The UK Government has opened a consultation period on the latest draft of the Future Homes Standard, which aims to drive energy efficiency and decarbonisation improvements in new homes and non-domestic buildings. The new Standard forms a key part of the UK’s commitment to achieve Net Zero status by 2050.

The 12 week consultation period is open until 6 March 2024, with responses invited from all parts of the construction sector, including developers, main- and sub-contractors, manufacturers, consultants and trade associations.

The consultation process covers a wide range of areas which are relevant to different sectors of the industry and provides insights into the likely future changes. To review the consultation questions and submit a response via an on-line questionnaire, the Government is encouraging people to visit its Future Homes website, where they can complete either the whole questionnaire, or just relevant sections.

Commenting on the consultation, Smart’s Technical Manager, Anthony Murray, said: “From a building fabric perspective, the draft Future Homes Standard does not contain any significant changes, as Document L of the Building Regulations, introduced in 2022, included increased thermal efficiency requirments (with tighter U-values for windows and doors) as part of the Future Homes road map.

“These values remain unchanged in this latest consultation, and so the work we have already carried out to make our systems compliant means that unless anything changes prior to final publication, we will also be compliant with these new requirements.

“The consultation programme is nevertheless an opportunity for the industry to have its say and I would encourage everyone involved in the house building sector to read the drafts and engage with the process. If customers have queries or concerns, the Smart technical services team is happy to offer help and guidance - and is always available to discuss any issues.

“We will continue to monitor the Standard as it progresses to implementation and advise if there are any significant or relevant changes, either to the document itself or to the implementation timetable.

Following the interim uplift in 2022, the energy efficiency improvements that this latest stage of Future Homes will deliver are primarily being driven by a switch to low carbon heat pumps and options for increased use of solar power, with the consultation presenting two options. Option 1 will deliver higher carbon and energy savings, but with higher capital cost, while Option 2 will deliver lower carbon savings and higher energy costs, with a lower capital cost. It is expected that the final legislation will be based on one of these options, with this consultation forming part of the final decision making process.

Of course in their specification of doors and windows, developers and architects will be able to go beyond the notional requirements and use triple glazed units for enhanced energy efficiency.

Although there are no material changes to the fabric U-values, the means of calculation will change quite significantly. After more than 30 years of use, the industry is very familiar with the SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) models, which can still be calculated manually if required.

However as part of Future Homes, SAP 10 is being replaced by the new Home Energy Model (HEM), which is being developed as an open-source computer model, meaning that current practices will have to change over the course of the transition period. Like SAP before it, the Home Energy Model will underpin a large number of government policies, making it of critical importance to the delivery of both our housing and climate objectives.

The legislation covering the Future Homes Standard is expected to be published in 2025. This will be followed by either a six, or a twelve month period before the legislation comes into force. This in turn will be followed by a twelve month transition period.

The Future Homes consultation documents and draft guidance can be found here:

The Future Homes and Buildings Standards: 2023 consultation - GOV.UK (

The SAP 10 to HEM (Home Energy Model) Consultation

Home Energy Model: replacement for the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) - GOV.UK (