Panel to boost energy efficiency in Scottish homes

An expert panel has been set up to recommend measures to make houses and buildings in Scotland more energy efficient, it was announced this week.

Stewart Stevenson, Scotland’s minister for transport, infrastructure and climate change, wants new homes to meet the same strict energy standards as in Scandinavia bringing down energy use and energy bills.

He said: “Scotland already leads the UK in both the energy standards set by our building regulations and the planning policy that asks for low and zero carbon equipment in new developments.

“But there is more that can be done. Events around the world this summer have further raised our awareness of the challenge of climate change.

“We are intent on developing a range of strategies to tackle climate change, including measures that will increase the energy efficiency of buildings and encourage more local energy production.”

The panel, announced on Monday (August 20), will include designers, developers, contractors, assessors and researchers.

It will feature experts from Norway, Denmark and Austria experienced in the strict energy standards of their home countries.

Paul Stollard, chief executive of the Scottish Building Standards Agency, responsible for writing Scottish building regulations, said: “I am very excited at the prospect of working with such a distinguished group and anticipate a very productive process of exchanging ideas and developing strategies”.

Environmental and energy conservation groups welcomed the panel, which will draw up recommendations for changes to building regulations at a meeting in Edinburgh next month.

Chief executive Duncan McLaren, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “We welcome this new panel, which we trust will focus not just on the one percent of buildings which are newly built each year, but on improving the energy standards of all Scotland’s buildings.

“In Scandinavia, warm, dry homes that are affordable to heat are the norm – it’s not a question of whether we can achieve the same energy efficiency levels in Scotland, but how quickly the step-change can be achieved.”

David Gibbs

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