‘More ambitious approach’ needed to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty
In its response to government consultations on energy efficiency, CIH Scotland has welcomed consideration of higher standards for homes in the social rented sector but raised concerns about meeting the cost of improvements without additional funding from the Scottish Government.
In addition, the Institute does not believe there can be justification for differential standards across the sector – with the government proposing a target for private rented homes to reach EPC C by 2030 and for home owners to meet EPC C by 2040.
CIH Scotland notes that the social rented sector has been at the forefront of energy improvements with all homes due to meet the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) by 2020 and new standards for EESSH2 already under consultation.
Setting a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC C for all homes by 2030 will improve the fabric of homes, help to reduce fuel bills and tackle fuel poverty, and ensure that all tenants and homeowners benefit from better living conditions.
Annie Mauger, director of CIH Scotland, said: “Every person living in Scotland should have the right to a home that is warm and dry regardless of tenure type. We want to see positive action from the Scottish Government to support improvements in energy efficiency through the introduction of regulation backed up by advice, information and financial support. Improving all homes, irrespective of tenure, will improve people’s quality of life and help to reduce fuel poverty.
“At the same time, we recognise that some improvements can be expensive and there must be a balance between the money spent on improvements and the money saved in energy bills. What we do not want to see is a situation where some of the poorest households pay for improvements through increased rents without noticeable savings on their energy bills.”
Campaign group WWF Scotland has also called for more investment in warmer homes after it published an opinion poll in which 72% of Scots backed investment in projects to reduce emissions.
|Strongly agree||Agree||Neither Agree nor Disagree||Disagree||Strongly Disagree|
|I think the Scottish Government should invest in projects that reduce emissions, like public transport and affordable heat networks, to create a low carbon Scotland||25%
|Strongly Agree & Agree total = 72%||Disagree & Strongly Disagree total = 5%|
*numbers do not add up to 100% due to rounding of individual figures
According to the survey, 72% of the Scottish public think the Scottish Government should “invest in projects that reduce emissions, like public transport and affordable heat networks, to create a low carbon Scotland”.
The opinion polling data follows the recent publication of a report by the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission which showed that consumers can have low carbon energy at no extra cost by 2050.
Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic to see that the majority of the Scottish public support greater investment in green technologies that will reduce our emissions, such as public transport and making our homes warmer and healthier. We know these can be delivered affordably and with huge knock-on benefits for citizens.
“These results are just the latest example of why MSPs from across the political spectrum should support stretching targets in the new Climate Change Bill which would eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050. Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits from the clean energy transition.”