Some 6.8m home windows need to be replaced in Scotland to meet government's net zero targets, industry bodies have warned.

A new analysis has said the moves are needed as the UK's housing stock is the worst performing country in Western Europe in terms of heat loss and three times less energy efficient than Germany.

The Window of Opportunity study by British Glass and the Glazing Federation, says that new windows can save homeowners up to £395 a year off their energy bills.

They say it would lead to a £300.9m total annual energy bills saving if all windows in Scotland that needed replaced were replaced.

The Glass and Glazing Federation in Scotland has called on called on government to take more action through VAT relief and grants - saying that homeowners need more incentives to make their homes energy efficient.

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It comes as it has been revealed over half of Scots (52%) are worried about being cold this winter, according to new data from Opinium, commissioned by the Warm This Winter campaign, a new national campaign coalition supported by leading anti-poverty and environmental organisations, including the End Poverty Coalition.

Today the campaigners launch a new drive to get financial support to households who need it the most this winter by bringing in an Emergency Energy Tariff to bring bills down for specific, targeted groups of households by an average of 46% for this winter.

The Herald: Property

MSPs have pledged to cut 1990 levels of emissions by 75% in seven years’ time. As part of that target, the Scottish Government is aiming to decarbonise one million buildings by 2030.

It is also moving to have all homes to meet EPC band C in energy performance certificate standards by 2033 where that is "technically feasible and cost effective". Homes in the private rented sector would need to meet this requirement by 2028.

Data from the most recent Scottish House Condition survey in 2021 shows that just 51% of homes (around 1,277,000 properties) are EPC band C or above.

The federation study says that double glazing installed pre-2002 is in approximately 23% of the UK’s current housing stock and is 50% less energy efficient than new windows to current standards.

The federation says that replacing windows should be front and centre of future energy efficiency schemes as the study found that a 22% heat saving could be achieved in properties that have already been insulated to best practice if pre-2002 windows are replaced.

The study states that replacing pre-2002 double glazing with new double glazing to current standards in Scotland is the equivalent in CO2 savings of taking 159,800 cars off the road in Scotland.

Alex Gray, managing director of the Greenock-based Saveheat Group and chairman of the Glass and Glazing Federation in Scotland, said more government support was needed in the form of VAT relief or providing grants to help homeowners with new window installation.

The Herald: ALEX GRAY

“We are now in what’s commonly known within the industry as the heating season in Scotland and given the prolonged colder winters we experience, the findings of this report will be alarming for homeowners in Scotland.

"The heat loss in homes and the contribution that modern windows can make to keeping people’s homes warm is important, especially when many people are continuing to work from home and having to cover the cost of heating throughout the day for longer periods of time.

“The Scottish government has set targets to improve energy efficiency in homes with its Energy Performance Certificate Reform consultation currently in place, as well as its wider Heat in Buildings Strategy to deliver its climate change commitments.

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"Heating our homes and buildings produces around a fifth of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, so there needs to be real incentives for Scottish homeowners to make the necessary change, especially when we are going through a cost-of-living crisis.

"We urge the government to support the Scottish residential sector in helping to improve aspects of energy performance to contribute towards meeting net zero targets through heat retention measures including a move to modern windows that meet current building regulations.

"The government is actively promoting cavity wall and loft insulation, however it’s futile to take such measures if windows are not up to current building regulations as around 44% of heat escapes from a property through windows.”

The Herald: Houses for sale

The Scottish Government said that its Heat in Buildings Strategy, published in 2021, set out a plan to transform Scotland’s homes and workplaces so they are "warmer, greener and more efficient".

It said that through the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan scheme, they provide interest free loan funding for households to upgrade single glazing to double glazing or to install secondary glazing up to £8,000.

Zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie said: "We want to make all of Scotland’s homes greener and easier to heat. As part of that, we have set ambitious targets to make our homes more energy efficient within the next ten years.

"We are committed to tackling climate change in a way that’s fair and leaves no one behind. That is why we have made generous funding available to households to install climate-friendly heating systems and energy efficiency upgrades. This includes interest free loan funding for households to upgrade the least efficient single glazed windows.

“I remain determined to support the people of Scotland through the heat transition, leading to warm and healthy homes and buildings, while tackling fuel poverty and climate breakdown. Our forthcoming Heat in Buildings Bill will help put in place the certainty that’s needed to deliver that change.”