Last reviewed 13 May 2021

We reported in January on the Government’s plans for rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption (see Government sets rigorous new energy efficiency standards for businesses).

The Government invited comments on its plans and now a coalition of built environment and climate action organisations, including the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), has responded to highlight shared concerns about the current version of the Future Buildings Standard.

While the group welcomes many of the measures proposed, and applauds the Government’s ambition to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment, it argues that there are several additional areas that are critical to success in achieving the UK’s net zero ambition.

It notes, for example, that the Future Buildings Standard proposes using primary energy as the principal performance metric in the Building Regulations and suggest that this is not the appropriate approach.

“Instead, we must start regulating the amount of energy used by a building,” the coalition argues. “We suggest that operational energy becomes the key metric. The metric is already well known and understood within the sector as well as by building owners and occupiers.”

The group also highlights the point in the Future Buildings Standard consultation which states that new buildings should be “zero carbon ready”. It argues that that this should be replaced with a demand for the construction of “net zero carbon buildings”.

In addition, the Government is urged to prepare a National Retrofit Strategy with adequate funding and a clear roadmap for action. This must include a whole building retrofit approach, the coalition argues, and a commitment to reviewing the Building Regulations for existing buildings in 2025.

For the full text of the letter, and the list of signatories, see the CIBSE website.