How Section 63 can benefit Scotland’s overall low carbon reduction aims

Scotland is leading the way in the UK, and throughout Europe, on tackling climate change in order to lead us to a low carbon economy.

With great advances in renewables and a strong dedication to investing in the low carbon green economy, Scotland sets a great example to the rest of the countries within the Paris Agreement. In the last number of years, Scotland has made a number of achievements:

  • Last year Scotland launched the world’s first full scale floating wind farm. The wind farm has been sending electricity to the grid since October 2017 and is proving very successful.
  • In 2017, Scotland was given the green light to install what will be Scotland’s largest solar farm (80,000 solar panels) in Moray.
  • Scotland continues to win in terms of renewables with over half of electricity needs now being met from renewable sources.
  • There is also a rise in the number of employees within the low carbon and renewables sector. In 2015, there were 58,500 working in the low carbon and renewables sector, in comparison to 43,500 in 2014 (WWF).

In its latest target, the Scottish government has published a new Climate Change Plan which sets out to reduce emissions by 66% between 2018 and 2032. The Scottish Energy Strategy includes a range of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Scotland’s energy, transport, heating, agriculture and building sectors. Within the building sector, it aims to improve the energy efficiency of Scottish homes and all buildings, in addition to ensuring homes and businesses can depend on secure energy supplies.

In a bid to improve energy efficiency within buildings, the Scottish Government has also developed Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP). The overall aim of SEEP is that, by 2035, the Scottish Government will have transformed the energy efficiency of all Scottish buildings to ensure they are near zero carbon.

One of the main drivers to improve energy performance of buildings in Scotland is Section 63 of The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. These regulations require a Section 63 advisor to assess non-domestic buildings to improve energy efficiency in order to comply with the requirements. Currently, the regulations apply to larger buildings with more than 1000m² and if they apply, the owner of the building must begin the process to produce an Action Plan. An Action Plan identifies the physical improvements which can be made to a building to ensure compliance.

The implementation of Section 63 encourages stakeholders to look at a number of opportunities, such as:

  • Improving long term value of property.
  • Reducing operational costs in the long term.
  • Increasing reputational benefits by contributing to Scotland’s climate agenda and working towards having more sustainable buildings in Scotland.

There is, however, a certain degree of speculation around some aspects of the Section 63 regulations. In the coming years, it could be possible that the regulations will apply to smaller buildings, with a floor area less than 1000m². The question could also be raised about the existence and effectiveness of Display Energy Certificates (DECs) and whether this will remain part of the Section 63 model.

Although there could be areas which are subject to change, the overall aim of Section 63 is to improve the energy performance of non-domestic buildings in Scotland. So, how can property owners access reliable cost data to inform retrofit strategies and justify investment? Through our Section 63 compliance analysis software.

Our arbn consult software expedites the process of generating transparent, fully costed risk and compliance mitigation strategies. It simultaneously updates the outputs from both the contemporary and redundant versions of SBEM and produces a Scottish Asset Energy Report (SAER) which identifies legislatively relevant improvements.

arbnco anticipate the SAER will be a valuable document in any real property transaction, particularly rent review and acquisition negotiations. It provides a consistent approach to the impact of Section 63 and the design incorporates flexibility to accommodate projected extension of the legislation. We believe it is an extremely valuable tool for all Section 63 stakeholders.

Visit our arbn consult page for more information, or register now for a free trial.

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