Nicola Sturgeon unveils £54.5m to make buildings “warmer, greener and more energy efficient”

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 2 May 2018 in News

FM announces new target to ensure that all homes achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of at least Band C by 2040

Image credit: Holyrood

Nicola Sturgeon has announced £54.5m in government funding towards making buildings “warmer, greener and more energy efficient” across Scotland.

The funding, aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the housing stock, is part of a range of measures aimed at ensuring that all homes achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least Band C by 2040.

With around 62 per cent of Scottish households living in homes below EPC Band C for energy efficiency, campaigners at the Existing Homes Alliance have called on ministers to bring all homes in Scotland to at least a ‘C’ energy performance standard by 2025.

Under the new plans, landlords of privately rented homes will be required to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of Band E from April 2020 at change of tenancy, and then Band D from 2022.

All private rented properties will need to be EPC Band E by end March 2022 and Band D by end March 2025.

But while the First Minister said the funding proved the Scottish Government’s commitment to combating fuel poverty and climate change, Scottish Renewables expressed disappointment that ministers had not gone further in promoting renewable heat.

Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Today’s launch of a long-term route map to reduce and clean up the energy we use in our buildings is welcome, and the proposed measures should start to accelerate energy efficiency improvements to homes and offices.

“It is however disappointing that the route map says very little about renewable heat. With uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of key policies like the Renewable Heat Incentive this is a missed opportunity to show how this programme will capitalise on Scotland’s emerging renewable heat industry.

“It is vital that the Scottish Government progresses its proposals to support district heat networks and demonstrates how the programme will support technologies like heat pumps, biomass and solar to ensure that the heat we generate is not only used in the most efficient way but is low-carbon too.”

But the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations welcomed “the ambition and long term commitment in the announcements”, while urging ministers to provide additional support to enable its members to invest in low carbon affordable energy efficiency measures while keeping rents affordable.

Head of public affairs Sarah Boyack said: “Housing associations have a strong track record in energy efficiency, renewables and affordable warmth - associations have the most energy efficient homes in Scotland and have a track record of delivering energy efficiency advice and initiatives such as district and renewable heating.

“While welcoming the ambition, however, the SFHA make it clear that ambitious targets need to be supported by Scottish Government investment to bring about the transformational change proposed in today’s announcement.”

Sarah Beattie-Smith, senior climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland said: “WWF Scotland has long called for greater action to insulate our leaky homes so it is positive to see the Government adopting our call for a target to get the vast majority of homes up to an energy performance standard of EPC C. We also welcome the Government’s recognition of the need for a national delivery mechanism for this 20 year infrastructure priority.

“However, homeowners must be supported to take action to upgrade their homes faster than proposed if we are to meet existing and future climate change targets and reap the benefits of a low carbon future. We cannot afford to wait until 2040. New financial incentives and regulation for minimum standards of energy efficiency are now needed to improve people’s homes, drive down climate emissions and create new jobs in communities across the country.”

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