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Tue June 18 2024

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 Scotland to mandate Passivhaus standard for all new housing

19 Dec 22 Scottish government ministers have promised to make all new housing meet the equivalent of Passivhaus energy-saving standard.

Alex Rowley MSP (with the red-handled spade)
Alex Rowley MSP (with the red-handled spade)

The Scottish government has said that it will make subordinate legislation within two years, to introduce new minimum environmental design standards for all new-build housing to meet a Scottish equivalent to the Passivhaus standard, to improve energy efficiency and thermal performance.

The policy commitment from the nationalist government is being claimed as a personal triumph by Alex Rowley, the Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, who had brought forward private legislation to mandate Passivhaus or similar for new housing.

Rowley’s Domestic Building Environmental Standards (Scotland) Bill was drafted in response to the Scottish Climate Assembly Recommendations for Action, in which 97% of the Assembly voted in favour of the Passivhaus standard or Scottish equivalent for new build projects in Scotland. 

In a letter to Rowley, Scotland’s minister for zero carbon buildings, Patrick Harvie confirmed that the Scottish government would implement the standards within two years through secondary legislation – without the long process of a member’s bill passing through the Holyrood legislative process.

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This development work will start in early in 2023, seeking the laying of amending regulations in mid-December 2024, he said.

A Passivhaus Trust spokesperson said: “It is fantastic to hear the Scottish government has committed to bringing forward a bill requiring higher energy-efficiency standards in domestic buildings, which also recognises the need to assure occupants that the design and construction of these buildings will deliver the actual performance sought in practice. 

“Statements including ‘a Scottish equivalent to the Passivhaus standard’ and ‘explicit support for Passivhaus and equivalent standards’ fill us with hope. As well as providing energy security and reduced heating bills, an enhanced Scottish Building Standard offers a chance to also improve occupant comfort and indoor air quality.

“It is a truly forward-thinking approach by the Scottish government and a positive response to the 2021 Scottish Climate Assembly recommendations. They are to be applauded for taking this crucial step towards meeting their net zero/climate emergency goals. Now we must ensure that the bill is well developed and implemented to deliver the greatest impact on the actual performance of new homes in Scotland.”

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