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Economy

Draft Scottish Budget Not Enough For Cold, Draughty Homes and Fuel Poverty

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The new draft Scottish Budget does not provide the ambition required to crack the problem of Scotland’s inefficient homes for good, according to the Existing Homes Alliance.

The Scottish Government’ announced that total spend on fuel poverty and home energy efficiency for the financial year 2017-18 will be set at £114m, a small increase on the 2016-17 figure of £103.3m, but a cut in comparison to the £119m

spent in 2015-16. It falls well below the £190m figure the Existing Homes Alliance believes is necessary to begin the transition to a programme capable of eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland and meeting our climate change targets. The additional £75m the

Alliance believes is required represents just under a quarter of 1% of the Scottish Government’s total expenditure.

Lori McElroy, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, said:

“While today’s proposals do show a small increase in funding for fuel poverty and home energy efficiency work, it doesn’t even restore funding to the level it was at before last year’s cuts to this vital budget. Boosting home energy

efficiency budgets to the level required is perhaps the most effective way to deploy capital investment, given the wide range of social and economic benefits this work brings. After decades of missed opportunities, we had hoped the commitment to energy efficiency

as a National Infrastructure Priority would come with the transformative level of funding required to help people currently living in cold and draughty homes that are expensive to heat.

“Action to insulate cold homes will need to ramp up significantly in the coming years to tackle fuel poverty and climate change, and the supply chain stands ready to deliver. This is a missed opportunity to capture the massive benefits

that a bigger investment would bring. We understand the public finances remain under significant pressure, but the extra money needed here represents less than a quarter of 1 per cent of the Scottish Government’s overall spending.

“It’s also important to remember that this is just a draft Budget. There is still time for Ministers to improve their proposals and for opposition parties to make home energy efficiency a priority before a final Budget comes to Parliament

in January next year. Bold investment is required as a matter of urgency: the Alliance estimates the spend required for next year should be closer to £190m rather than £114m. We know that the recent UK Budget means substantial additional capital funds will

be available to the Scottish Government, more than enough to ensure the improved commitment we need to see here. The broad benefits of investing in improving cold and draughty homes – from more jobs and better health to lower fuel bills – mean there can be

no more obvious choice when Parliament is considering how to allocate those funds.”

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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