Cairngorms in the Scotland

Scottish ministers’ recent scrapping of Scotland’s target to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 could have an impact on housing, warns the Passivhaus Trust.

The Scottish Passivhaus Equivalent Policy is a commitment by Scottish Government to make subordinate legislation to introduce a minimum standard for environmental design for all new housing, to create a national Scottish equivalent to the Passivhaus standard.

But in light of the recent scrapping of wider carbon targets, the Passivhaus Trust is calling on the Scottish Government to stick to its commitment for greener new build housing.

It states that the Scottish Passivhaus Equivalent Policy will cut heating demand in new homes by 79%, but the policy is under pressure from mainstream house builders who are calling for a ‘pause and review’ of the plans.

Homes for Scotland, a membership body to boost housing supply, is calling for the policy to be reconsidered, claiming that the housing crisis should take priority in terms of volume of delivery, rather than focusing on Passivhaus equivalence for all new homes.

Data for 2023 showed that completions across all sectors fell by 11% in 2023 in Scotland, while starts fell by 24%, figures that indicate the size of the crisis, claims Homes for Scotland.

The Passivhaus Trust maintains that improving energy efficiency standards will not adversely affect housing delivery, but will dramatically improve the quality of the homes delivered. It estimates that building to Passivhaus will create additional initial costs of between 4-8%, which will come down with economies of scale.

However, it does conceded that the new build market is operating in difficult conditions, and is consequently proposing a transition period for the new policy to come into force.


Words: Duncan Hayes

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