Over the next period to 2040 we will transform Scotland’s buildings to be warmer, greener and more efficient. Doing so will have substantial economic, social and health benefits, and this Route Map sets out how the Energy Efficient Scotland Programme will achieve that ambition.
Households, businesses and public services across Scotland spend around £2.5 billion every year on heating and cooling the buildings we use each day. This represents the largest part of Scotland’s energy use (over 50%) and is therefore crucial to our Scottish Energy Strategy  and Climate Change Plan  .
However, we know that in reality, many of our buildings are inefficient and hard to heat which increases energy bills and wastes money. The result therefore is high energy costs which can be a challenge for many households. This leads to fuel poverty, puts pressure on household finances, and can have adverse effects on people’s health.
Similarly, for many of our businesses and public services, energy inefficiency and high energy bills adds unnecessary financial burdens and has the potential to hold back economic growth.
Our latest statistics show that buildings account for 19.7% of total greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve our climate change ambitions, providing a safe clean environment for future generations, by 2050 we must ensure our buildings use as little energy as possible and what energy they do use is from low carbon sources.
That is why energy efficiency has been a consistent priority for the Scottish Government– by the end of 2021 we will have allocated over £1 billion since 2009 to tackle fuel poverty and make our homes more energy efficient. In addition we have invested over £85 million since 2007 in loans supporting Scottish households, businesses and organisations finance the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable measures and the development of district heating schemes, supporting over 5,200 applicants. We have invested to stimulate the market for new technologies and to create the economic and social conditions to support low-carbon heating.
Given the scale of our ambition to eradicate fuel poverty, mitigate climate change, and grow the Scottish economy in an inclusive way, energy efficiency was designated as a national Infrastructure priority by Scottish Ministers. We did this because it has many benefits - benefits for people, businesses and society as a whole. It puts money in people’s pockets, delivers savings to the public sector to reinvest in frontline services, and improves the competitiveness of our businesses. Investing in energy efficiency will boost growth, with research showing a 10% improvement in the energy efficiency of all UK households leads to a sustained GDP expansion of around 0.16%.
We are determined to remove poor energy efficiency as driver of fuel poverty and to meet our climate change targets – making homes easier to heat for our most vulnerable households, and transforming our buildings to be warmer, greener and more efficient. This Route Map shows how we will do that.
It proposes clear long term energy efficiency standards that buildings will need to achieve by 2040. It sets out the pathways that different building sectors will take between now and then to achieve or exceed that standard.
Getting there will require a range of measures – some voluntary and some compulsory – including bringing forward legislation in Parliament if required.
This Government will always support our most vulnerable people – that is why we will continue to focus our funding on those experiencing fuel poverty. This is the purpose of our draft Fuel Poverty Strategy and the Fuel Poverty (Scotland) Bill – to set statutory target to eradicate fuel poverty. And why we will continue to prioritise the improvement of the homes of fuel poor households within the Energy Efficient Scotland programme.
We recognise that we need to make a compelling case for change. We are not advocating that people spend money unwisely – we have already demonstrated the potential economic, social and health benefits of energy efficiency measures. The spend-to-save principle of investing in energy efficiency is well-proven, and that is the approach we will continue to take. We believe that measures installed should be both technically feasible and cost effective, and should more than pay back in terms of energy savings, improved comfort levels, and wider benefits to health and the environment.
We want to support people to take action to meet the long term energy efficiency standards. That is why in this Route Map we are committing to ensuring there is an offer from Government in return for action. We will continue to offer national advice and financial support. In addition we are working closely with our local government partners to develop significantly expanded regional programmes to provide local flexibility and support.
We will ensure that support to help people and businesses meet the long term standards is effective, high quality and good value for money. We want to prevent people from being taken advantage of by cold callers, unscrupulous sham providers or sub-standard workmanship – which we are all too aware, has happened in the past.
We also want to help Scottish businesses grasp the economic opportunity that setting this ambitious goal creates. By setting long-term standards and a clear timetable for achieving them, we can provide a measure of certainty to businesses in Scotland. Certainty that will allow them to invest in the people, skills and equipment necessary to realise our ambition, and to reduce the cost of investment through economies of scale.
Energy Efficient Scotland is a very ambitious programme, with challenging targets. But we know that it can deliver significant economic, social, environmental and health benefits and create a fairer greener Scotland. This Route Map sets out a robust, credible and evidence-based pathway to realising these benefits, and we are proud to be publishing it today.
Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Housing and Local Government
Paul Wheelhouse MSP
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy