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 56% by 2020, 75%  by 2030,  90% by 2040 and net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045, in line with the requirements set out in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act.

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 £3.5m  Decarbonisation Fund for energy efficiency measures within projects that include decarbonisation activity was made available to social landlords across 2018/19 and 2019/20.  

A £3.9m second round of the fund has also been made available to social landlords across 2019/20 and 2020/21 to help them deliver energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation programmes within their existing stock. 

This will help landlords maximise compliance with EESSH and EESSH2 post-2020. Thirteen projects were approved for funding.

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 85% of social rented homes are already meeting the 2020 milestone.

EESSH review

When EESSH was introduced, a review was agreed for 2017 to assess progress and consider future milestones. To deliver this the EESSH Review Group was established in March 2017, including representatives from: Scottish Government, local authorities, registered social landlords, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Glasgow West of Scotland Forum, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Energy Saving Trust and the Scottish Housing Regulator.

The review was conducted in two phases. The first assessed progress towards the 2020 target and updated EESSH1 guidance for social landlords. In Phase 2, the review group recommended milestones and activity post-2020, informed by proposals outlined 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 was held across the country to discuss the proposals.

We received 66 consultation responses. Findings were included in the Consultation Analysis Report.

Informed by consultation responses, the EESSH Review group considered proposals and agreed a new EESSH2 milestone as follows:

All social housing meets, or can be treated as meeting, EPC Band B (Energy Efficiency rating), or is as energy efficient as practically possible, by the end of December 2032 and within the limits of cost, technology and necessary consent.

The 2032 milestone will be supported by a formal review in 2025. Air Quality and Environmental Impact will be included as part of the review and it has been agreed that no social housing should be re-let below EPC Band D from December 2025, subject to temporary specified exemptions. This supports the Energy Efficient Scotland vision for homes and buildings that are warmer, greener and more efficient, and a housing sector that helps to establish a successful low carbon economy across Scotland.

EESSH2 Consultation on Indicators by SHR and Draft Guidance

The Scottish Housing Regulator is carrying out a consultation with tenants, landlords, representative bodies, and anyone with an interest in social housing on indicators to measure landlord’s performance against the milestone for the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing to 2032 (EESSH2). This consultation is open from 10 November 2020 to 15 January 2021. The Scottish Government has prepared draft guidance for landlords on EESSH2. A copy of this is available in the set of key documents below. The draft guidance has been developed with the EESSH Review Group, and will be considered further following the results of the Regulator’s consultation, with an aim to publish a final version by March 2021.

Key documents: