A new energy efficiency standard that is expected to save tenants an average of £210 a year has been launched by Scotland’s housing minister, Margaret Burgess.
The energy efficiency standard for social housing (EESSH), aims to improve the quality of social housing in Scotland, cut fuel costs for tenants and in turn, reduce fuel poverty, energy consumption and carbon emissions by increasing energy efficiency in low income areas.
Raising levels from the current Scottish Housing Quality Scheme to the new energy efficiency standard is anticipated to save around £130 million in fuel costs in Scotland each year and will make a significant impact on energy bills for tenants in the properties affected, with an average saving of £210 per household, per year. The scheme will also make a large contribution to the fight against greenhouse gas emissions outlined in Scotland’s 2009 Climate Change Act, with an estimated reduction of 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
Ms Burgess said: “Scotland is outperforming the UK in the delivery of home energy efficiency measures that save tenants money, and the introduction of this standard will help enhance our performance for many of the poorest households in Scotland.
“Nonetheless, rising energy prices remain a huge concern for this government, and we will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three-year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency.”
Energy Efficiency Measures Work Best in Scotland
The energy efficiency standard marks the latest in a number of green initiatives that have put Scotland at the forefront of energy efficiency in the UK. Figures released last week from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed that a higher proportion of houses in Scotland benefitted from having new boilers or insulation fitted than in the rest of the UK last year, with 24.5 energy saving measures installed per 1,000 homes in Scotland as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme, compared to 20.5 measures per 1,000 homes in the rest of the UK.
With support from the Scottish government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland initiative, a total of 58,058 energy saving measures were installed in Scottish homes in 2013, with further funding to be used by local councils to pay for improvements to energy efficiency in domestic properties over the coming year.
Unfortunately, despite great success, the future of Scotland’s green schemes are still uncertain. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations have voiced fears that the ECO scheme will be relaxed, while a new clause in the latest iteration of the energy efficiency standard, allowing landlords to opt out of the ‘mandatory’ scheme if they have insufficient funding to make the necessary changes to their properties, has been labelled a ‘get out of jail free card’ by Energy Action Scotland director, Norman Kerr.
However, policy manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, David Stewart, has stated that these issues can be solved with the correct funding options.
Mr Stewart said: “The big issue now is making sure that there is funding available to ensure the standards can be met – we have seen from the proposed changes to the UK government’s energy company obligation that sourcing funding for energy efficiency can be a challenge.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government on this issue, and looking at drawing in other sources of funding, such as European Union grants.”
For more information about Margaret Burgess’ announcement regarding the EESSH and the success of the ECO:
Margaret Burgess’ Website: http://margaretburgessmsp.org/eessh-expected-to-save-social-housing-tenants-average-of-210-each-year/
Scotland’s official Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing page: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/sustainable/standard
The Green Building Press details the success of the ECO in Scotland: http://www.greenbuildingpress.co.uk/article.php?category_id=1&article_id=1724