Get on top of sustainability

With the Future Homes Standard about to change how we heat and power homes for ever, self-builders wanting to future-proof their homes should consider integrated green roofing solutions, says Marley’s Stuart Nicholson

Time is now ticking for everyone in housebuilding, with the introduction of the Future Homes Standard scheduled to proceed by 2025. The standard outlines changes to Parts F and L of the Building Regulations which govern energy efficiency and ventilation in new build homes, as well as moves to toughen up the system for enforcing these rules. With all eyes on the Government’s 2050 net zero carbon emission deadline, a look towards banning fossil-fuel heating from all new homes, is one part of a holistic move towards a greener future.

To this end, the Chancellor recently awarded £2bn in Green Homes Grants to enable homeowners to better insulate their houses or to install double glazing. This is further support for the wider objective to deliver a more sustainable future vision for the nation’s homes.

How we heat, power and insulate our homes will be central to achieving the ambitious government target and is also why the Green Homes Grant scheme – where homeowners can receive up to £5,000 towards green improvements in the home – is an important step on this journey.


For those looking to create their own bespoke living spaces through a self-build project, the ability to create sustainable home energy offers some exciting solutions. From ground source heat pumps to harnessing the power of the sun to provide low cost, green energy sources via roofscapes, careful planning and open-minded consideration can mean a dream home can also provide a sustainable future.

Indeed, many incentives exist for self- builders, such as financial support available for those wishing to implement the green contribution of heat pumps. While not all sustainable product solutions are covered by the Green Homes Grant – for instance photovoltaics (PV) systems – nonetheless taking advantage of some of the incentives on offer could help to free up spend to supplement additional areas that are proven to help the environment and help save homeowners money at the same time.

Chief among these is the specification of solar panels – a well-established sustainable energy source. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that installing solar panels to a roof space can reduce a household electricity bill by over £250 per annum, as well as helping to drastically cut the homeowners’ carbon footprint. As a result, in addition to other sustainable material solutions, solar panels could be an ideal answer for a self-build project with an eye on a greener future.

Solar panels are easy to install, as well as being a roof-integrated solution that comes with all the required components via an installation kit and a straightforward instruction guide. Self- builders can follow the clear steps that form the simple installation process: from securing the initial fixings, placing the solar tiles in position, undertaking a push- fit process for additional tiles, and finishing the install with final fixings and flashings.

With aesthetics a primary focal point when creating a new dream home, the good news is that solar panel systems are evolving and being finessed constantly to ensure they can sit seamlessly within roofscapes and are more attractive to the observer. As an example, solar panels can now be enabled as a fully integrated installation over a standard roof construction, with 25 mm battens and a continuous functional underfelt that terminates in a gutter.

For those looking at retrofit, the integration of solar panels can also work seamlessly with existing roof structures by directly replacing roof tile sections, and it is a quick and simple way to provide a greener and cost-effective energy source for any building project.

And, for self-builders seeking further assurances when it comes to roofing, there are also benefits to working with a single manufacturer. Not only are project teams on hand to advise of the best solution in relation to sustainability objectives, but this approach delivers added assurances when it comes to compatibility of products.

Furthermore, complete roof systems that include integrated and aesthetically pleasing solar panels, offer the peace of mind that comes with long term performance warranties, as well as access to specification expertise during construction phases.

Stuart Nicholson is roof systems director at Marley