A Delivery Hub will be set up by a new cross sector Future Homes Task Force, comprising of representatives from across all the sectors that shape new homes including government, house building, utility provision, material suppliers and environmental groups, to manage the housebuilding industry’s drive to meet the environmental targets set out by the government.
The Task Force will aim to meet a series of high-level ambitions in a realistic and deliverable way, ensuring that future new build homes, many of which will undoubtedly find their way into the PRS, are far more energy efficient.
The Delivery Hub will develop planning for a broad range of interlinked climate, natural environment and resource targets that will need to be met to meet the ultimate objective of net zero.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This government is improving building standards and overhauling our outdated planning system as a priority. By putting communities in control of what is built locally we will deliver better designed, more sustainable buildings and the homes that are needed for the next generation.
“I look forward to seeing the recommendations and plans of the Future Homes Task Force later this year to support this exciting agenda as we work towards a cleaner, greener and more beautiful built environment.”
The route to net zero and environmentally positive housebuilding is a complex one containing numerous considerations that need to be factored in including; achieving net zero greenhouse gases; water issues; the impact of new homes on bio-diversity and nature; what resources are used and waste is produced; air quality; flood and climate resistance; the wider effect housing has on its social and built environment.
All of these, and the myriad of detail under each of them, will be aligned into three main areas of focus:
+ Place making and the impact new homes have on the wider environment – new developments will need to be planned for a net zero world and complement, not detract from their natural environments; whilst the changing climate needs to be factored into design of housing.
+ Working with utility companies on connection and infrastructure issues – the shift to electric only heating and car charging points for example will hugely increase demand and pressure on local networks.
+ The ‘fabric of the house’ - to achieve energy efficient new homes;
- Low carbon heating, with no new homes using gas by 2025
- More ambitious water efficiency standards, green roofs, reflective walls
- Improved flood resilience
- Triple glazed windows and more fresh air, mechanical ventilation and passive cooling
- Electric car charging points
To deliver these objectives will require input and collaboration from a broad range of stakeholders. Technologies will need to be developed and proved and then mainstreamed – not least with regards to post gas heating solutions; whilst consumers will need to be consulted with and educated as new technologies emerge. Supply chains will need to be created; new skills and training developed for production and maintenance of new technologies, and person capacity built.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at HBF, said: “The environmental agenda is an absolute priority for the UK’s house building industry and one on which we are committed to leading the way.
“We have been set a huge challenge by government, but it is one we are determined to deliver. We will work with government and stakeholders to set ambitious but deliverable goals that will ensure we make our contribution to environmental targets and achieve our ambition of net zero homes and a net zero industry.
“The work of the Task Force will help deliver homes that we can all be proud of as a nation and future generations will thank us for.”
The Taskforce’s Masterplan will allow for the Delivery Hub to plot a route through that meets the requirements of the government and the needs of consumers.
Emma Howard Boyd, environment agency chair, said: “Meeting the ambition that all new homes are net zero, climate resilient and make a positive contribution to the environment is an essential contribution to tackling the climate and nature emergencies. Government and regulators, including the Environment Agency, will need to play their full part, working collaboratively with industry, designers and environmentalists.”