The whole package


As sustainability becomes a key priority in anticipation of 2025’s Future Homes Standard, product specification becomes more challenging, not least for roofs. Stuart Nicholson of Marley explains how providing a single point of contact can help housebuilders produce energy-efficient, low carbon housing

The news that installations of solar PV panels on UK property roofs has risen by 40% over the past five years and by 15% in the last year alone, according to government data released
by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is further evidence of a shift towards a more sustainable approach driven by the net zero challenge and consumer demand. Indeed, solar PV is now the second largest renewable energy generator after wind.

For housebuilders, as they create new homes, or undertake refurbishment projects, the policy changes to Part L and Part S of the Building Regulations are driving the uptake of system-led renewable solutions that contribute to the building of energy efficient and low carbon homes.  

And there are increasing indications that homeowners are opting to purchase homes that can offer a full package of renewable solutions to underpin a more sustainable approach and do their bit to help tackle the climate emergency. 

The inclusion of renewable systems that include solar on the roof, heat pumps to provide low carbon heating and charging points for electric vehicles, are now not just ‘nice to have’ options, they are deemed by many would-be house purchasers to be essential.

The focus on renewables is also reinforced during a time of escalating energy bills. The source and cost of energy generation in the home is now a subject of widespread interest and concern for many consumers. As a result, potential buyers want to see housebuilders help them address future energy-related costs, and this presents a real opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves in the market. 

And it is easy to see why the built environment has such an influence on how the UK is responding to the net zero challenge. According to The Climate Change Committee, it accounts for around 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with approximately 14% coming from 28 million UK homes. As a major contributor to carbon emissions, the need to make the nation’s housing stock more energy efficient is pivotal to net zero success. 

Such market drivers are also seen in the context of preparation for the introduction of the Future Homes Standard in 2025. At that point, all housebuilders and developers will be required to ensure new homes are specified and constructed to be highly energy efficient, use low carbon heating solutions, and be zero carbon ready. 

Solar PV is expected to play a central role when the finalised specification templates are released, and the housebuilding sector will have to respond accordingly. The ONS figures perhaps underline that a rooftop revolution is already underway.

In addition (according to Zap-Map), there are now around 850,000 full electric and a further 530,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles on UK roads, and the adoption of electric powered transportation is well underway. For such drivers, the convenience and cost saving benefits of home charging facilities are important.  EV charger solutions can also be the answer for housebuilders looking to comply with the requirement of Part S of the Building Regulations, which requires all new homes with parking to have EV charging capability.  

As housebuilders take strategic decisions to ensure they comply with new building standards, and try to satisfy consumer sentiment for sustainable solutions, it is important they are fully aware of the array of roof-related, system led renewable technology solutions as part of a full system, which are now available to deliver real energy efficiency and long-term sustainability gains.

Meeting sustainability objectives will be an area of growing focus for the housebuilding sector through 2024 and in the lead up to 2025 industry responses that include single source packages of renewable technology system support will be valuable.

This means ‘one stop shop’ solution availability to help housebuilders, many of whom will not have the time available to source from a multitude of suppliers for the varied components that make up a high performing and sustainable roof and other associated renewable technologies.

Specifying products like solar roof tiles means housebuilders can select the entire pitched roof system, with integrated solar, from a single source, making it easier to incorporate solar into any house type and helping to navigate a cost-effective route along the road to net zero. Some EV chargers also have the ability to be connected to solar panels on the roofscape so households can access clean, renewable, and cheaper energy in the home and power up their electric vehicles at the same time.

Integrated solar PV as part of a full roofing system to aesthetically pleasing and high performing EV home charging capability, are just two of the sustainable product solutions that can support the housebuilding sector as it transitions to a low carbon future.

Accessing such answers via a single source strategy based on a partnership with proven experts can be a smart business move as sustainable specification pressures and regulatory obligations mount for the housebuilder sector.

Stuart Nicholson is roof systems director at Marley