A nice house warming
When I interviewed Keith Brown a couple of years ago, then also Minister for Housing, he admitted a huge amount of work needed to be done to bring homes up to scratch and make them energy efficient.
Brown looked forward to a time when mortgage lenders would consider the energy costs into their complex calculations that decide whether or not someone can afford a home, meaning the more energy efficient your home, the more likely your success rate – and the more likely it would sell.
By the time this article is published, hopefully, I will be safely ensconced in a new home, just in time for the onslaught of winter.
It is more than 150 years old, built in a time when houses were certainly solid, but less likely to trap the heat, and, probably for the first time when buying, I took note of the little rating symbols published alongside the nice pictures and glossy schedule. Energy Efficiency rating E, but could be a C and an Environmental Impact of E, but could be a B at a push.
The debate over energy efficiency has been a torrid one in the last couple of years, the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland has previously called for energy-efficiency budgets to be increased from around the £80m mark to at least £125m – but there are now estimates that this figure needs to be even higher.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the company that provides finance for the Green Deal, the UK Government’s flagship scheme, warned that it could be wound up unless it received more funding.
Following discussion of the 2015-16 budget by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, which features a panel including WWF’s Sam Gardner and director of Energy Action Scotland, Norman Kerr, I was contacted by one of the authors of the Scottish Government’s Renewable Heat Strategy published in 2008.
She argued that energy policy should be devolved to Scotland to spark greater investment in efficiency and insulation and thermal efficiency measures in all buildings could cut demand by about 50 per cent.
Making homes energy ratings as much a part of the house-buying process as a credit check or testing for damp is a good idea. I, as a home owner, have some responsibility to ensure my home is heatproof and watertight.
But this is a problem which has not diminished over time, every year as temperatures drop there are people who cannot afford to heat their homes.