Desperate need to tackle Scotland’s drafty homes

Scotland energy efficiency
CIOB Scotland calls for swift and widespread energy efficiency retrofit of homes

Urgent action is needed to boost retrofitting energy efficiency measures for homes in Scotland, says the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

The call comes as a new CIOB survey finds two in five Scottish residents cannot afford energy upgrades. More than a third had not heard of government support schemes.

The CIOB is calling for the Scottish government to act swiftly and engage with the industry and consumers to make urgent upgrades to reduce energy bills and reach net-zero targets.

CIOB in Scotland, policy and public affairs officer, Jocelyne Fleming said: “We must improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s drafty homes at a greater pace and scale than we’ve seen to date to reach our climate change objectives, reduce fuel poverty and ensure everyone in Scotland has a warm, safe, home that is affordable to heat.”

Some 2,000 Scottish residents took part in the CIOB survey. They were also asked about government incentive schemes including Warmer Homes Scotland, Home Energy Scotland Grant and Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) Equity Loans.

More than a third (39%) had not heard of any of these schemes. Awareness was lowest in those aged over 55.

Badly publicised schemes

Fleming added: “Funding schemes which are short-lived and not well promoted simply aren’t achieving results when it comes to making Scotland’s homes more energy efficient and in turn lowering bills.

“We need government to develop a clear strategy on retrofit which addresses how it can be delivered on the scale and at the pace needed.

“This delivery plan needs to consider the resources necessary to get there, such as the recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce.

“As we’ve seen from the data, the success of government energy efficiency programming is integral to spurring on widescale retrofit. As such, government must ensure that these programmes are well-promoted and accessible to residents”

Survey findings

Lack of affordability was cited by 40% as a barrier to implementing energy efficiency improvements, while for 20% it was the disruption of having work done.

Not owning their home was cited by 23%, and lack of knowledge on how to improve energy efficiency by 19%.

Citizens Advice Scotland and retrofit experts said the findings matched their own evidence and experiences with consumers.

Popular incentives to reftrofit identified by those surveyed included: reducing energy bills (62%); government grants (42%); free reliable guidance (27%); and improving the energy rating of their home (24%).

Survey participants said the top sources for energy efficiency improvement information was an online search, and the government’s website.

CIOB pointed out that the Scottish minister for net-zero buildings, active travel and tenant’s rights has already written to the local government, housing and planning committee in 2022 urging action.

The minister wrote the pace of retrofit must “significantly increase” to meet the target to reduce emissions from heat in buildings by 68% in the decade to 2030, and that this will be an important contribution to achieving the 2030 interim emissions reduction target.

CIOB said it supports this ambition, but underlined the need for “immediate action”.

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