The government has responded to a consultation on the Future Homes Standard, setting out plans to radically improve the energy performance of new builds, with all homes to be zero carbon ready by 2025. Karl Hick, Chairman of Larkfleet Group, a Lincolnshire-based developer, welcomes the clarity but voices some reservations over the timescale.
“I’ve long been supportive of the government’s environmental ambitions and was disappointed when the green agenda was conspicuously absent from the most recent spending review. This omission was somewhat rectified by the announcement late last year of the 10-point green plan.
“This latest response builds on the Greener Buildings element of that plan, providing clarity over timescales and expectations for delivery of the zero carbon ready homes. This greater clarity and defined timescale are important steps towards ensuring the housebuilding industry can deliver against the government’s environmental aspirations.
“However, the government’s announcement makes no reference to expectations for the improvement of existing housing stock – beyond requirements for new extensions or renovations. Addressing existing housing stock is something I feel is critical if we are to raise the standard of environmental efficiency across the industry. I have previously also expressed concern about the effect the introduction of new targets and regulations will have on the pace of building and the volume of houses that the industry can deliver.
“Larkfleet Group has long been committed to driving innovations which deliver greater energy and environmental efficiency for our industry and the company has made significant preparations and investments in this area. So, despite my concerns for the ability of housebuilders in general to deliver against these targets, and acknowledging that the published timescales remain ambitious, Larkfleet is in a strong position to meet the government’s targets.
“All our homes are already built to SAP 10 calculations and many are fitted with solar panels from the outset. We work closely with our supply chain to identify innovation and improvement in materials and installation methods and are currently trialling air source heat pumps at one of our latest developments.
“Using our platform as a founding member of the All Parliamentary Party Group for SME Housebuilders we are determined to continue taking a leading role in shaping policy that benefits our customers, our industry and the environment for generations to come.”