New figures reveal 1.5 million households living in cold homes in Scotland

Written by Jenni Davidson on 11 April 2016 in News

An estimated 62 per cent of Scottish households live in homes below EPC band C for energy efficiency, according to Existing Homes Alliance data

Almost 1.5 million households in Scotland are living in “unhealthily cold” homes, according to figures released today.

An estimated 1.48 million households currently live in homes rated below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C, according to data compiled for the Existing Homes Alliance.

That is 62 per cent of the approximately 2.42 million households in Scotland.


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There are seven parliamentary constituencies in Scotland where more than 75 per cent of households are estimated to be living in a cold home: Na h-Eileanan an Iar; Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch; Caithness, Sutherland and Ross; Shetland Islands; Orkney Islands; Argyll and Bute; Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

The Western Isles is the worst affected area with an estimated 88 per cent of homes rated band D or above for energy efficiency and 74 per cent of households living in fuel poverty.

Only three constituencies in Scotland have more than half of the properties in the target A to C bands for energy efficiency: Glasgow Anniesland, Glasgow Shettleston and Edinburgh Northern and Leith.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that properties should be EPC band C at a minimum and ideally band B, to reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home.   

Households in the lowest energy efficiency bands are more likely to be living in fuel poverty.

Campaigners from the Existing Homes Alliance – whose members include WWF Scotland, Changeworks and the National Insulation Association – are calling on political parties to commit to ridding Scotland of the “scourge” of cold homes by 2025.

Dr Sam Gardner, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Heating Scotland’s buildings accounts for over half of our climate change emissions.

“Ensuring every home reaches a C Energy performance standard by 2025 is the minimum level of ambition required to allow our climate change targets to be met.

“A political commitment that no-one should live in a hard-to-heat, draughty home would be good for millions of households, and would drastically reduce emissions too.”

Alan Ferguson, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, said: “These figures show that if the next Scottish Government set an objective to bring all homes in Scotland to at least a ‘C’ energy performance standard by 2025, they could end the scourge of cold homes currently affecting thousands of households in every single parliamentary constituency across Scotland.”

In October last year an alliance of over 50 organisations, including Age Scotland, Barnardo’s, UNISON, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Federation of Master Builders and Energy Action Scotland, issued a joint statement calling for the Scottish Government to commit to a national infrastructure priority of making all homes EPC band C by 2025.

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