10. Gathering and Analysing Evidence
10.1. Views from the Programme consultation, which took place in January 2017, as well as the Private Rented Sector and Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy consultations (both November 2017) confirmed that a long-term standard would be needed to provide certainty and a clear direction of travel. To provide this it is proposed that all residential properties be required to achieve an energy performance certificate ( EPC) rating of EPC C by 2040. The use of EPCs as the Programme standard was chosen as they are well known and provide a clear way to model and understand the energy efficiency of a building. Some issues were raised with the use of EPCs and research has been commissioned to find ways to address those identified. Further work is being carried out to ensure that the EPCs more accurately record the energy efficiency of buildings.
10.2. Through a number of workshops and working groups who have been engaged in different aspects of the policy, views have been submitted and analysed. These views will be taken into account with any additional evidence gathered during the progress of the Programme which will include engagement with a variety of stakeholders including energy companies, environmental organisations, advisory groups, housing associations, private businesses and local authorities. Also the 'Second Consultation on Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies, and Regulation of District and Communal Heating'(November 2017) included specific equality impact-focused questions within the 'Assessment of Impact' section of the consultation to further gather evidence from stakeholders. The responses in this section will be independently analysed along with the others.
10.3. Reaching the long-term standard will require a mixture of encouragement and regulation that will differ between sectors. We are setting out different customer journeys to reflect how people within different sectors will proceed through the improvement process, what they need to do and what help and advice is available and from whom.
10.4. In improving a large proportion of buildings in Scotland, the policy could impact a high percentage of Scotland's population, especially older people and those experiencing poverty, where it is suggested that these groups would spend more prolonged periods at home and have a higher certainty of experiencing fuel poverty. The Programme will provide clear information on how energy efficiency can be improved in homes and businesses, what financial assistance is available and the long term benefits that could be achieved. Impacts could include the understanding of what the Programme is attempting to do, lack of finances and general lack of trust of both the Programme and the government.
10.5. The policy could also impact on businesses. With regard to owners, whether it be those who own the business or those who own the property, improvement work could disrupt business with an associated financial cost. With regard to skills, companies carrying out the work may need to increase their skill base and this, in turn, could mean an increase in cost to train their workforce to an acceptable level. The rollout of the Programme has the potential to create a substantial Scottish market and supply chain for energy efficiency services and technologies, with every £100 million spent on energy efficiency improvements in 2018 estimated to support approximately 1,200 full time equivalent jobs across the Scottish economy. As part of the overall commitment to the Programme, work will continue to provide support and actively promote the opportunities in this market.
10.6. Once fully operational, the Programme will be a whole system approach to delivering energy efficiency improvements and the provision of low carbon heat. A framework of energy efficiency standards, advice and funding will help create long term consistency and confidence for consumers and industry, backed up by legislation, where needed.
10.7. During the consultation period for both the Programme consultation and the supporting EESSH consultation, equality group representatives will be invited to comment and submit evidence in relation to those protected characteristic groups they represent. This will be taken into account together with any additional evidence gathered during discussions at consultation events and from formal responses received.
10.8. Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation is drawn from the Scottish House Condition Survey ( SHCS) module of the Scottish Household Survey  ( SHS) collected during 2016, and where insufficient information was available from this source, the 2011 Census. The statistics relate to the characteristics of the highest income householder – eg evidence relating to age and gender or to the characteristics of any of the members of the household such as provided under the disability heading.
10.9. Energy efficiency is relevant to all properties within both the domestic and non-domestic sectors. Owners can benefit from taking action to improve energy efficiency in their properties with the aim to lower costs and contribute to the eradication of fuel poverty. Requiring all households to meet the proposed standards will result in occupiers living in more energy efficient homes, reduction in fuel bills, make home and businesses more efficient to live and work in and improve wellbeing outcomes for our children and the more vulnerable people in our communities. It will improve the productivity and competitiveness of businesses and make a positive contribution to the Scottish economy.