Energy Efficient Scotland

Heating our buildings is responsible for a significant proportion of Scotland’s emissions.  As such, work to make our homes and buildings more energy efficient and to transition heating systems to renewable or low carbon sources will be critical.

The Energy Efficient Scotland programme builds on existing legislation and programmes that are already supporting the improvement of the energy efficiency of homes, businesses and public buildings, as well as the work we are doing with local authorities to develop Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES).

The launch of Energy Efficient Scotland sees us continuing to integrate and streamline our existing support over the next two years (2018 to 2019) of the programme's transition phase.

We sought people's views on these plans via our Energy Efficient Scotland Consultation: making our homes and buildings warmer, greener and more efficient. We published the consultation analysis detailing the responses we received in November 2018.

The following links provide more information about Energy Efficient Scotland:

Transition programme plan

In year one (2018) of the transition programme we:

  • continued to allocate funding for fuel poverty programmes
  • offered funding to support the development of LHEES
  • provided funding for local authorities to offer end-to-end support for energy efficiency in domestic and non-domestic able to pay markets

In year two (2019) we are building on our work in year one and further integrating our funding streams. We expect that this approach, alongside the ongoing development of LHEES, will see local authorities developing action plans to use as evidence for securing related funding.

Between November 2017 and February 2018 we consulted on the introduction of a statutory duty on local authorities to develop LHEES. LHEES would link our long-term targets and national policies to the delivery of energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation on the ground. They would allow local authorities to prioritise and target work. That might be supporting owner occupiers and businesses to install energy efficiency measures or encouraging the development of district heating and other low-carbon heat solutions.

Long-term plan

From 2020, Energy Efficient Scotland will support building owners to make changes to their buildings and heating systems to reach the required energy rating, with more support available depending on the extent to which home owners struggle to afford their heating.

By 2035, most buildings will have reached the energy rating, so the programme will mainly provide advice and support and will begin enforcing the rating by introducing or increasing penalties for those buildings that haven't. Energy Efficient Scotland will still support those who struggle to afford their heating.

By 2040, Scotland's buildings will be energy efficient, Scotland's people will be better off and our economy, we believe, will have benefited from being more competitive through reducing energy costs and through jobs supported by the programme and investment in the energy sector.

Pilot projects

We funded two phases of pilot projects to inform the development of Energy Efficient Scotland. Local authorities and their partners were invited to submit proposals for trialling new approaches to delivering energy efficiency measures in both domestic and non-domestic buildings.

These pilot projects contribute to the design of future programmes aimed at tackling fuel poverty and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

See final evaluation report of the Phase 1 pilots 

Find more information on these pilots in our archive:

Local authorities contacts for LHEES pilot projects 

Monitoring and evaluation

We will be monitoring and evaluating the Energy Efficient Scotland programme throughout its lifetime to make sure we are on track to achieve its vision, aims and objectives. This will allow us to adapt the programme as necessary.

As well as looking at outputs, we will be monitoring and measuring outcomes to evaluate the impact the programme has on people and communities. We will publish a monitoring and evaluation framework that will be ready for implementation by the end of the transition period.

Transition programme pilots

Energy Efficient Scotland - Transition Programme Pilot projects

We invited local authorities, charities and third sector organisations to submit proposals to deliver energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation programmes in the able to pay sector (domestic and non-domestic). We also invited local authorities to submit proposals to undertake an LHEES project.  This is part of our wider aims for Energy Efficient Scotland - the removal of poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty - and our ambitions for emissions reductions.

Able to pay service for domestic and non-domestic properties

An important part of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme will be local delivery programmes, which already work well in the context of HEEPS:ABS. Given the ambitions set out in the Climate Change Plan and the Climate Change Bill we know the rate of installation of energy efficiency measures and installation of renewable energy systems will need to ramp up significantly in the 'able to pay' sector (domestic and non-domestic). We invited bids for funding to support development and delivery of a 'hand-holding' service for these target markets.

More details on the funding criteria. Proposals for this funding will have until March 2020 to complete their project.


The introduction of LHEES would set the strategy and frameworking for reducing energy demand and decarbonising the heat supply to buildings.

These set out long-term approaches to reducing emissions from buildings and tackling fuel poverty by identifying a solution tailored to the local area, as well as identifying zones suitable for the development of heat networks

The strategies have a vital role in planning our long-term approach to decarbonising the heat supply to our homes and buildings and respond directly to recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change. We will work with local government to put the strategies on a statutory footing and bring forward the timescale for implementation.

We began a pilot programme to shape and test the development of LHEES. This allows all 32 local authorities to trial different aspects and to support the building of capacity and capability.Two pilot phases have run so far, with 23 local authorities receiving funding.

We are now (September 2019) inviting applications from the remaining 9 local authorities to participate in the third round of pilots. Funding of £50,000 is available to each local authority. Local authorities who have already received funding to pilot LHEES are not eligible to apply. Find out more in the phase 3 pilot programme application form and guidance. The closing date for applications is 18 October 2019.

User guides for homeowners, landlords and tenants

We have produced the following user guides to help explain what Energy Efficient Scotland means for homeowners, landlords and tenants:

International collaboration

We are committed to learning and sharing our experience on the international scale. That is why we signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of the Kingdom of Denmark on cooperation in the areas of decarbonisation of heating systems, district heating and energy efficiency in buildings in May 2018. Key objectives of this MoU are to promote a mutually beneficial partnership and to explore and identify options for possible cooperation to build an alliance of "like-minded" European countries, nations, states and regions committed to transition to low-carbon and energy efficient buildings.

Long-term standard and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

We have chosen to use EPCs to set the long term standard for domestic properties as our consultation in 2017 showed that EPCs are widely known and provide a clear way to model and understand the energy performance of a building. The consultation also raised some issues with EPCs and we responded to those concerns by commissioning some independent analysis of the issues raised in this and other related consultation. The report and appendices are now published:

Before implementing any changes to EPCs we will be carefully assessing all the proposals in the report alongside the work underway by the short-life working group to consider the overall assessment needs for Energy Efficient Scotland. We will publish a detailed action plan later in 2019 setting out the work we will be taking forward to improve EPCs.