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Energy efficient housing prize
A new £1 million pound annual prize fund to inspire innovative ways of improving the energy efficiency of Scotland's housing sector has been launched.
Minister for the Environment Michael Russell yesterday announced that the Scottish Energy Efficiency Design Awards will be open to applications from April this year.
The awards will focus on innovation and design solutions to encourage the development of low carbon buildings, with a particular emphasis on housing.
Giving the keynote address to delegates at the Scottish Energy & Environment Conference in Glasgow, Mr Russell said:
"Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge we currently face and rising to this challenge will require all of us to take decisive action to reduce our carbon emissions.
"Scotland is ready to lead the rest of the world in confronting the challenge posed by climate change. Our recently published Climate Change Bill is the foundation upon which we will build future policy to ensure we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
"We already have a range of greener policies in place which, by helping individuals, communities and businesses live and work more sustainably will stand us in good stead. Our Climate Challenge Fund, for example, has already helped dozens of communities make changes to reduce carbon emissions.
"However, we appreciate that more needs to be done. That includes improving the existing housing stock, particularly older properties.
"The Scottish Energy Efficiency Design Awards awards will help us find pioneering and affordable solutions that can inspire others. Housing providers, the building and construction industry, householders and communities will all be encouraged to come up with innovative solutions.
"The awards will also help drive sustainable economic growth by encouraging innovation, research and development of new low carbon products and services, cutting fuel bills and fuel poverty in the process."
Maf Smith, Director of the Sustainable Development Commission Scotland said:
"Tackling energy efficiency in our existing homes will be critical if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help reduce the size of people's energy bills.
"However, it's well known that many of Scotland's older homes are hard to heat and measures to improve them complex or expensive. Action by the Scottish Government to look at this problem and encourage better solutions is therefore very welcome."
Scotland already leads the UK in the energy standards set by our building regulations. New buildings account for around 1 per cent of our overall building stock, however historic and traditionally constructed buildings can also contribute substantially to carbon reduction and energy savings.
The Scottish Energy Environment Conference is the Scottish Government Energy Efficiency Unit's annual event which aims to promote energy efficiency and environmental best practices to the business and public sectors. It is run in partnership with co-sponsors: Scottish and Southern Energy, The Carbon Trust and BVT Surface Fleet (formerly BAE Systems).
The Scottish Energy Efficiency Design Awards are based on a manifesto commitment for a £1 million award to bring together designers, the construction and manufacturing industries to create the best energy efficiency solutions for Scotland. The Energy Saving Trust will manage the Design Awards.
Evidence from a range of sources including recent consultations and reviews has highlighted an urgent need to focus support on improving the performance of the existing housing stock. Scotland has a large proportion of housing that is considered hard to treat - estimated to be around 28 per cent of total stock (650,000 houses). The aim is to drive innovation, research and development of new low carbon products and services for the retrofit market, as well as developing skills and capabilities of business and supporting local supply chains.
Applicants to the Scottish Energy Efficiency Design Awards should contact Jennie Devlin at the Energy Saving Trust on 0131 555 7900.