Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing Review - Fabric and Hard to Treat subgroup minutes: 27 February 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the subgroup on 27 February 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Callum Neil, Scottish Government
  • Euan Lochhead, Changeworks
  • Emily Dorrian, West Dunbartonshire Council
  • Graeme Bruce, Link Group Ltd
  • Lori McElroy, University of Strathclyde
  • Paul Leask, Hjaltland Housing Association
  • Sean Smith, University of Edinburgh
  • Simon Roberts, Scottish Government
  • Tim Sharpe, University of Strathclyde


  • Ciara O’Connor, Scottish Government
  • Grant Gilfillan, Shetland Council
  • John Devine, ng Homes
  • Moses Jenkins, Historic Environment Scotland
  • Sherina Peak, ALACHO

Items and actions

  • SG to share proposal on target range and timescales once drafted. Due March 2023
  • SG to take forward plans for developing pattern books. Due April 2023

Welcome and minutes from last meeting

List of attendees available.

Simon Roberts welcomed everyone and confirmed the members were content from the minutes of the last meeting. Noted apologies from Ciara O’Connor, Sherina Peak, John Devine, Grant Gilfillan and Moses Jenkins.

Update on metric options

SG provided an update the progress made on metric options in Subgroup 1 (Metric, Heating System and Just Transition):

  • agreed on a fabric first metric (kWh/m2/year) and zero emissions heating system, with a back stop date for installation
  • the target range for kWh/m2/year is still to be decided
  • timelines and back stop date still to be decided
  • SG are drafting a proposal for the target range and timescales for the new metric

The subgroup shared the following feedback:

  • how will the new standard ensure adequate air quality? Will this be specified in terms of target?
  • ventilation could be included within in the pattern books, heat recovery would support overall improvement of energy use, but the introduction of MVHR into the standard would push retrofit to a higher standard than new build
  • what does ventilation in retrofit look like? It is difficult to ensure tenants understand the importance of ventilation – technical officers could give inductions to tenants for this
  • can actual performance be factored into the metric? This may be difficult in densely populated households
  • modelling the pattern books and doing validation testing will be important
  • achieving thermal comfort for tenants is important
  • quality assurance will be required to prevent a performance gap between modelled and actual performance
  • can the new standard be mapped to an A-G scale?

Next steps

Discussion on hard to treat and exemptions:

  • Paul Leask noted they have to spend 12% more to achieve the same standard as the central belt, so can there be allowances for saying they have done everything they can?
  • a standardised approach on what represents value for money is required to ensure fairness for tenants across different LAs
  • developing costings for pattern book solutions with common archetypes would give arguments against stock disposal
  • can houses that are not cost effective to upgrade still be rented in the social sector? This could lead to tenants unable to afford to heat their property
  • risk of disposal being the only option
  • should the embodied carbon of the building be considered?
  • a gold, silver bronze system may discourage landlords from going beyond bronze

Further points raised by the subgroup:

  • need to ensure pattern book solutions will meet the 2045 net zero target to avoid further retrofit and penalising early adopters
  • energy demand reduction is key to ensure security of supply
  • knowledge sharing between landlords is important

SG are looking to commission work on developing pattern book solutions through ClimateXChange (CXC), however some members of the subgroup thought this may not be the best option due to the scale and cost of the research. SG to discuss with CXC. 

A supervisory group could be established to oversee development of pattern books.

Any other business

The next meeting is to be scheduled for March 2023, following the next meeting of subgroup 1. Graeme Bruce offered to share some of the work of Link Group at the next meeting.

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