Energy efficiency policies ‘confusing’
Following industry concerns over government revisions to building energy efficiency standards, Rehau claims that further changes will increase existing confusion over current regulations already identified in its recent housing market research.
The company is specifically pointing to ongoing uncertainty around Future Homes Standard (FHS) regulations as highlighted in its latest market readiness report, Future Homes Standard: Preparing UK Housing for 2025..
The whitepaper, which surveyed 200 decision makers in the housing sector, identified ‘significant knowledge gaps’ including no respondents being aware of a window system offering a FHS U-value of 0.85 W/m²K, ahead of the standard becoming mandatory in 2025.
Rehau’s comments come after the National Home Decarbonisation Group (NHDG) recommended the full release of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) – £3.8bn – in the upcoming Autumn Statement.
With the NHDG highlighting industry’s ‘severely shaken’ confidence in the Government following the watering down of national green commitments, Rehau says that the ‘current lack of clarity’ around the FHS means revisions are inadvisable.
Martin Hitchin, CEO at Rehau UK, commented: “Government actions such as adjusting the nation’s Net Zero pathway and shutting the Energy Efficiency Taskforce have understandably provoked uncertainty and concern among housebuilders. The sector is rightly committed to decarbonising existing building stock and constructing sustainable new homes, and the FHS is a key part of that.
“However, uncertainty remains on key components and whether they meet the standard performance levels, even though this is possible right now with the right design and specification. Given this lack of awareness in the market identified in our recent survey, we would recommend the Government keep to the current FHS timetable to prevent further confusion.”
To remain informed on key regulations such as the FHS, Martin is advising that housing sector stakeholders leverage supply chain expertise from organisations such as Rehau, as well as conducting their own research. He goes on to say that the need to do so will become even more pressing if the government revises the standard as part of its current stance around building energy efficiency legislation.
“It is a huge but necessary challenge to ensure marked emissions reductions and increased thermal performance on new and existing homes as required under the standard,” Martin concluded.
“Given the timescales associated with projects and the fact the FHS will become mandatory in a little over a year, all stakeholders involved in housing construction need as much clarity as possible on what’s required.
“However, the Government’s current direction of travel is leading to more questions, not less.
“Consequently, it is vital that housebuilders communicate as much as possible with the supply chain if they are to be kept abreast of any potential changes. With this in mind, I would advise these stakeholders to read our latest report as a vital first step.”
To read Rehau’s report, Future Homes Standard: Preparing UK housing for 2025, click here..