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The Future of Non-Domestic Buildings: Future Buildings Standard Consultation


In December 2023, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) released the consultation on the next revision to energy efficiency standards in Building Regulations in England, known as the Future Homes and Building Standard.

The Elmhurst team has taken time to review the consultation and have highlighted the key questions and proposed changes relating to the non-domestic sector. This follows the recent article covering all domestic changes, which can be viewed on the following link: Building Towards Net Zero: The Future Homes Standard Consultation

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The Future Homes and Buildings Standard consultation closes at 11:59pm on 6 March 2024. Once all responses to the consultation have been reviewed by government and the next steps and implementation dates confirmed, a new version of the iSBEM software engine will have an agreed date to go live. Elmhurst will release an update to all affected members once we have notification of this.

What does the Consultation Propose?

The below list provides a summary of the key questions and proposed changes noted in the Future Homes and Buildings Standard, relating to non-domestic buildings. Please note that this summary does not cover all questions raised in the consultation.

– Question 10: Which option do you prefer for the proposed non-domestic notional buildings set out in the NCM modelling guide?

The two options noted are based on the amount of PV assumed against building foundation area for the notional building:

Option 1 Option 2
40% P.V. Side lit 20% P.V. Side lit
75% P.V. top lit 40% P.V. top lit

– Question 12: Do you agree that the metrics suggested above (TER, TPER and FEE) be used to set performance requirements for the Future Homes and Buildings Standards?

The consultation proposes to not change the metric selection used in the Future Homes and Buildings Standards:

  • TER – Target Emission Rate
  • TPER – Target Primary Energy Rate
  • FEE – Target Fabric Energy Efficiency Rate

– Question 19: Do you agree with the proposed changes to minimum building services efficiencies and controls set out in Section 6 of draft Approved Document L, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings?

The proposed changes are:

Building Service Current Part L 2021 Standard Proposed Part L 2025 Standard
Heat pump efficiency For air-to-air heat pumps ≤12 kW, a Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) rating of at least D in BS EN 14825. Other types for space heating COP 2.5; all types for domestic hot water heating COP 2.0, absorption COP 0.5; gas-engine COP 1.0. Heat pumps should follow Ecodesign Regulations, set out in Table 6.1 of draft Approved Document L, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings.

Heat pumps not covered by Ecodesign Regulations should have a minimum Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 2.5.

Heat pump controls Only for outdoor fans and heat pumps installed in buildings with other heat sources available. Addition of controls to make consistent with Approved Document L, Volume 1: Dwellings, set out in Table 6.2 of draft Approved Document L, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings.
Lighting efficacy 95 lm/W for general internal lighting, 80 lm/W for display lighting. 105 lm/W for general internal lighting, 95 lm/W for display lighting.

– Question 21: Do you agree that the current guidance for buildings with low energy demand which are not exempt from the Building Regulations, as described in Approved Document L, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings should be retained without amendment?

At present, some buildings with low energy demand are exempt from the requirements of the Building Regulations. Others must meet the energy efficiency requirements in the Building Regulations. For these building types, Approved Document L, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings, provides specific guidance on compliance.

– Question 22: Do you agree that lifts, escalators and moving walkways in new buildings (but not when installed within a dwelling) should be included in the definition of fixed building services?

The consultation proposes that minimum standards are set through approved document guidance, and that the noted services are included in the Building Regulations definition of ‘fixed building services’ for new buildings.

– Question 75: Do you agree with the methodology outlined in the NCM modelling guide for the Future Buildings Standard?

To support the implementation of the Future Buildings Standard, a number of other changes have been introduced for SBEM and its interface, iSBEM. These can be identified in the consultation software tool and accompanying documents published alongside the consultation.

The updates noted include:

  • Introduction of a tool to support the production of heat pump system seasonal efficiencies, which works alongside SBEM and can be used to provide data when this is not readily produced by the system designer (for instance when some system details are unknown).
  • Ability to more readily input data where multiple lighting systems are in use in one zone.
  • Ability to input round windows.
  • General improvements to iSBEM, including to usability and functionality allowing better use on tablet and mobile devices.
  • Carbon factors for all fuels have been updated.

Elmhurst Response

John Robinson, Non-Domestic Scheme Manager, comments:

“The Future Buildings Standard consultation is a significant step in the journey to net zero. There are many proposals which were expected, such as minimum lighting efficacy.

We will now start to collate our thoughts on the specific consultation questions and as always publish our draft response for members to provide feedback on in advance of the consultation closing in March 2024.”

To view and respond to the consultation, click the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-homes-and-buildings-standards-2023-consultation

The consultation version of the iSBEM engine can be downloaded from here: