Property interview: Open invitation to go greener

Homeowners will be offered advice on how to make their properties more energy efficient, save money on heating, and discover the latest advances in eco-friendly technology at the second annual Green Home Festival in Edinburgh next month.

The free week-long proceedings, which begin on 14 August, will hear from experts across the homebuilding and renovation industry in a series of in-person and online events – and organisers argue that it couldn’t come at a better time.

“In the last couple of years, there has been a lot more interest from members of the public in trying to integrate energy efficiency while thinking about their home upgrades,” says festival co-founder Gordon Nelson. “Prior to the Covid pandemic, there were some notable examples of passionate people seeking green upgrades to their homes, but most consumers were purely looking at home improvements rather than energy efficient upgrades. There has been a real change there recently.”

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Gordon points to the Scottish Government’s plans to implement an equivalent of the Passivhaus design standard – a solution for zero-carbon homes – and its net-zero greenhouse emissions target of 2045, adding that gas boilers in new homes will be banned from next April.

Scotland's Home of the Year judge, Anna Campbell-Jones. Image: John DevlinScotland's Home of the Year judge, Anna Campbell-Jones. Image: John Devlin
Scotland's Home of the Year judge, Anna Campbell-Jones. Image: John Devlin

Talk in Holyrood of further regulations for all homes to reach new energy efficiency standards by 2033, means alternative heating systems are currently very hot topics.

Gordon adds: “There is a dedicated heat pump day which recognises the misunderstanding from consumer perspectives as to what heat pumps are [and] how much they cost. That particular show will give advice to consumers about preparing for heat pumps and try to give them a map on where to access grants, loans, and funding sources.”

The festival was established by the Construction Industry Collective Voice, a coalition of some 28 trade and professional bodies. The shows will be hosted at The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) headquarters at 10 Charlotte Square in the heart of the Capital.

“The festival came about a few weeks after COP26,” explains Gordon, who is the Scotland director for the Federation of Master Builders. “(We) thought we should look to take some of the initiatives from that and – noting rising inflation and a cost of living crisis developing – we thought we could bring our expertise together to advise the public.”

Last year's Green Home Festival was a huge success.Last year's Green Home Festival was a huge success.
Last year's Green Home Festival was a huge success.

TV presenter Anna Campbell-Jones will discuss low-carbon living in the Ingredients for a Greener Kitchen show on the first day of the festival, exploring greener ways of designing, decorating and renewing homes.

Meanwhile, Microwave Heating for Homes, led by Professor Sean Smith of The University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, will discuss how the technology could work as heating alternative.

“That is something novel and unique for this year,” Nelson says. “Microwave heating may well be a viable technology on a mass scale for homeowners looking to replace their gas boilers.”

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Among other highlights, the Festival of Fabric First show will help homeowners understand what steps to take before carrying out a retrofit to improve their domestic energy efficiency.

The first Green Home Festival was highly successful, with more than 400 registrations for ten shows, and this year’s event aims to be bigger and more varied.

To book tickets, visit