The Scottish Government has published plans to transform Scotland’s homes and heating systems to ensure all buildings are zero emissions by 2045. The plan “paves the way for warmer, healthier homes and will help us meet climate change targets” according to the Existing Homes Alliance.
EHA Chair, Lori McElroy said “This is about tackling the climate emergency. Heating accounts for around 50% of Scotland’s energy use  and to cut greenhouse gas emissions we know must move away from fossil fuel to low or zero carbon heating systems.
We also need to reduce how much energy we use to heat our homes by making them as energy efficient as possible. Investing in improving the fabric of our homes not only helps us to reduce emissions, but it can also protect us from the kind of sudden energy price rises we’ve seen recently.”
In its final report in June 2021 , the Climate Assembly said that “To tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way, Scotland needs to retrofit the majority of existing homes to be net zero by 2030, while establishing Scotland as a leader in retrofit technology, innovation and installation practice.”
The Heat in Buildings Strategy  aims to improve 1 million homes across Scotland by 2030 through a combination of new regulations and support for people including those at risk of fuel poverty.
Lori McElroy added “Our transition to net zero must be fair and everyone should have the right to a warm, low carbon home. We are particularly pleased to see the Scottish Government taking on board the recommendations of the Just Transition Commission  and putting such a strong focus on making sure no-one is left behind.
But we need to make it easy for everyone to be part of the transition and comply with the standards of the future and that’s going to mean scaling up advice and support services and increasing funding for Scotland’s excellent national energy and fuel poverty programmes.”
The EHA Chair said “With this strategy the Scottish Government is setting out a clear pathway, but now needs to move quickly to delivery. We have a really strong base to build from and with the right package of policies and investment there is a real opportunity for us to create thousands of green jobs that not only help us cut greenhouse gas emissions but also tackle poverty and inequality.”
|1.||The Existing Homes Alliance
The Existing Homes Alliance is a coalition of housing, environmental, fuel poverty, consumer and industry organisations that believes Scotland’s existing homes must be transformed to help tackle fuel poverty and climate change.
|2.||Scottish Energy Strategy, Scottish Government, December 2017 (p 18/19)|
|3.||The Climate Assembly
Scotland’s Climate Assembly is Scotland’s first citizens’ assembly focused on climate change. Grounded in Scotland’s Climate Change Act (2019), the Assembly brought together over 100 ordinary citizens from across Scotland to consider tackling the climate emergency.
Their final report, published in June 2021, stated that Scotland needs to retrofit the majority of existing homes to be net zero by 2030 and made the following recommendations:
– Workforce Development and Retraining: Invest in workforce development and retraining to deliver retrofitting and construction work to high standards and ensure we have the ability to implement an ambitious retrofit plan across Scotland.
– Implement Fuel Poverty Strategy by 2030: Ensure the Fuel Poverty Strategy, as required by the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act (2019) but currently still in its 2018 draft form, is implemented immediately and is effective by 2030 not 2040.
– Retrofit All Existing Homes by 2030: Develop an ambitious plan across Scotland to enable the retrofitting of all existing homes by 2030 to be net zero.
– Robust Retrofit Quality Standards: Ensure immediate development of robust quality standards for assessing what needs to be done to retrofit existing homes to become net zero.
– Children’s Parliament: Give money and help to people who struggle to heat their homes.
– Decarbonise Heating by 2030: Scotland should lead the way in reducing to net zero the carbon emissions caused by domestic and non-domestic heating systems, by investing in the exploration and early adoption of alternative fuel sources for buildings, and where possible decarbonise the gas grid and heating systems by 2030.
– Grants to Retrofit Homes: Make a grant available to ALL homeowners in Scotland by 2025 to bring their houses to zero emissions standards by 2030, starting by prioritising houses in fuel poverty.
|4.||Heat in Buildings Strategy
The Scottish Government published a Heat in Buildings Strategy on 7 October 2021.
|5.||Just Transition Commission
The Just Transition Commission started work in early 2019, with a remit to provide practical and affordable recommendations to Scottish Ministers on how to achieve a just transition to net zero.
Thier final report was published in March 2021.
|6.||Existing Homes Alliance response to Draft Heat in Buildings Strategy
The Existing Homes Alliance response to the consultation called for the Scottish Government to:
– Accelerate timescales for regulation so homeowners and business know what needs to be done and by when;
– Increase investment to leverage private finance, deliver a just transition and ensure costs are met in full for people in fuel poverty;
– Expand advice and support services so homeowners, private landlords and tenants can access the help they need on the journey to zero emissions homes;
– Work with industry to develop robust consumer protection to ensure high quality work, consumer confidence and redress when things go wrong.