Energy efficiency in homes

We are improving the energy efficiency of homes in Scotland to support our work on eradicating fuel poverty, and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

With around 2.45 million homes in Scotland, all varied in type, use, size, age, construction, and energy efficiency, this work will bring many challenges.

One of the ways in which we are improving home energy efficiency is by proposing long-term domestic standards.

We have also set out plans to 2040 for how we will improve:

To prevent poor energy efficiency from contributing to fuel poverty, we consulted on setting a more ambitious target for improving the energy efficiency standards of households in fuel poverty.

Long-term domestic standards

Our consultation on Scotland's energy efficiency programme demonstrated a clear consensus around setting long-term targets for energy efficiency in Scotland. In response, we are proposing that all residential properties in Scotland will be required to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least EPC C by 2040.

We are using EPCs to set the standard because the consultation showed that EPCs are widely known and provide a clear way to model and understand a building's energy performance. However, the consultation also raised some issues with EPCs, and we have commissioned research to identify how we can improve them. We will also be doing more work with partners to ensure that EPCs record the energy efficiency of buildings more accurately.

Not all buildings will be able to achieve EPC C standard, and in some cases the cost of the work may outweigh the energy saving benefits. Between now and 2020 we will work with partners to identify buildings that may not be able to achieve the standard, but will still need to be improved as far as is reasonable.

Reaching the long-term standard will require a mixture of encouragement and regulation which will differ between the social rented, the private rented, and the owner-occupied sectors.

Standards for the social rented sector

We introduced the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) in 2014. As a result, homes in the social rented sector are now some of the most energy efficient in Scotland, with 85% already achieving EPC D or above.

We want to continue the excellent progress that has been made and, following the review of EESSH in 2017/18, we consulted on further proposals for social housing.

The Consultation on the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing post-2020 (EESSH2) proposed a target to maximise the number of homes in the social rented sector achieving EPC B by 2032, with no detriment to environmental impact or air quality. The consultation also proposed that no social housing should be let after 2025 if the energy efficiency rating is lower than EPC D.

As well as proposing these standards, the consultation considered the funding offer required to support social landlords to deliver the new standard. Analysis of the consultation is available.

Find more information on our energy efficiency in social housing page.

We have produced the following guides on improving energy efficiency in social housing:

Standards for the private rented sector

Private rented accommodation generally has poorer energy efficiency than other areas in the domestic sector. We are committed to improving the energy efficiency of these homes so that tenants can enjoy homes that are warmer and cheaper to heat.

We have proposed that standards will be gradually increased over the lifetime of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme

Coronavirus (COVID-19 update April 2020: The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property (Scotland) Regulations 2020 were due to come into force on 1 April 2020. However the decision has been made not to launch these regulations at this time because of the COVID-19 crisis. This is to reduce the burden on local authorities, who are focussing on frontline emergency responses, and to put the safety of tenants and workers at the forefront. We do not want to put pressure on landlords to try to undertake works in their properties at this time, when medical and government advice continues to mandate physical distancing measures. The work on improving energy efficiency in private rented housing will resume once the current COVID-19 crisis comes to an end.

Standards for owner occupiers

Owner-occupied homes account for 61% of domestic housing, and around 38% of these properties are EPC C or above.

Currently we are not intending to mandate homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Instead, we will be working with stakeholders and owner occupiers to encourage the uptake of our offer and encouraging local authorities to deliver area-based schemes that will see end-to-end support, from initial advice through to quality-assured installation of measures.

We are proposing that all owner-occupied properties should meet the long-term domestic standard of EPC C by 2040. To do this, it may be necessary to mandate action for homeowners from 2030 depending on the success of the programme in encouraging action. We sought views on this in our Energy Efficient Scotland consultation: Making our homes and buildings warmer, greener and more efficient.

We have produced the following guide explaining to homeowners how to improve the energy efficiency of their homes: Energy Efficient Scotland user guide: homeowners

Households in fuel poverty

We consulted on setting a more ambitious energy efficiency target for households in fuel poverty, to prevent poor energy efficiency from contributing to the problem.

There were around 649,000 households living in fuel poverty in 2016, of which 79% were living in homes rated below EPC C. These are our most vulnerable households, and improving the energy efficiency of their homes could reduce their heating bills significantly.

Our Fuel Poverty Strategy and the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill will set statutory targets on fuel poverty. Energy Efficient Scotland lies at the heart of that commitment, and we proposed that the homes of all fuel-poor households reach EPC C by 2030 and EPC B by 2040 where technically feasile, cost effective, and affordable to the public purse.

We already offer a range of Energy saving home improvements schemes to support people who have difficulty paying their fuel bills or keeping their home warm, and have also produced the following guide to improving energy efficiency for households in fuel poverty: Energy Efficient Scotland user guide: households experiencing fuel poverty

Further information is available on our home energy and fuel poverty policy.