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Independent Networks Association

The Future Homes Standard: A Pivotal Moment for Sustainable Housing

As we navigate the complexities of creating a sustainable future, the Independent Networks Association (INA) has actively contributed to the ongoing consultation on the Future Homes Standard. The INA’s response to the consultation on the Future Homes Standards, grounded in extensive industry experience and a deep understanding of the sector’s dynamics, sheds light on the critical transition phase necessary for realising the ambitions of this pivotal policy.

The Electrification Challenge

Britain is poised for a major transformation. Due to the electrification of heat, transport, and industry sectors, electricity demand is anticipated to at least double by 2050. This surge underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive energy system overhaul. The Electricity Network Commissioner’s recent report highlighted a burgeoning queue for connections at the transmission level, signalling a bottleneck that could delay the growth of new housing developments and the broader economy’s decarbonisation efforts.

Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs), responsible for connecting 80% of new homes in England, are already encountering challenges. From delayed electricity capacity release to the complexities of connecting at higher voltages, the path to electrification is fraught with obstacles. Moreover, the aspiration to integrate export capabilities, such as solar PV and other storage solutions, into new homes and electricity and gas infrastructure already laid for homes that are not yet built out adds other layers of complexity to this already challenging landscape.

Towards Practical Solutions

To navigate these challenges, the INA proposes a pragmatic approach: a 12-month gap between the publication of the Future Homes and Buildings Standard’s full technical specification and its enforcement, followed by a 24-month transitional period for developments with pre-laid gas networks or those requiring upgraded electricity connections. This framework aims to provide the industry with the flexibility needed to adapt, ensuring that the transition towards more sustainable housing is feasible and efficient.

The Importance of Collaboration

The transition to a future dominated by electric heating in homes is undeniably complex, touching on issues of capacity, safety, and infrastructure adaptability. It underscores the importance of ongoing dialogue and collaboration between the government, regulatory bodies, industry stakeholders, and the wider community. By working together, we can develop solutions that balance the urgent need for sustainable development with the practical realities of our current infrastructure and construction timelines.

The Future Homes Standard represents a significant step toward reducing carbon emissions and building a more sustainable future. However, achieving these ambitious goals requires thoughtful planning and a willingness to adapt strategies to the challenges encountered to deliver this important policy.

Looking Ahead

As the UK moves forward with its decarbonisation agenda, we hope that the INA’s insights serve as a crucial touchstone for government policymakers, industry professionals, and the public. The electrification of our homes and industries is essential to our collective efforts to combat climate change. Still, it must be pursued with a clear understanding of the obstacles and opportunities ahead.

The Future Homes Standard is more than a policy; it’s a blueprint for the future of sustainable living. By embracing a flexible, informed approach to its implementation, we can ensure that this transition not only meets our environmental objectives but also supports the growth and resilience of our housing and energy sectors.


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