Climate ‘Safe’ Homes for Scotland

06 April 2021

Posted on by Wayne MacKay

As part of Scotland’s contribution to tackling climate change and meeting its target for ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, the way we heat our homes needs to change. The Scottish Government’s draft Heat in Buildings Strategy - which is now out for consultation - sets out actions and proposals for transforming our homes and the systems that supply their heat, ensuring all buildings reach zero emissions by 2045.

It recognises the role of electricity in heating people’s homes through the use of technologies such as heat pumps and heat networks, but the regulatory proposals have not assessed the preparedness of domestic electrical systems.

Whilst new build homes can and must plan for the electrification of heat, existing housing stock will prove a bigger challenge, particularly older housing which is more likely to contain outdated electrical systems.

The huge increase in electrical appliances, such as electric boilers and heat pumps, together with a shortage of trained installers and a lack of familiarity with electrical heating will also have an impact on electrical safety.  

To effectively manage the safety implications from the decarbonisation of heat, we believe there needs to be a parallel consideration of the effects of increased energy loads on the electrical systems in our homes.   

In our manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election in May, we’re calling on the next Scottish Government to include electrical safety as a key factor in its policymaking towards achieving net zero homes.   We also need a national study to look at the physical condition and preparedness of Scotland’s domestic electrical installations for future demands.  Mandatory electrical safety inspections across all tenures – which are already required in both the social and privately rented sectors in Scotland – would also make sure homes are ready for changing electrification needs and reduce current and future risks.   

To find out more, read our Scottish electrical safety manifesto.

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