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Scotland tightens the energy performance requirements for new buildings by 30 percent

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From October this year, new build Scottish homes must be more energy efficient, have greater sound insulation and better levels of home security. The revised building standards will reduce emissions, create new jobs in small scale renewables and could save many householders money.
The Building Standards Technical Handbook, published on April 6, 2010 and which comes into force in October 1, 2010, confirms:
  • Enhanced energy standards for new buildings - both homes and non-domestic - which will reduce emissions by 30 per cent on 2007 standards and by 70 per cent compared to 1990
  • Improved sound insulation to party walls and floors and the introduction of sound insulation testing to homes
  • Better security features for homes including higher design specification for doors, windows and locks to deter opportunity crime
  • New build schools must have sprinklers fitted to reduce potential loss or damage

The moves follow a wide review and consultation.

Infrastructure Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "While Scotland already leads the UK in reducing emissions from buildings, these improvements will give us some of the greenest homes in Europe.

"Energy use in buildings makes up over 40 per cent of all carbon emissions and tightening energy standards will help us tackle climate change. I expect higher demand for small scale renewables technologies as developers look at ways to meet the new standards, giving Scotland new opportunities for jobs and investment in low carbon industries. Cutting out energy waste will also save money.

"A major review of noise standards has also resulted in dramatic improvements in sound insulation which will lead to greater freedom from unwanted noise. Taken together, these improvements will lead to better, warmer and quieter homes to live in."

Professor Sean Smith, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Construction, Edinburgh Napier University, added: "It is very positive that after so many years the standards have been raised. Some house builders have been building to these higher standards, however this will now bring a level playing field for the industry sector and all occupants irrespective of income. This is one way in which Scotland can lead the way in promoting sustainable communities."

Other new features in the Technical Handbook include guidance on land contamination, flooding, ventilation, condensation, biomass installations and flueless gas appliances. The guidance for means of escape and the guidance for fire and rescue facilities have been re-written to reflect the needs of the fire and rescue service. The changes will include the introduction of structural Eurocodes, the harmonised design standards for building structures which will help to eliminate technical barriers to trade between EU member states.

The moves to increase energy standards flow from the Sullivan Report which looked at ways to make homes and buildings more energy efficient.