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Sturgeon: all new public buildings in Scotland to be zero carbon

Nicola sturgeon acn

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that all new public buildings built in Scotland will be built to net zero standard to ensure they ’meet the challenge’ of the climate emergency

The measure was one of a swathe of green initiatives unveiled by the Scottish first minister yesterday (4 September) as part of a focus on tackling climate change.

In addition to working on a new ‘Net Zero Carbon’ standard for all new public buildings, the government also said it would oversee a ‘fundamental overhaul’ of building regulations to ensure that from 2024 all new homes use renewable or low-carbon heating.

A new consultation will include measures to improve energy efficiency and the quality of construction and will be accompanied by a £30 million investment in renewable heat projects, according to Sturgeon.

Sturgeon also revealed plans for a £3 billion Green Investment Portfolio, a ‘Green City Deal’ for cities and regions and said the transition to net zero will be the primary mission of the Scottish National Investment Bank.

Plans to clean up Scotland’s rail network and introduce a fleet of ultra-low-emission buses were also announced.

Sturgeon said: ’Earlier this year, I acknowledged that Scotland – like the rest of the world – faces a climate emergency. We are now committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest – earlier than any other UK nation.

’This year’s Programme for Government is an important part of our response to the climate emergency, containing measures which will reduce emissions while supporting sustainable and inclusive growth.’

The commitments were outlined in the Scottish National Party’s legislative programme for 2019-20, called Protecting Scotland’s Future.


Paul Stallan of Stallan-brand
The Scottish Government’s newly announced programme for Scotland 2019-2020 titled Protecting Scotland’s Future prioritises the country’s journey to net zero emissions is bold and well considered policy that will definitely place a commercial and technical burden on architects and housing contractors going forward.

New legislation coming into effect will ensure that from 2024, all new homes must use renewable or low carbon heat. Critically this will be achieved through a fundamental overhaul of the current building regulations, with a focus on increased energy efficiency and efficiency of construction. From our studios perspective the principle challenge will be to help our clients balance a significant increase in construction costs against affordability.

Many larger brownfield or rural social housing sites that we are currently working on are already unviable without major government subsidy. Additionally outside London there are many private for sale and urban build to rent developments where again the metrics are on a knife edge.


Readers' comments (3)

  • excellent.

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  • This is a very strong and positive initiative. Having undertaken a review of the 30 year life cycle carbon emissions of our recent design portfolio, it is clear that in an environment such as Scotland where the energy grid is very clean anyway, the emissions associated with construction particularly of large commercial buildings are unlikely to be exceeded by the operational emissions within a 30 yr period and, as energy code gets stricter, this balance shifts even more, placing more burden on the designer and contractor to reduce embodied carbon.

    I think it’s time, and the level of awareness is high enough, that we need to look at introducing LCA into building codes.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Another half-baked plan one fears.
    CO2 is not the problem. Global warming (whatever that is) is not the problem.

    If pollution is actually the issue (which it is)
    Treble the capacity of Hydro power in Scotland would be a much more effective way of cleaner, cheaper, sustainable energy.

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