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Making Your Home Even Draughtier

Islanders may find this hard to take in but building standards applied across the UK would make homes in areas with the highest rates of fuel poverty even draughtier.

PAS 2030 is a Publicly Available Specification for the installation of energy efficiency measures in existing buildings. PAS standards are reviewed and updated every two years.

Asked about the effect the introduction of holes drilled into walls in order to put in fixed vents by  Alasdair Allan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, SNP MSP, way back in January, Patrick Harvie Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings in the Scottish Government said:

“The British Standards Institution (BSI) standards relate to the overall approach to retrofit and general processes to be followed by installers in installing energy efficiency measures. These standards are intended to be informed by agreed best practice, as they are applied to different construction types and local conditions. The Scottish Government is working with the BSI to set up a Scottish specific working group to feed into the standards to ensure the unique circumstances in Scotland are reflected in the standards e.g. building types and geography.”

The Hebrides News reported on 3rd of March that “14 people employed by Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) are being made redundant as its insulation department closes down. ” A further 20 jobs are also at risk.

The report quotes Alasdair Allan:

“TIG’s decision to cease their administration of government funded insulation projects is not one which will have been taken lightly, and reflects the seriousness of the problem at hand.

“In one of the areas worst affected by fuel poverty in the whole of Europe, it is imperative that funded energy efficiency measures are continued, and that the necessary changes are made to be able to allow this.

“Against the backdrop of the energy bills crisis, which will hit rural areas hardest, it does not make sense to continue to apply unsuitable ventilation standards which could make homes draughtier leading to even higher heating costs.

“I have today tabled another written Parliamentary question about this matter and have asked to meet ministers again to press for solutions.”

The Scottish Government has an Energy and Climate Change Directorate headed by Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy and Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise. It declares:

“Our vision is that by 2040, our homes and buildings are warmer, greener and more efficient.”

All residential properties in Scotland will be required to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least EPC C by 2040.

In December last year the Scottish Government published yet another new strategy to address fuel poverty. Over the next five years it aims to invest “£465 million to support those in fuel poverty in the heat transition and to remove poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty.”

The document includes comments from people living in fuel poverty on coping strategies they have adopted in order to keep tolerably warm in their own homes including this:

” Further measures participants took to stay warm included:

  • taping card over vents to keep out draughts
  • lining windows and doors with towels to keep out draughts”

This is how farcical this situation.

So as Alasdair Allan tables yet another question on behalf of his constituents and whilst Patrick Harvie waits for a Scottish specific working group to be set up, people are losing their jobs and confusion is affecting home insulation schemes across island communities.

Fiona Grahame

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