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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-05249
Asked by: Willie Rennie, North East Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 20 December 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the climate emergency, and in regard to energy saving and efficiency improvements delivered through its national fuel poverty scheme and other related schemes, what action it has taken to ensure that improvements that are made to homes prioritise environmentally-friendly technologies and heating systems.

Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 17 January 2022


Answer

The Heat in Buildings Strategy, published October 2021, outlined an ambitious policy package to significantly accelerate the decarbonisation of Scotland’s homes and buildings. It highlighted tried and tested technologies that can be deployed today, highlighting as strategic priorities energy efficiency, heat pumps in off-gas buildings and some on-gas settings, and heat networks in suitable areas. Over the longer term, additional technologies such as hydrogen may become available.

We continue to support people converting their heating systems to zero emissions ones, targeting that help at those least able to pay. Our delivery schemes which target households in fuel poverty already take a “zero emissions heat first” approach.

Scottish Government-funded domestic energy efficiency schemes recommend low-carbon measures first to increase the energy efficiency of the property and decrease carbon emissions. On 6 September 2021, we ended public subsidy for oil and LPG boilers, the most polluting technologies, in favour of offering zero emissions alternatives.

Our national fuel poverty scheme, Warmer Homes Scotland, designed to help those living in, or at risk of, fuel poverty through installing insulation and heating measures to individual homes recommends low-carbon measures first, alongside a package of insulation measures. In addition, since April 2021, our Area Based Schemes have included additional funding to provide low carbon and micro-generation measures as part of a whole house approach.

Home Energy Scotland Loans are also available to homeowners who live in the property they own and to self-builders. Loans for both energy efficiency measures and renewables measures are available with up to 40% and 75% cashback grants respectively.

We also continue to fund Home Energy Scotland to provide free and impartial advice on how to reduce bills and make homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

The Heat in Buildings Strategy confirms our intention to introduce – subject to consultation – regulations from 2023-2025 requiring Scotland’s homes and other buildings to meet EPC Band C equivalent by 2033, where that is technically feasible and cost effective. We have set out proposals for regulations to come into effect during major refurbishment, change of tenancy and point of sale and are currently working on developing the details of those trigger points.

We have also set out in our Heat in Buildings Strategy plans to reform Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) so they can effectively be used as a basis for regulation and drive and prioritise the energy efficiency and zero-emissions heating systems needed to reach net zero.

We will consult on proposals for regulations, trigger points and EPC reform later this year.