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“Severe and damaging” impact of watered down energy standards

News release from the Association for the Conservation of Energy

For immediate release: Monday 13 May 2013

 

Scottish Government Ministers are coming under increasing pressure not to backtrack on their plans for greener buildings. The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) [1] today warned there would be a “severe and damaging impact” if as feared there is a delay and watering down of green standards for new homes. In a strongly-worded letter[2] to John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth and Derek Mackay, Minister for Local Government and Planning, in the Scottish Government, they urged the Government to stick to its original roadmap – the so-called Sullivan Report – to deliver very low carbon new buildings in 2013 and zero-carbon new buildings in 2016.

 In the letter, released today, Andrew Warren, Director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said,

 “You have announced your intention that the 2013 changes to Section 6 (Energy) of Building Standards be delayed until 2014 and watered down from the roadmap set out in the 2007 Sullivan Report, and previously accepted by your Government. Now the Sullivan panel is re-convening, with the impression being given that their remit is to further delay and water down the 2016 changes to Section 6.

If this occurs, the effect on this industry will be severe and damaging, as those who know – the leaders of major companies concerned with this market – testify.

I urge you to implement the original Sullivan recommendations urgently.”

 The Sullivan panel was set up in 2007 to fulfil an SNP manifesto pledge to “establish an expert panel to report on the changes we need to make to building regulations in Scotland to increase energy efficiency” [3]. The Sullivan report recommended introduction of low carbon new buildings in 2010; very low carbon new buildings in 2013 and zero-carbon new buildings in 2016 [4]. The recommendations were accepted and endorsed by Stewart Stevenson MSP, then Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change.

 The current Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay MSP, announced his intention in December 2012 that the Government would consult on introducing new standards in 2014 which offered only a minor improvement over current standards, and delaying the implementation by a year, contrary to the Sullivan recommendations [5]. The consultation launched in January 2013 and proposed a 21% improvement, well below the Sullivan recommendations[6]. Mr Mackay then reconvened the Sullivan panel in May 2013 with a remit to “revisit” the original recommendations in light of the economic downturn post-2007[7]. The clear implication is that the 2016 zero-carbon standards would be delayed and watered down.

 ENDS

 Contact:

Chas Booth

Senior Press & Parliamentary Officer

Association for the Conservation of Energy

07905 147552

 

Notes to editors

[1] The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) is a lobbying, campaigning and policy research organisation, and has worked in the field of energy efficiency since 1981. Our lobbying and campaigning work represents the interests of our membership: major manufacturers and distributors of energy saving equipment in the United Kingdom. ACE is a member of both Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum.

 More info from our website:

 

[2] The full text of the letter follows (and is also available here: Section 6 letter May 2013)

 Please don’t  damage our industry

 Open letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney MSP and the Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay MSP

 May 2013

Dear Cabinet Secretary, Dear Minister,

 Section 6 (Energy) of Building Standards

 You have announced your intention that the 2013 changes to Section 6 (Energy) of Building Standards be delayed until 2014 and watered down from the roadmap set out in the 2007 Sullivan Report, and previously accepted by your Government. Now the Sullivan panel is re-convening, with the impression being given that their remit is to further delay and water down the 2016 changes to Section 6.

If this occurs, the effect on this industry will be severe and damaging, as those who know – the leaders of major companies concerned with this market – testify.

I urge you to implement the original Sullivan recommendations urgently.

 Yours sincerely,

 Andrew Warren, Director

Association for the Conservation of Energy

 

‘Less investment and fewer jobs’

Robert Barclay, Managing Director (UK) and ROI of SIG plc:

“The lack of clarity from the Scottish Government on Section 6 2013 is unhelpful. Our company has made a significant investment against the backdrop of the stated Section 6 timetable comprising two joint ventures centred around the marketing of high energy performance building systems and a team of specialist people with the sole aim of advising the house building community as to the most effective product solutions required to meet the revised regulations.

“If the Section 6 2013 amendment is postponed/withdrawn this is not only disappointing for those who endeavour to differentiate through innovation but it will further knock confidence in our business and the wider sector which will inevitably result in less investment and fewer jobs.”

SIG plc is UK largest distributor of insulation and related products, employing 3,500 people.

 

‘Wasted investment’

John Sinfield, Managing Director, Knauf Insulation Northern Europe:

“The expected amendments to Section 6 offer a real opportunity to increase investment as well as secure job opportunities, and also future proof the UK’s homes against fuel poverty. As a manufacturer, we have invested accordingly, but with no Scottish Government certainty for the industry, the abandoned roadmap to zero carbon represents a significant wasted investment for the energy efficiency sector.”

Knauf Insulation Limited is the leading UK manufacturer of insulation materials. We employ 580 people across four sites in the UK.

 

‘Damage to a fragile industry’

David Robson, Managing Director, Instagroup:

“Any decision to delay or weaken Section 6 changes will further damage a fragile industry and result in further job losses and will lead to less investment in this industry.”

Instagroup is the leading systems designer for insulation and sponsors the UK’s leading energy efficiency network.  Instagroup is a Green Deal provider and has invested in Green Deal finance.

 

‘A huge impact on our future investment’

Alex McLeod, Chief Executive, Superglass Insulation:

“The timetable for implementation of Section 6 Building Regulation, including a 60% improvement on 2007 standards in the domestic 2013 regulations and a move to Zero Carbon homes in 2016 is critical to investor confidence.  Superglass PLC raised substantial investment capital in 2011.  Critical to continued investment is confidence in the regulatory framework which is a significant driver of growth in energy efficiency products and service.  Any delay in the implementation of Section 6 will have a huge impact on our future investment plans.”

Superglass is one of the last remaining independent building materials manufacturers, and is based in Stirling.

 

‘Negative impact on export market’

Peter Wilson, Managing Director, Kingspan Insulation:

“Kingspan Insulation has been planning and implementing product developments and improvements in construction best practice and materials to support the Zero Carbon Homes initiative. I therefore find it of great concern that there is a lack of clarity around the Scottish Government’s timetable for the proposed 2013 Section 6 implementation.

“If the Regulations do not meet the standards required by the roadmap for carbon reduction commitment, then investment and growth in the construction sector is likely to be inhibited. This will impact negatively on the ability of manufacturers to invest in developing competitive products for export markets.”

Kingspan Insulation is the largest manufacturer of rigid insulation products in the UK. We employ over 400 people and have over 40% of market share.

 

‘Deter innovation’

Eamon McDonnell, Managing Director Saint-Gobain Isover:

“Delay in the implementation of Section 6 has undermined the roadmap that had been set out to achieve zero carbon homes and will impact on the timing and scale of future investments in glass wool insulation manufacture in the UK. It will also deter innovation in the housing sector and leave new house owners saddled with unnecessarily expensive running costs for their homes.”

Saint-Gobain Isover is the global leader in the manufacture of mineral wool insulation and has been present in the UK as a glass wool manufacturer for over 30 years.

 

‘A potential blow to the economy’

Jayne Law MBE, Commercial Director, Dow Building Solutions:

“At Dow we believe the proposed changes to Section 6 would have provided substantial environmental and economic benefits. It will be a serious disappointment to those committed to a greener future for Scotland as well as a potential blow to the economy if the clear support within the industry for the introduction of these positive measures is not embraced and taken forward.”

Dow was the sole sponsor of the Energy Efficiency Mission Launch Event at the Royal Society on February 4, at which the Prime Minister gave his long-awaited keynote speech on the importance of energy efficiency to our economy.

 

‘Small companies should not be penalised’

Nick Hunt, UK Sales Director, Honeywell Control Systems:

“Honeywell is proud to have invested considerable time and effort in developing products and training installers. The good installers who have already embraced the necessary changes would be disadvantaged by having the rug pulled out from under their feet by delays in Section 6. These small companies have invested time and effort in keeping up to date and should not be penalised. Nor should their customers – consumers – be disadvantaged, as they continue to be sold products that may not have the energy efficiency benefits that are included in most modern heating controls.”

Honeywell is a major manufacturer of energy controls, employing over 7,000 people in UK, many in manufacturing facilities. They have facilities in 75 different constituencies, and manufacture in 20 constituencies. The biggest are directly affected by the Building Regulations.

 

 

[4] Scottish Government (2007) A Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy for Scotland (The Sullivan Report)

 

[5] Scottish Government press release, 10/12/2012, “Greener buildings”

 

[6] Lower Carbon Buildings – a review of energy standards and guidance within Scottish building regulations, Scottish Government, 14 January 2013

 

[7] Scottish Government announcement – Sullivan panel to reconvene, April 2013

 

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