The Welsh Government has announced the use of fossil fuels to heat newly-built social homes will be banned from 1st October 2021.
Under the new regulations, new homes in Wales must instead meet the highest energy efficiency standards to reduce carbon use during construction and when occupied, in addition to developers required to consider recycling and food waste storage.
The efficient use of timber in construction must also be maximised to increase carbon storage in harvested wood products in Wales while minimising operational carbon by reducing energy demand and where appropriate, using onsite renewables.
Developers must also undertake as-built assessment of whole-life carbon and post occupancy evaluation of the building’s performance and once upfront, embodied and operational carbon are minimised, robust offsetting schemes must be used to move to net zero whole-life carbon.
The aim is for private developers to adopt the ‘Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021 – Creating Beautiful Homes and Places’ – which sets out the minimum functional quality standards for new and rehabilitated general needs affordable homes – by 2025.
The move underpins the Welsh Government’s recent commitment to build 20,000 low carbon homes for rent over the next five years.
The new regulations are significant to the government’s response to the climate emergency and commitment to drive down emissions to reach its 2050 net zero goal.
Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Our new ‘Creating Beautiful Homes and Places’ building standards show the bold and immediate action we are taking in responding to the climate emergency. How we live and heat our homes over the coming years will be pivotal in reaching our net zero goals.
“Curbing the worst impacts of climate change is a matter of social justice but so is ensuring people have access to internet in their homes and enough space to live well. These standards ensure all of these targets are met as they reflect our modern ways of living and changing lifestyle needs.
“Making use of innovative construction methods and design, I have every confidence the social housing sector will prove themselves trailblazers of the ambitious standards, as they deliver on our pledge to build 20,000 low carbon homes for rent over the next five years.”