Published On: Tue, Jan 24th, 2023

Future Homes Standard collaboration is key to addressing energy bills

Following the Government’s statutory advisor’s warnings over the impact of inefficient windows on householder energy bills, a prominent polymer manufacturer is imploring commercial window specifiers to review recent updates to building regulations in this area.

Citizens Advice has warned that families could still see up to 30% of the heat they pay for escape through walls, windows and roofs, despite the Government freezing domestic energy prices. With this in mind, polymer provider Rehau is advocating that suppliers must provide product clarity to fitters so that frames specified for new or retrofit projects meet recent, increasingly stringent energy-efficiency regulations.

Specifically, Mark Gadja, Head of Technical Services and Certification at Rehau, is advising product transparency at each supply chain stage, to ensure all windows adhere to uplifts to Part L of the Building Regulations under the Future Homes Standard (FHS). Yet with information having continually fluctuated ahead of the long-trailed FHS’s June 2022 introduction, Mark is emphasising the importance of engaging experts to ensure energy-efficient properties.

“The cost-of-living crisis continues to impact householders and property owners, and as Citizens Advice’s latest report shows, windows are a key factor behind rising bills,” says Mark. “Though we may hope that rising fuel costs are a short-term concern, it throws the need for energy-efficient properties into stark relief. It is therefore more important than ever that fabricators and installers are aware of the Future Homes Standard and how Part L updates affect window specification and can impart this information to customers and end-users. However, the level of debate that has ensued around this legislation means these stakeholders may receive conflicting or even incorrect information. With energy costs continuing to skyrocket, the long-term effects of not engaging expertise could be drastic for both building occupants and developers.”

Taking into account the lack of clarity around the topic, Rehau has launched a series of fact sheets to assist architects and specifiers across local authority and house building projects. Two documents cover Part L requirements for new-builds and retrofits respectively, with the remaining two addressing uplifts to Part F of the Building Regulations, concerning ventilation.

Steve Tonkiss, Head of Sales South at Rehau Windows, said: “The number of technical queries we are receiving from commercial specifiers have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Future Homes Standard. This is undoubtedly encouraging as it shows the sector is getting to grips with the new requirements.

“Yet the publication of this Citizens Advice report demonstrates that more needs to be done, especially in the wake of the energy crisis. Windows are a key area through which heat can be lost, so it is vital that suppliers provide clarity on how these changes can affect installers portfolios. Also, fitters should contact frame providers for assistance on how to best navigate the shifting landscape and pass this information on to householders and commercial project stakeholders. The cost of not doing so is only too real for affected building occupants, so reaching out and looking into further information resources, such as our own ‘In the Frame’ hub, is highly advisable.”