Energy Efficient Homes will Boost the Scottish Economy

Leading economists from University of Strathclyde and the London School of Economics and the Existing Homes Alliance have highlighted that more Government investment in energy efficiency programmes could help climate change as well and creating up to 9,000 jobs. It backs up what Elmhurst has been advocated for years, that this type of investment is ‘win win’ and it would boost economic activity as well as improve the efficiency of Scotland Homes, directly affecting real families.

Whilst in England and Wales there seems to be policy ‘black hole’ due to the repeated delays in the promised ‘Every Homes Matters’ report, which was suppose to highlight the way forward for energy efficiency strategies.

Scotland seems to be making its way in the right direction. It can rightly now suggest that 40% of Scottish homes were now either A, B or C rated; something which is good news for those families.

Recently First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced in the programme for her new Government that there would £20m available to be channelled into energy efficiency. The report welcomed this and urged the Government to “build on this good start”.

Prof Karen Turner, director of the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, said: "Our own research shows that energy efficiency improvements free up disposable income for low-income households to better heat their homes or to spend on other things.

"This helps reduce fuel poverty and drive new economic activity, delivering a long term and lasting boost to the economy on top of the infrastructure programme itself.

"With the UK economy still reeling in shock from the EU referendum, energy efficiency investment is a direct shot in the arm, delivering a relatively rapid economic stimulus."

Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "We have allocated almost £650m since 2009 and, as announced in programme for government, we will make a further half a billion pounds available over the next four years, meaning over £1bn will have been committed by 2021 to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.

"As a result of our record investment since 2009, two fifths of Scottish homes are now in the top three energy efficiency ratings - an increase of 71% since 2010."

Elmhurst very much welcome the high level commitment from Scottish Government, and hope to see the detailed delivery plans ensure that the money goes to the worst performing Scottish homes, and thereby ensuring that families live in warmer and cheaper to run homes.

Yesterday, in a motion, Alex Johnstone of the North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party welcomed the Government intention and “calls on the Scottish Government to make energy efficiency and heating homes a top priority by introducing target for all properties to achieve an EPC C rating or above by the end of the decade”. 

The fact the measuring stick is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, and that homes continue to be measured by this, gives a base layer upon which to build good policy. We also made the same comment to the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem imploring  that the major policy in the UK – ‘ECO’ doesn’t go wasting the available money on efficient homes at the expense of the worst rated properties from April 2017. Those living in E, F and G rated homes need the help. We clearly see that Scotland understand this message and we continue to work with Scottish Government in ensuring wherever possible that the funds go to the right homes.

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