“A step change in building energy efficiency is needed, both for new and existing buildings,” Duncan McLaren, Friends of the Earth Scotland Chief Executive, said in response to a report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering (20 January).

Speaking on Realising Scotland’s Clean Energy Potential at Heriot Watt University today, Duncan McLaren continued: “That’s why we are calling for at least £100m a year from the Scottish Government for area-based energy efficiency schemes, and for a regulatory approach obliging owners of privately rented properties to meet tougher energy efficiency standards.

“While we agree with Professor King that energy efficiency is the priority rather than micro-renewables, policies to encourage or even require use of appropriate micro-renewables in both the new and retrofit markets have a role to play.

“Although some micro-turbines are badly sited, in appropriate parts of Scotland microturbines can be highly efficient, repaying their carbon costs in just a few months.”

“Yet many people are still put off due to complexity and costs of the planning system. The Scottish Government should promote grant permitted development rights for households that want to install micro-wind turbines and air source heat pumps.

ENDS

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Notes to editors

This comment is a response to the report Engineering a Low Carbon Built Environment, published by Royal Academy of Engineering, co-authored by Doug King, Professor of Building Engineering at the University of Bath.

At the Heriot Watt lecture, Duncan McLaren will summarise research undertaken for Friends of the Earth Scotland by Garrad Hassan and published as ‘The Power of Scotland Renewed’, which sets out a route to complete decarbonisation of Scottish electricity generation before 2030. He will elaborate on some of the practical implications for electricity transmission, energy saving, micro-renewables, and coal power, and suggest ways in which heat and transport energy use can also be decarbonised, to meet pressing Scottish and international climate change policy objectives. www.foe-scotland.org.uk/powerofscotlandrenewed

Micro-wind turbines in urban environments: an assessment, BRE Trust report FB17, ISBN 978-1-84806-021-0 www.bre.co.uk/newsdetails.jsp?id=456

Friends of the Earth Scotland is the country’s leading independent environmental campaigning organisation, and is the only organisation in Scotland that is working for environmental justice, campaigning for the planet and its people. www.foe-scotland.org.uk