Scotland builds on energy efficiency

7th October 2013


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IEMA

New buildings in Scotland are to be more energy efficient when changes to the building standards come into effect in 2015, the Scottish government has announced

The revisions will mean that from October 2015 new homes will emit 21% less carbon than those built in line with the 2010 building standards, while emissions from non-domestic buildings are set to fall 43%.

The announcement follows recommendations by the Sullivan panel, which first reported in 2007 and was reconvened earlier this year to consider its proposals in light of the economic downturn.

The original report recommended the staged introduction of stricter energy performance standards in 2010 and 2013, with the aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2016–17. The 2010 standard aimed to reduce carbon emissions from new buildings by a further 30% on the 2007 standards.

Pushing back the introduction of the new standards from 2013 to 2015 will give developers plenty of time to prepare for the changes, said Scotland’s planning minister Derek Mackay: “I’m now giving industry the certainty they asked for and importantly, an extra two-year preparatory period, a total of five years without change.”

Notification of the changes to Scottish building standards came as a global survey of property companies reveals that Europe is lagging the rest of the world in reducing the amount of energy consumed in buildings.

The 2013 global real estate sustainability benchmark (GRESB), which polled 543 property companies and funds, reports an overall 4.8% reduction in energy consumption from buildings over the 2011-12 reporting period. At the same time, greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions fell by 2.5%. The reductions were much less in Europe, however, with energy consumption and emissions falling by just 0.7% and 0.2% respectively.

According to the survey, the biggest reductions were in the US, where energy consumption was down 6.6% and emissions fell 4.8%.

The GRESB also found that risk management strategies related to sustainability are widespread in the property sector. It reports that all participants now perform sustainability risk assessments, up from 60% in 2012. Also, the number of companies and funds disclosing information on sustainability performance has increased by nearly one- quarter compared with last year.

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