Will the Scots hold their nerve?

Scottish zero carbon consultation

English and Welsh Energy proposals have been severely curtailed. What will Scotland do in their next steps towards Zero Carbon?

The Scottish Part 6 consultation back in April 2013, looked at the next step in building standards for 2014 and beyond. The consultation considered that a change in targets which only delivered a small percentage improvement was not an option which should be considered; The scale of change and improvement should be significant enough to justify such work…

The changes proposed in the consultation were intended to deliver a 21% reduction in emissions on 2010 standards  for new homes  and a 43% emissions saving (on 2010 standards) for new non-domestic buildings. The general preference for new dwellings, was for an emissions target which can be achieved primarily through a fabric and service approach without over-reliance on low carbon equipment. To this end, there was a view that Fabric Energy Efficiency would not form part of the proposals. Instead, a fabric led approach should be promoted through the current approach of robust backstops within guidance.

The following table is based on some initial SAP modelling we undertook for a real detached dwelling 104.7m² total floor area. With a target set by the notional package 1 from Part 6 2013 consultation document for Gas options (and Package 4 for the electrically heated one). The solutions below represent what might be required for the modelled dwelling if the consulted upon standards were to come into force.

Scottish consultation 2013 compliance for a real detached house:


Gas Package with PV

Gas Package with Solar Hot Water

Gas Package – Fabric + MVHR

Electric Package –Heat Pump
















Windows & Doors

1.30 (good double)

1.20 (best double)

0.70 (triple)


Air tightness





Other Key stuff:

1.05 Peak kW PV.

Waste Water HR.

Natural Vent.


Solar Hot Water.


Waste Water HR.

Improved bridging Details.


Waste Water HR.

Improved bridging Details.

Default thermal bridging.


Natural Vent.

Good Heat Pump

Longer term, the Scottish Executive (and rest of UK Government) aim to decarbonise the electricity grid, which means that eventually, the preference would be for electric heating systems – such as high performance heat pumps. Currently however, electric heating is still typically more expensive and carbon emissions from producing electricity are a lot higher.

The Scottish consultation proposals went some way beyond the English ones, which themselves have now been scaled back in aspiration. The Welsh bold proposals have also been severely curtailed from their initial lofty aims; So will the Scottish standards aspirations be similarly pruned when they announce the next step in their route to zero carbon?

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Jon Ducker is a qualified energy assessor working for Kingspan Insulation Ltd. He has an extensive knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy systems and sustainability in buildings with an expert knowledge of the relevant sections of buildings regulations and standards and their interactions with SAP. He provides authoritative advice regarding energy assessments for a wide range of public and private sector clients.

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