Purpose and background
The EESSH aims to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of social housing in Scotland. This supports the Scottish Government's vision of warm, high quality, affordable, low carbon homes and a housing sector that helps to establish a successful low carbon economy across Scotland, as set out in the Sustainable Housing Strategy ( SHS). Both the SHS and the EESSH were subject to public consultation over the summer of 2012.
Developing the EESSH
The Scottish Government and stakeholders have worked together to agree the EESSH. This has involved significant input from experts drawn from the social housing sector and the energy efficiency community, including extensive engagement with housing sector representative stakeholder groups. Taking lessons learned from the SHQS, the EESSH has been developed as a simple and flexible standard, using modelled case study examples, with detailed peer review, to inform it's design.
The EESSH ratings and methodology
The EESSH sets a single minimum Energy Efficiency ( EE) rating for landlords to achieve that varies dependent upon the dwelling type and the fuel type used to heat it. The ratings reflect that some dwelling types are more challenging to improve than others. Social landlords must ensure that they achieve the relevant minimum EE rating by the first milestone of 31 December 2020, for all applicable social housing. The standard does not prescribe which measures must be installed and landlords can choose measures that are suitable for a range of contexts. A set of Reasonable Measures, highlighted because they provide a good balance of benefits and cost, have been identified and landlords should consider these when preparing their approach to achieving the standard. For harder to treat properties, additional measures should be considered and landlords are encouraged to look for creative approaches including using renewable technologies.
Stock condition data
As the EESSH is a variable rating, it is vital that social landlords can identify the energy efficiency rating of their stock at the outset, so good quality information on the energy efficiency of dwellings is important. While it is anticipated that landlords will increasingly make use of Energy Performance Certificates ( EPCs) for each property, there is no requirement inherent in achieving the EESSH that social landlords must purchase a new EPC for every property.
The EESSH will mean that in the main no social property will be lower than a 'C' or 'D' energy efficiency rating, meaning that tenants should benefit from a warmer home, which could mean lower fuel consumption, lower energy bills and less tenants in fuel poverty. Attaining the EESSH is projected to provide benefits to social tenants of around £127m each year due to improved energy efficiency.
Costs & funding
On the basis of compliance with the SHQS, 64% of social housing would already meet the relevant EESSH rating at 01 April 2015. The total cost to achieve the EESSH is estimated to be around £900m. It is anticipated that landlords will make use of the available funding from public and regulated energy company funded energy programmes. The Scottish Government's Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland ( HEEPS) funding will help landlords in circumstances where owners in mixed tenure stock are reluctant to agree to the installation of common measures.
Landlords will be able to take account of their individual circumstances when constructing business and financial plans for delivery of the EESSH. Landlords will be able to use temporary exemptions from meeting the EESSH minimum ratings in defined circumstances. This includes, from 2017, circumstances where landlords, despite all reasonable efforts, cannot access external funding to pay for a measure necessary, over and above business as usual upgrades, to achieve the EESSH.
It is proposed that there will be a review of the EESSH in 2017. It is acknowledged that a review period is prudent to enable a further consideration of the cost assumptions and the potential risks to landlords in achieving the standard, taking account of progress to date and the availability in practice of expected funding streams while also enabling further consideration of progress toward the 2020 milestone. The outcome of the review will inform future decisions on the terms of the EESSH, including setting further milestones beyond 2020.
The Scottish Housing Regulator ( SHR) will monitor compliance with the EESSH following support expressed for this role through the EESSH consultation. Social landlords will be required to collect robust data on their progress in delivering the EESSH and to provide the SHR with proportionate annual information on compliance.
Support for landlords and tenants
The Scottish Government and stakeholders have developed a dedicated EESSH website to help support landlords and provide further advice and information to tenants. The website contains a comprehensive range of publications, information and links. The EESSH website has a dedicated tenants' area and a Tenants' guide is available in a downloadable format.