New homes and buildings in England will have to produce significantly less CO2, under rules announced by the government in order to help the country move towards net zero.
Under the regulations, CO2 emissions from new-build homes must be around 30% lower than current standards, and emissions from other new buildings, including offices and shops, must be reduced by 27%.
Heating and powering buildings currently makes up 40% of the UK’s total energy use.
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Installing low carbon technology, such as solar panels and heat pumps, and using materials in a more energy efficient way to keep in heat will help cut emissions.
The government said that newly built residential buildings, including homes, care homes, student accommodation and children’s homes, must also be designed to reduce overheating, making sure they are fit for the future and protect the most vulnerable people.
Improvements to ventilation will also be introduced to support the safety of residents in newly-built homes and to prevent the spread of airborne viruses in new non-residential buildings.
The changes to the government’s Building Regulations, which set the standards in England for the design, construction and alteration of buildings, follow a public consultation and will come into effect from June 2022.
The changes aim to raise standards and move towards a cleaner greener built environment, paving the way for the Future Homes and Buildings Standard in 2025.
The regulations coincide with £6.6bn of direct investment into improving the energy efficiency of buildings during this Parliament.
The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Local Authority Delivery scheme and Home Upgrade Grant scheme make grants available to low-income households for insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and other efficiency and decarbonisation measures.
Last week, a further £400m of funding was announced for more than 200 local authority areas as part of a new Sustainable Warmth Competition.
The latest figures found that almost half (46%) of the homes in England are now rated C or above for energy efficiency, compared to 14% in 2010.
Housing Minister Eddie Hughes said: “Climate change is the greatest threat we face and we must act to protect our precious planet for future generations.
“The government is doing everything it can to deliver net zero and slashing CO2 emissions from homes and buildings is vital to achieving this commitment.
“The changes will significantly improve the energy efficiency of the buildings where we live, work and spend our free time and are an important step on our country’s journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment.”