Energy efficiency in social housing

The Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) aims to improve the energy efficiency of social housing in Scotland. It will help to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty and the emission of greenhouse gases.

The standard will also contribute to reducing carbon emissions by 42% by 2020, and 80% by 2050, in line with the requirements set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

How we formulate the standard

The EESSH is based on the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. EPCs are calculated using the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for energy rating of dwellings 2009 methodology.

As SAP 2012 is now being widely used, the Building Research Establishment Ltd (BRE) was commissioned to compile a conversion table which details the energy efficiency ratings required to meet EESSH using both SAP 2009 and SAP 2012. The full BRE report includes the conversion table.


Minimum energy efficiency (EE) ratings are shown in the table below and vary depending on the type of property and the fuel used to heat it. SAP ratings are expressed on a scale of one to 100; the higher the number, the lower the running costs.  While the Scottish Government considers that a specific target is a useful measure of performance across the housing sector and that SAP is currently the best tool for measuring that performance, landlords will have to take account of the real life impact of change. If landlords are satisfied that an innovation provides tangible benefits for energy efficiency and is in the best interests of tenants, they may consider a measure which, on paper, does not meet the minimum standard.

Minimum SAP ratings to pass the EESSH

  EE rating (SAP 2009)     EE rating (SAP 2012)  
Dwelling type Gas Electric   Gas Electric
Flats 69 65   69 63
Four-in-a-block 65 65   65 62
Houses (other than detached) 69 65   69 62
Detached 60 60   60 57

How to achieve the EESSH 2020 ratings

Landlords should consider a range of common measures which may be applied to properties to help meet the EESSH 2020 ratings:

  • condensing boilers
  • double/secondary glazing
  • heating controls
  • storage heaters (or switching to more efficient storage heaters)
  • loft insulation top-up
  • floor insulation
  • tank and pipe insulation
  • room-in-the-roof insulation
  • compact fluorescent lighting
  • cavity wall insulation
  • internal wall insulation
  • external wall insulation
  • waste water heat recovery
  • thermostatic radiator valves
  • replace secondary heating

Relevant funding sources

To help social landlords achieve the required ratings we have compiled a table identifying potential EESSH funding sources, as well as some additional information for landlords on frequently asked questions around topics such as EPCs, building regulations and future proofing policies.

  • As part of the Transition Programme for Energy Efficient Scotland, a  Decarbonisation Fund for energy efficiency measures within projects that include decarbonisation activity has been made available to social landlords across 2018/19 and 2019/20.  This will help landlords to comply with EESSH, and maximise compliance with potential EESSH2 standards post-2020.

Monitoring and regulation

The EESSH is monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) which takes a risk-based and proportionate approach. Social landlords are required to provide the SHR with annual information on compliance

Further information on the SHR's approach to regulating the EESSH is available on the SHR website. Any enquiries regarding the monitoring and regulation of the EESSH should be directed to

Social landlords are making encouraging progress, with the SHR reporting that 80% of social rented homes are already meeting the 2020 milestone with landlords projecting 97% compliance by 2020.

2017 review of the EESSH

An EESSH review to assess progress and consider further milestones beyond 2020 is being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 has concluded with the review group producing consolidated and revised guidance – see key documents below.

Phase 2 will set longer-term milestones and take account of changes in technology that may offer additional measures to improve energy efficiency in housing.

In line with Energy Efficient Scotland, EESSH will be a critical part of realising our vision that by 2040 our homes and buildings are warmer, greener, and more efficient.

The EESSH Review Group recommended proposals set out in the consultation on the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing post-2020 (EESSH2) which ran from May to July 2018.

With support from the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland and the Tenants Information Service (TIS) a programme of events for social tenants and social housing landlords were held across the country to discuss the proposals.

We received 66 consultation responses. These have been analysed and the main findings included in the Consultation Analysis Report which  will inform the consideration and development of EESSH2.  Confirmation of the new standard is expected in early 2019.

Key documents: