Developing an Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing: consultation

This consultation seeks views on the proposed Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) to further improve the energy efficiency of social housing in Scotland.

1. Introduction

This chapter looks at:

  • How the proposed Energy Efficiency Standard fits with wider Scottish Government housing policy
  • What the Energy Efficiency Standard is
  • What is in the consultation document

'Homes Fit for the 21 st Century' and the Sustainable Housing Strategy

1.1 'Homes Fit for the 21 st Century' 1 was published in February 2011. It sets out the Scottish Government's vision for housing for the coming decade, drawing on the housing consultation which took place in 2010. The paper included a commitment to develop a Sustainable Housing Strategy ( SHS) to bring together our policies on climate change, housing quality, energy efficiency, fuel poverty, planning and the built environment. The Sustainable Housing Strategy Group, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment and including representatives from leading organisations in the housing, fuel poverty, environmental and consumer protection interests 2 , is advising the Scottish Government on the development of that strategy.

1.2 The Sustainable Housing Strategy will set out our vision for warm, high quality, affordable, low carbon homes and a housing sector that helps to establish a successful low carbon economy across Scotland. Our route-map to 2030 sets out the key steps we need to take. The strategy's objectives are to:

  • deliver a step-change in provision of energy efficient homes to 2030 through retrofit and new build, as promised in the Infrastructure Investment Plan;
  • ensure that no-one in Scotland has to live in fuel poverty, as far as practicable, by 2016;
  • make a full contribution to the Climate Change Act targets, as set out in the Report on Proposals and Policies; and
  • enable the refurbishment and house-building sectors to contribute to and benefit from Scotland's low carbon economy and to drive Scotland's future economic prosperity.

For more information on the Sustainable Housing Strategy, please see the separate consultation document

Summary of the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing

1.3 'Homes Fit for the 21 st Century' also included a commitment to introduce a new standard for energy efficiency in social housing. Further details on the proposed standard are set out in Chapter 5, but in summary the EESSH will be a variable EPC rating depending on the type of house and the fuel source, for example a mid-floor flat with gas central heating will be expected to reach a higher rating than an end-terrace house with electric storage heaters. The intention is to set a rating that is challenging for landlords, but achievable in the proposed timescales. We have stressed from the beginning that the financial sustainability of landlords will be a key consideration 3 and we believe that the proposed ratings are achievable without significant additional investment beyond the SHQS.

Proposed energy efficiency standard. Based on modelling work and through consultation with our working groups the proposed energy efficiency standard for social rented housing is to establish a minimum EPC Rating ( which we propose should be the Environmental Impact score ) which every social rented dwelling will be required to meet by 2020. The standard will be different for different dwelling types. This would enable the Scottish Government to measure reductions in emissions from the 1990 baseline.

1.4 A baseline energy rating, based on the building type and space heating fuel, has been derived for all building types listed on page 20, assessed using the reduced data Standard Assessment Procedure ( RdSAP) 2005 v9.83, although the final standard will relate to the most up-to-date version of the software available at that time. The baseline energy rating has been developed by modelling standard assumptions for each dwelling type in 1990, or later if appropriate.

1.5 Example measures are applied to each example dwelling to improve the energy performance, to achieve both the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and to set a target rating for the Energy Efficiency Standard (see paragraphs 5.17-5.22 for further information). If appropriate, advanced measures have also been modelled to signpost further improvements that can be made. The measures identified represent some commonly applicable, cost effective solutions; however landlords can achieve the Energy Efficiency Standard target rating using any measures that they consider appropriate .

1.6 For dwellings where no baseline has been modelled, such as 'hard to treat' properties or for dwellings where the actual baseline varies significantly to the assumption, it is suggested that landlords will derive the baseline using the appropriate standard assumptions identified and set the target Energy Efficiency rating by applying a percentage improvement to the baseline model.

1.7 In proposing a new energy efficiency standard for social housing, this consultation document looks at:

  • The background to energy efficiency and social rented housing
  • The work done to date to improve energy efficiency in the social housing sector;
  • Why the Scottish Government thinks a new energy efficiency standard is necessary
  • The options considered for an energy efficiency standard for social housing;
  • The financial implications of introducing a new standard;
  • How progress towards any new standard would be measured and monitored; and
  • The timetable for implementation.

We would welcome views on all of the above. The consultation closes on Friday, 28 September and details for submitting responses are in Chapter 10. Please note that responses to this consultation should be submitted separately to any responses to the Sustainable Housing Strategy consultation.

1.8 There are also a range of supporting documents, in particular the various impact assessments, which we would encourage people to read and consider, including:

  • Equalities Impact Assessment
  • Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment

All these documents, as well as other relevant information, are available on the consultation web pages at:

1.9 The Scottish Government will be attending seminars and workshops on the Sustainable Housing Strategy and the proposed energy efficiency standard during the consultation period. Details of these events are available on the Scottish Government website at:

1.10 As part of your response to this consultation, we would also welcome experiences of how landlords have improved the energy efficiency of their houses, particularly any inexpensive innovative solutions and measures that have gone beyond the SHQS or indeed any solutions that would meet the proposed energy efficiency standard as set out in this document.


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