A coalition of fuel poverty charities, health professionals and construction sector trade bodies has called on the Scottish Government to upgrade the insulation and energy-efficiency ratings of 127,000 homes a year for 10 years.
The Existing Homes Alliance Scotland says that making energy-efficiency a national infrastructure project would ensure that there will be no households in Scotland living in draughty, hard-to-heat homes by 2025.
A spokesman for the alliance said: “With 39% of Scottish households living in fuel poverty, it is clear that the government’s statutory target to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016 will not be achieved.
“Raising all homes to a high energy performance standard would help lift households out of fuel poverty and it would reduce fuel costs by over £400 pa for households.”
The overall cost of the programme would be in the order of £10.7bn over 10 years, of which £4.5bn would be made up of public investment. This investment would represent a benefit cost ratio of over 2:1 – which compares favourably in terms of value for money with other infrastructure projects.
The overall goal would be for all housing to reach a high energy performance standard – the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C – or above by 2025.
The alliance members include Energy Action Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust, the Scottish Energy Installers Association, Shelter Scotland, the STUC and the UK Green Building Council.
Social Justice Minister Alex Neil said in reply that more than a third of all Scottish homes are now EPC band C or better – an increase of 56% since 2010, and proportionately 60% more homes than in England – and added:
“Tackling fuel poverty and climate change are key priorities for the Scottish Government, which is why, since 2009, we have invested over half a billion pounds in fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures, and this year we have allocated a record budget of £119 million.
“The breadth of support shown in the Joint Statement is a great endorsement of the decision by Scottish Ministers in June to designate energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority. We will develop a programme to deliver this over the next two years, including the planned devolution of new powers under the Scotland Bill, and look forward to working with the Existing Homes Alliance, its members and other stakeholders.
“While the details of the programme are still to be developed, it will provide support for buildings across all of Scotland and coordinate actions on both energy efficiency and heat for homes, commercial and public buildings.”