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Legal insights & industry updates

| 1 minute read

Net Zero – Can the housing sector beat Scotland’s target or more hot air?

Scotland has set an ambitious target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. However this week leading individuals have made a rallying call to the Housing Sector and government to accelerate the current rate of progress and build on the momentum of exemplar projects.

A Scottish MSP, Alex Rowley, is drawing up a proposal for a private member’s bill that will require all new housing constructed in Scotland to be built to the Passivhaus standard. 

The application of the Passivhaus standard to construction is a tried and tested means of providing net zero buildings. Typically the standard involves accurate design modelling, very high levels of insulation, extremely high performance windows with insulated frames, airtight building fabric and 'thermal bridge free' construction as well as a mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery.

Separately, SFHA chief Executive Sally Thomas also spoke out “The aim of COP26 is to reach agreement on achieving net zero output by 2050, but, for our sector, we must reach this goal sooner. Working together, with government and other partners, building on our already significant achievements in energy efficiency, we can achieve this.”

Passivhaus developments (both new build and retrofit of existing buildings) are currently being delivered by social landlords as well as other “green projects” utilising innovative building methods such as modular construction. Despite these positives the current rate of progress to date suggests that Scotland’s net zero target is ambitious and perhaps unlikely.

However the Glasgow COP26 Event has shone a spotlight on what needs to be done and there is a real opportunity for a tipping point of public opinion to force accelerated change.

Thanks to the building blocks of the exemplar projects we may be at the point where efficiencies and tested technologies are now available and understood by housing providers and can be delivered with the support of the government and others to meet the increasingly louder calls of the public for action against climate change.

Let’s hope COP26 provides a lasting legacy and not just more hot air.

A Scottish Labour MSP is to launch a consultation on legislation that would see all new-build housing meet the internationally recognised ‘Passivhaus’ standard.


housing, construction and engineering, social housing, passivhaus