With Glasgow hosting the COP 26 conference, everyone’s attention in the city has switched to watching the POTUS convoy rushing through Partick like it’s a warzone and trying to get selfies with Leonardo di Caprio outside Greggs.
Across Scotland it has also focused minds on what we, as individuals, can do to halt the march of global warming, with everything from our eating habits to the clothes we buy questioned through the prism of their impact on climate change.
The property market has been forced to examine the role it could play in helping to reduce carbon emissions. For developers and estate agents it’s not just an ethical issue, it’s one of commercial adaptation and survival.
As homeowners and homebuyers, the impact that the properties we live in and want to live in will require us to consider, primarily, their impact on the environment.
The Scottish Government has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, and the housing sector will play a key role in helping us to achieve that target.
Heat in buildings accounts for around 23% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, with homes responsible for emitting around 6.2million tonnes of CO2 every year –more than three times the levels for international aviation and shipping.
While emissions from residential properties have dropped significantly over the past 30 years, the rate at which they are falling has ground to a virtual halt, to just 1.5% of the fall in 2018-2019, according to Scottish Government data.
And as we all know from repeated warnings from COP 26 attendees, time is not on our side. Around half of Scotland’s homes – more than 1million households – will need to convert to a zero or low-emissions heating system within the next nine years.
The draft policy programme drawn by the SNP and Scottish Greens also commits to ensuring that all homes achieve at least a C rating in their energy performance certificates (EPC) by 2033.
In future all new properties being built will need to instead use air source heat pumps, solar panels, and triple glazing, among other technologies, to reduce emissions from the home.
Whatever you think about climate change, the issue is here to stay and the housing market will play a huge role in tackling it.
As a prospective homebuyer or property investor, you can take action now to mitigate your investment against the effects of future regulations and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Buying a new property is much more energy efficient than an existing one but not everyone can do that and, if we all tried, what would we do with existing housing stock?
Fortunately, there are other measures you can take, including focus on smart home technology that can improve the energy efficiency of older properties, including using apps to control heating and hot water to save money, as well as smart energy efficient lighting.
You can also invest in eco-friendly appliances, choose a location away from flood risks and ideally one where you can use public transport, cycle lanes and pedestrian access to reduce the need for individual cars.
An issue that will become of growing importance to prospective buyers in the future will be access to electric car charging points.
With the government committed to making electric car charge-points mandatory for all new-builds, and plans to ban selling new petrol, diesel, or hybrid cars in the UK by 2035, in favour of electric vehicles, this is something we will all need to factor into future property purchases.
For more information about properties to buy in your area please call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit www.purdiesolicitors.co.uk