Scotland proves MEES isn’t the only way to efficiency

by Ian Laurie, Technical Director

Originally published by RICS journal

Though it lacks the standards set in England and Wales, Scotland has still managed to lead the way in the energy efficiency of commercial buildings – unlike the Northern Irish regime. In simple terms, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) do not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland. But Scotland at least is not taking a back seat when it comes to energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

With around 230,000 non-domestic buildings in Scotland, the country has an ambitious goal that these achieve net zero by 2045, and an even more ambitious target of net zero for heating publicly owned buildings by 2038.

Scottish legislation sets more effective incentives

Scotland’s approach is radically different to the one being taken south of the border. The key legislation comprises the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, in particular section 63, and the Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016, which apply to buildings of more than 1,000m2 in size.

The aim of the 2009 Act was to reduce emissions 42% from a 1990 baseline by 2020, 75% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The later target was subsequently revised in 2019 to net zero by 2045.

The key element of the regulations is the stated aim that all new buildings are to be ‘nearly zero energy’. The regulations were further amended in June this year to prohibit the installation of direct-emission heating systems in new-build properties from 1 April 2024.

Compliant buildings are exempt from section 63, as are: 

  • temporary structures and those that meet Scotland’s low energy demand rule such as agricultural buildings or workshops
  • buildings in the Green Deal scheme
  • prisons and young offenders institutions. 

The 2016 Regulations effectively enact the requirements of section 63, requiring that energy performance certificates (EPCs) produced in Scotland after 2016 include a declaration of compliance with the regulations current thereafter.

Read full article on the link below.

Ian Laurie BSc MRICS
Technical Director

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