Since new sustainable standards were released by the Scottish Government builders and contractors have been left panicking during what is already a critical time for the industry. Homes for Scotland (an industry group) are worried that the new plans will increase the cost of building a house by £8,000 by adding a ‘carbon premium’. If this is the case then house prices are sure to rise to meet the new construction costs. Jonathon Fair, the chief executive of Homes for Scotland believes that the future of sustainable construction lies with the refurbishment of existing properties. Recipro tends to agree with Fair as our agenda is all about reusing building materials. Surely it is more sustainable and cost effective to salvage properties, renovating and restoring them rather than building a new one from scratch?
The plans dictate that all new homes built in Scotland as of 1st October 2010 will have to have to be better insulated against sound and be more energy efficient. Considering that the Scottish construction industry has “already reduced the carbon emissions of new homes by 60% from 1990 levels against the Scottish Government’s overall reduction target of 80% by 2050” (Jonathon Fair) it seems the government are focusing too much of their attention on driving that last 20% as soon as possible. Whilst the Recipro team are not against any form of sustainable building we have recognised that we are undeniably still in a recession and the construction industry is one of the hardest hit sectors. However, whilst the recession is no excuse to ignore the need for more environmentally friendly buildings the Government need to focus more time and energy on trying to save costs whilst also saving the environment. Recipro is one way to do this and there are others out there (take a look at how we can help you now)! The problem the Scottish Government and building industry are likely to find themselves in is that during the recession people simply can’t afford to pay up to an additional £8,000 for a house, so work is going to dry up and the houses which are built under the new rules may struggle to find a family who can afford to live in them. However if Jonathon Fair’s advice is taken into account and more attention is paid to existing dwellings Scotland should still be able to reach its targets as long as, as many materials as possible are salvaged and houses already standing are restored.