The Scottish Government is proposing energy efficiency measures for owner occupied homes that will be a legal requirement. It is determined to move housing away from fossil fuels (coal,gas, oil) and heat our homes using renewable or low carbon fuel sources.
They are seeking your views on these proposals which will become mandatory in 4 years time.
Click on this link to view the proposals: Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes: consultation
According to the Scottish Government’s calculations only 38% of owner-occupied homes in Scotland are at EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) band C or better. This means that with the majority of homes in Scotland being owner occupied some 930,000 homes are below that standard.
The paper states that 15% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions come from residential properties with owner occupied homes contributing significantly to the problem.
The proposals are to make homes come up to the Energy PC rating of at least Band C.
one of the downsides of using the Energy Efficiency Rating alone as the standard is that – because of the current higher cost of many renewable fuel sources – it is possible in some cases to make the Energy Efficiency Rating worse even though the carbon emissions from the home have reduced. Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes: consultation
The consultation states that it may be possible to “give an exemption to those properties which do not meet EPC C, despite having all appropriate fabric energy efficiency measures and a renewable or low carbon heating source (eg air source heat pump or district heating system) installed. “
The start date for the mandatory standards is to be set at 2024 to bring it in ahead of the national target set by the Scottish Government of 2030.
The aim is that when a property is put up for sale ,transferred to a new owner, or when it is being renovated that it will have to meet the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C standard. The costs for bringing it up to the standard would be borne by the new owners.
To insure that the standards are being applied it is proposed to fine people for not doing so.
Although there are grants available the Scottish Government will not be able to fund all the improvements that will be required. Home owners who can afford to bring their home up to the legal standard will be expected to do so.
The overall investment needed to bring all owner occupied homes up to EPC band C is estimated to be in the region of £6 billion. Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes: consultation
Any exemption that home owners are successfully granted will be time limited.
You can respond to the consultation by clicking on this link:Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes
The consultation closes on 26th of March 2020.
Huge swathes of Scotland’s rural areas and islands rely on fossil fuels to heat their homes.
In communities like Orkney many properties rely on oil. Many of those properties are also older ones. It could be that given that the cost of improvements will be borne by new owners (which could be family inheriting a home) that the islands will end up with even more buildings which are not occupied. Orkney already has the highest number of empty homes in Scotland.
23% of people who responded to the Empty Properties Survey stating that their property was empty stated that the main reason it was not in use was because they could not afford to renovate. Orkney Islands Council Empty Homes Strategy 2018-2023
Due to the EPC rating, the house value will have decreased and not made it worth keeping it going. The £6 billion estimated cost of bringing homes up to what will be a mandatory standard seems rather low. As these measures are to come into effect in 4 years time it may also prove difficult to find sufficient qualified firms to undertake the improvements.
It is an enormous task to bring homes up to the mandatory standard within such a short time frame and will have a significant impact on Scotland’s rural and island communities already struggling with depopulation.
Kevin Stewart, Housing Minister in the Scottish Government said:
“We are facing a global climate emergency and for our part, the Scottish Government is doing all we can to tackle climate change.
“That is why we are supporting home owners to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat. Social landlords are already making excellent progress towards their energy efficiency target and with this standard, we will help homeowners to do the same.
“By the end of 2021, we will have allocated more than £1 billion since 2009 to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame