Patrick Harvie reaffirms commitment to Passivhaus standard
Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, has underscored his commitment to low carbon, energy-efficient buildings at this week’s UK Passivhaus Conference in Edinburgh.
He was a keynote speaker at the conference and shared his vision for energy efficient and low carbon buildings in Scotland.
In January 2023 the Scottish Government announced plans to introduce new minimum environmental design standards for all newbuild housing to meet a ‘Scottish equivalent to the Passivhaus standard’. Mr Harvie gave an update on how the policy is developing. A cross-industry working group is currently working through the policy details, with a thorough consultation on the proposals due to begin in 2024.
Mr Harvie said: “I am very pleased that Scotland is hosting this year’s conference, reflecting the leadership shown through our intent to introduce a Scottish equivalent of the Passivhaus standard.
“Improving the energy performance of our new homes and buildings is essential to cut overall energy use and help end our reliance on fossil fuels, which exposes everyone to volatile prices.
“The Passivhaus standard encourages the design and construction of low energy buildings, which complements commitments already made in the Bute House Agreement. This is about delivering high quality, low energy and healthy buildings for people to live in that are built to the standards to which they are designed.”
Sarah Lewis, the Passivhaus Trust’s Research & Policy director, commented: “Scotland is leading the way in the UK – and the world – with its commitment to delivering comfortable, affordable and low carbon housing.
“Building on the Scottish Government’s leadership, our conference has explored the practical and policy aspects of scaling up a Passivhaus equivalent standard in Scotland, with discussions on standards, tools, certification, and expanding Passivhaus training and the supply chain.”
The conference showcased Passivhaus projects across Scotland, from Fife Council’s super-sized 23,000m2 Dunfermline Learning Campus to Midlothian Council’s ambitious social housing programme delivering 200+ Passivhaus council homes. The conference also featured Scotland’s first Passivhaus school Riverside Primary School for Perth & Kinross Council and the City of Edinburgh Council’s Passivhaus schools programme. It is estimated that there are 35 Passivhaus schools currently underway or in the pipeline in Scotland.
Ms Lewis added: “An innovative funding mechanism from the Scottish Futures Trust has encouraged the building of schools to the Passivhaus standard in Scotland.
“Projects receiving funding need to meet a very clear energy target and funding may be reduced based on any performance gap post-completion.
“The Passivhaus standard effectively eliminates the performance gap, de-risking the securing of funding. It has been impressive how swiftly the industry, supply chain and clients have adjusted to delivering to the Passivhaus standard in the education sector.”