Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing Review - Measures and Finance subgroup minutes: March 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the subgroup on 13 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Callum Neil, Scottish Government
  • Ciara O’Connor, Scottish Government
  • David Bookbinder, GWSF
  • Jon Turner, Link Group Ltd
  • Ken Gibb, University of Glasgow
  • Mark McArthur, Energy Savings Trust
  • Peter O’Donnell, Hebridean Housing Association
  • Richard Orr, River Clyde Homes
  • Shona Mitchell, SFHA
  • Simon Roberts, Scottish Government


  • Nick Clark, Ore Valley Housing Association
  • Sherina Peak, ALACHO

Items and actions

  • SG to share metric proposal paper once finalised. Due March 2023
  • group members are welcome to add comments to metric paper / CXC archetype report if they feel necessary. Due March 2023
  • SG to take forward analysis on the cost of meeting the new EESSH. Due May 2023


List of attendees available.

Ciara O’Connor welcomed everyone and gave a review of the actions from the last meeting. The subgroup remit has been updated and SG will provide an update on the metric discussions at this meeting.

Update on metric discussions

Callum Neil gave an update on the progress made in the subgroup looking at what the new metric for EESSH will be:

  • two pronged approach with a fabric first metric (kWh/m2/year)
  • installation of zero direct emissions heating to be installed with a back stop date
  • the target range for the fabric metric is still be decided
  • target date for the metric and back stop date for the zero emissions heating to be agreed
  • SG are drafting a proposal paper for the target range and timescales for the new metric

Comments from the subgroup:

  • content with the two different aspects of the fabric first metric and requirement for zero direct emissions heating, as this should make obtaining funding for fabric upgrades more straight forward
  • target range is a sensible approach for landlords to meet rather than a set figure for fabric efficiency
  • will still need some discretion for landlords if the investment is not justified
  • can actual performance be factored into the metric? An element of testing against modelled data will be required
  • we need to engage with lenders to support alignment between targets and lending criteria (this to be raised at GFHT meeting in May)
  • what will the solution be for properties that are unable to be meet the required level of thermal efficiency to ensure a zero emissions heating system is able to work optimally? Variations in the standard could be a solution for hard to treat
  • could an affordability for tenants metric be included? Including cost factor within the metric would be difficult as this is out with landlord control – the metric needs to measure the energy efficiency of the property as this is what they can control
  • could landlords submit their own fabric efficiency data or would it need to come from an EPC?

Update on research

Callum Neil gave an update on the research being undertaken for the review.

Current research on identification of social housing archetypes commissioned through ClimateXChange to Element Energy:

  • analysis of Home Analytics Scotland Data and engagement with landlords
  • 24 archetypes based on property type, wall construction and floor construction
  • for each archetype – what is the effect of insulation and heating options
  • draft report circulated 2 March 2023, with comments due to Element Energy 14 March 2023

In the pipeline:

  • development of pattern book solutions for key social housing archetypes
    • rolling programme, part of proposed technical working group
  • case studies of decarbonisation retrofit projects 
  • bids for the above research submitted to ClimateXChange

Issues and barriers faced by landlords with funding

The subgroup were asked for comments on any issues or barriers faced when accessing funding:

  • difficult to obtain funding to upgrade certain construction types, in particular Swedish Timber housing
  • is there a financial option that the sector does not know about, that could possibly undercut the financing they get currently? (to be raised at the GHFT workshop in May)
  • the April 2024 cut off for the SHNZF is too soon as some landlords are putting off investment for 12-24 months due to financial uncertainty
  • longer term funding would be more helpful for procurement plans
  • landlords need to find a balance between meeting future targets and managing current financial pressures
  • some stakeholders think that some funding for new build should be redistributed to improving existing stock
  • an idea of the cost to meet the new standard would be beneficial – SG to take this forward
  • could approaches such as energiesprong or carbon credits be feasible?
  • service provision models alongside funding would help landlords
  • collective procurement could help to reduce costs and lead times 

Any other business

The next workshop of the Green Heat Finance Taskforce is due to take place in May. SG to keep the subgroup informed of the plans of this. In the meantime SG will take forward the work of developing the new standard and seek to reconvene the group at a later date.

It was also suggested that pre-fabrication options for solid wall insulation could help reduce the cost.

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