Scotland is leaving other countries in its wake as it launches a new energy efficiency standard which could save property owners and tenants an average of £210 a year.
The Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) has been set up with the purpose of reducing energy consumption and fuel poverty among Scottish householders. The Scottish Government has revealed that this move could save the country an estimated £130m in fuel costs every year.
The Housing Minister of Scotland, Margaret Burgess, anticipates that this move will help improve the finances of Scottish citizens and reduce the country’s carbon emissions.
“Achieving the new Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing is expected to save social housing tenants £210 annually on average, helping to reduce the impact of rising energy prices.
“In addition to helping to reduce fuel poverty, the EESSH will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute towards ambitious climate change targets.
“Scotland is outperforming the UK in the delivery of home energy efficiency measures that save tenants money, and the introduction of this standard will help enhance our performance for many of the poorest households in Scotland.
“Nonetheless, rising energy prices remain a huge concern for this government, and we will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency.
“While we have managed to help thousands of households in Scotland to have warmer, more energy efficient homes, with independence we would be able to change the way energy efficiency is funded to help even more people.”
David Stewart, policy manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, believes that this scheme has huge potential for the third of Scots who are currently living in fuel poverty.
“It is vitally important that tenants have warm and energy efficient housing. Investing in energy efficiency measures can prevent later spending in areas such as health. People who live in cold, poorly insulated housing can experience physical and mental ill-health and there is even evidence to show that it can affect children’s educational attainment.
“Our main concern is the cost that members will incur through paying for the necessary improvements to meet the standards – our members are already facing significant financial challenges such as the effects of the UK Government’s welfare reforms on their incomes. The proposed changes to the Energy Company Obligation – which would see the UK Government relaxing the commitment that at present ensures companies deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic energy users – could have serious implications for the funding of EESSH.
“We are therefore calling on the Scottish Government to look at drawing in other sources of funding, such as European Union grants. This will help our members to meet their obligations and reduce the amount of tenants living in fuel poverty.”
The scheme will see Scottish social landlords utilise UK-wide schemes such as ECO to source sufficient funding.