Lang Banks talks of the need for "Ministers to step up and be bold on climate change action" ("Scottish ministers must be bold in war on climate change", The Herald, June 14).

He also highlights that one-third of people in Scotland are living in fuel poverty and "for a lot of people, tackling climate change is not just about reducing emissions. We all want to live in warmer homes and pay less for our energy".

The new-build sector is already making a contribution in these areas. New homes (built to some of the highest standards in Europe), have already reduced their carbon emissions by 70% since 1990 levels – an achievement no other industry has come close to. They are also highly energy-efficient. Research has found that living in a new home can result in annual savings of up to 55% on gas and electricity spending.

Those urging the Scottish Government to push through further changes to new-build standards should be aware this could add as much as £10,000 to the cost of building a new home at a time when housing output is at its lowest level since 1947.

Scotland is in housing crisis with a record population, households growing at more than 21,000 a year and 160,000 people on housing waiting lists. The Scottish Government estimates that 465,000 new homes are needed by 2035 to meet demand but current build levels point to a shortfall of 140,000.

Additional cost burdens, such as those proposed, will further depress production, which accounts for less than 1% of Scotland's total annual housing stock, and significantly exacerbate the shortage while ignoring the pressing need to improve the energy performance of existing housing where the overwhelming bulk of the problem lies. A policy which threatens to adversely impact the economy, employment, skills and training and the delivery of warm, sustainable housing while contributing only 0.07% to overall climate change targets does not justify the wider associated risk.

A comprehensive retrofit programme to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings would have a greater impact on cutting carbon emissions and tackling fuel poverty.

Philip Hogg,

Chief Executive, Homes for Scotland,

5 New Mart Place, Edinburgh.