Media Release: Call made for rapid upgrade of Scotland’s worst energy-rated homes

STARTING with 150,000 of Scotland’s most poorly-insulated homes, a rapid increase in the pace and scale of improving the energy efficiency of our homes will be needed if we are to meet our climate change targets, protect public health and reduce fuel poverty, WWF Scotland said today (Mon 6 June).

Says a spokesperson: “The call follows the publication of a new report [1] by WWF Scotland which says that, in order to kick-start a much-needed improvement in the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock, by 2015 all homes sold or rented must meet the band ‘E’ rating on the Energy Performance Certificate scale (A-G).

“The average cost of achieving this is £2,600, with these costs being paid back within four years due to fuel savings. Nearly 40 per cent of these homes could be improved for less than £1,000. Over time, the standard would escalate to ensure we meet our climate change and fuel poverty targets.

“However, to make sure failing homes are brought up to an adequate standard, WWF Scotland says the Scottish Government must introduce regulation, as well as providing meaningful financial support for those able to pay, alongside grants for those who need them.

“These recommendations are supported by other organisations including the Royal College of Nursing, Age Scotland, the Scottish Building Federation, Energy Action Scotland and Shelter Scotland.

“In a related report [2], also published today, analysis suggests that bringing all homes to a ‘D’ rating would support nearly 10,000 jobs and generate £613 million gross value added to the economy. Signifcant inroads would also be made in lifting people out of fuel poverty.”

Elizabeth Leighton, senior policy officer at WWF Scotland, said:

“Our homes account for a quarter of Scotland’s climate emissions. Many of our poorest families live in homes with little or no insulation, resulting in them having to pay high energy bills and deal with the illness associated with the cold.

“In order to lift these households out of fuel poverty and reduce the emissions caused by poor insulation, regulation is vital as we can’t rely on voluntary action.

“The Scottish Government’s own report [3] acknowledges the need for regulation to back up current advice and support and looks to introduce this by 2015.

“We are therefore calling on the Scottish Government to establish a clear road map to implementing regulations by 2015, matched with the necessary financial packages.

“Such a road map will encourage more people to take up support and incentives now, maximising opportunites for green jobs, reducing fuel pverty and meeting our climate change targets.

“For every £1 spent on keeping our houses warm, the NHS can save 42 pence on health costs. This is a win-win for the environment and the public purse.”

Royal College of Nursing Scotland director, Theresa Fyffe, said:

“Cold, poorly-insulated homes are bad for peoples’ health and bad for the planet too. Tackling climate change by improving Scotland’s housing will deliver benefits for peoples’ health and savings to our health budgets.

“The RCN is a signatory of the Climate and Health Council’s declaration to take action on climate change. We are therefore happy to support WWF’s initiative to improve the minimum standard of existing homes in Scotland.”

Greg McCracken, policy officer at Age Scotland, said:

“Age Scotland supports WWF’s campaign to upgrade the least efficient homes. Whilst having a positive effect on carbon emissions, this policy would also have a clear benefit for Scotland’s older people, many of whom live in poorly insulated homes which are expensive to heat.

“At a time of rising household bills, initiatives such as this could rescue some of our most vulnerable citizens from fuel poverty and we would encourage the Scottish Government to take forward these recommendations.”

Michael Levack, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation (SBF), said:

“One of ten priorities set out in the SBF’s recent Scottish election manifesto was to launch a comprehensive retrofit programme to green the built environment.

“This report adds further weight to our call for action. As well as being an environmental imperative, a major retrofit programme would support thousands of construction jobs and help to keep hundreds of Scottish construction apprentices in work, developing valuable green skills.”

Norman Kerr, director, Energy Action Scotland, said:

“With fuel poverty continuing to grow it is important that we improve the energy efficiency of our homes and ensure that they meet our future needs. Increasing the minimum standard for the existing stock has multiple benefits, reduced fuel bills, warmer healthier homes and reduces our carbon emissions.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity, said:

“Scotland now has more than one third of its households – 770,000 – living in fuel poverty. So, any initiatives which help tackle the problem are to be welcomed.

“The Scottish Government can make a difference by investing in new energy-efficient social housing and raising the standard of existing housing stock. This would make economic and social sense.”


Notes to Editors

[1] Maximising the Minimum: The needs for minimum energy performance standards in private housing report

The City of Berkley in California has the longest experience of regulating for minimum energy standards with regulations first introduced in 1982. Since 2000 it is estimated CO2 reductions of 5,000 tonnes have been made, while residental natural gas usage has declined by 14 per cent.

[2] Raising the Standard: an analysis of costs and carbon savings from tackling the least energy efficient homes in Scotland

[3] The Scottish Government report on Regulation of Energy Efficiency in Housing, sets out its current thinking on the use of regulation to improve energy efficiency in private housing – using it to require action where voluntary approaches have not worked.

It is thought regulation would apply at point of sale and rental, and not be introduced until 2015.

MEDIA RELEASE posted by WWF Scotland. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Mandy Carter
Phone: 01350 728200