes “net zero”-ready, as it will mean homes can be heated without carbon emissions, once the electricity grid is decarbonised.

But it will require a vast increase in the use of heat pumps. These are already a proven technology used in many new-build, but only around 30,000 are installed each year.

The government’s strategy said it wanted to see 600,000 heat pumps installed every year by 2028 but had not yet decided whether it ultimately wanted to replace gas heating in homes with hydrogen, electricity or a combination of both.

Chris Brown, chief executive of developer Igloo, said it was “appropriate” that the government had brought forward the target for implementing the Future Homes Standard, but last year the housing ministry said in its consultation on the standard that “there may not be the necessary supply chains, trained installers and product availability needed for every homebuilder”.

In addition to bringing forward the implementation of the Future Homes Standard, Johnson this week committed to spending £1bn to extend the Green Homes Grant for a year, to pay for the retrofitting of existing homes.

A spokesperson for the housing ministry declined to clarify the date when the Future Homes Standard will be introduced by the time of publication, saying only that the department wanted to implement the measures under the Future Homes Standard “in the shortest possible timeline”.

The spokesperson added: “We’ve consulted on introducing this by 2025 and will set out further details in due course.”