Energy Efficient Scotland - improving energy efficiency in owner-occupied homes: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to the Energy Efficient Scotland: improving energy efficiency in owner-occupied homes consultation.

Chapter 1: Introduction and background

1.1 Policy context

This report presents analysis of responses to the Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving Energy Efficiency in Owner-Occupied Homes public consultation. The consultation exercise ran from 19 December 2019 to 9 April 2020. The consultation involved an online questionnaire with nine multiple choice questions and 23 free-text questions. 

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings in Scotland is an important aim for the Scottish Government, particularly in contributing to priorities around fuel poverty[7] (by ensuring that homes are more affordable to heat) and climate change (by helping to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases).[8]In 2018, the Scottish Government published the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map, a 20 year programme involving action across the private rented, social rented, owner-occupied and non-domestic sectors aimed at making Scotland's buildings warmer, greener and more energy efficient.[9] An update to the Route Map will be included in the Scottish Government's draft Heat in Buildings Strategy, which will be published in February 2021.

The owner-occupied sector accounts for 62% of homes in Scotland, but only 38% of these homes are rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C or above, meaning that 930,000 homes are below that standard.[10]The Route Map set out proposals that all owner-occupied homes should reach EPC Band C by 2040, including consideration of a mandatory requirement to reach this standard from 2030.[11] 

The Scottish Government conducted a consultation in 2019 to inform further development of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme.[12] The findings of this consultation, together with the increasing focus on the climate emergency, led to the Scottish Government committing in its Programme for Government 2019-20[13] to publish proposals to accelerate the timescale for improving energy efficiency standards in owner-occupied housing.

Following this, the Improving Energy Efficiency in Owner-Occupied Homes consultation document set out the Scottish Government's proposals for the nature of the proposed standard for owner-occupied homes; and for the intention to make this legally-binding from 2024. The consultation invited feedback from the public to help shape plans for improving energy efficiency in owner-occupied housing.

1.2 Responses to the consultation

The consultation took place between 19 December 2019 and 9 April 2020 and received 150 responses via the Citizen Space online portal and email. Two responses were removed as duplicates. 

No 'campaign responses'[14] were identified during the analysis. 

Overall, 148 responses were included in the analysis, of which 79 were from individual members of the public and 69 were from organisations. 

Table 2 provides details of the 148 respondents included in the analysis broken down by type of respondent and organisation sector.

Table 2: Breakdown of respondents with organisational respondents classified by organisation sector 
Category Number of respondents Percentage of respondents
Organisations 69 47%
Academics 2 1%
Building component manufacturers or services 4 3%
Community group 3 2%
Energy-related private sector 13 9%
Local authority or interagency partnership 10 7%
Anonymous organisation 1 1%
Private landlord or property management 1 1%
Professional or representative body 24 16%
Public sector or body 2 1%
Scottish Government delivery partner 2 1%
Third sector 7 5%
Individuals 79 53%
TOTAL 148 100%

Appendix 2 provides a full list of organisations which responded to the consultation.

The questions included in the consultation were wide-ranging, and findings related to each of them have been outlined in detail in this report. Many of the views expressed were mixed, with numbers of respondents in favour of the proposals often being similar to those against the proposals overall. In general, organisations tended to be more likely to be in favour of proposals than individuals. 

1.3 Analysis of responses

The consultation involved a questionnaire with 32 questions, of which 23 were free-text and nine had both a multiple choice and free-text component. 

The remainder of this report presents a question-by-question analysis of the responses to the consultation. 

All Citizen Space and email responses were collated into one master Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, and the responses to the multiple-choice questions were quantitatively analysed using Excel to identify the number and percentage of respondents selecting each option. Cross-tabulations were produced to break down responses by respondent category (e.g. by individuals and organisations and by organisation sector) and to identify any differences in opinion between different groups. A breakdown of responses by respondent type and organisation sector is presented in Appendix 1.

To analyse responses to the free-text, qualitative questions, the Excel spreadsheet was imported into NVivo. Where email responses were not structured according to the questions laid out in the consultation document, relevant responses were categorised under relevant questions. 

Responses to the purely open questions and the free-text elements of the closed questions were analysed and assessed for any patterns by respondent category, for example between individuals and organisations, or among different organisational sectors. Responses were manually coded and cross-referenced with auto-coding. The coded responses were explored and analysed by running queries by question, theme, respondent type and so on to form a clear understanding of the evidence.

As with any public consultation exercise, it should be noted that respondents usually have a particular interest in the subject area. The self-selecting nature of the respondents therefore means that the views expressed throughout this report cannot necessarily be seen as representative of wider public opinion. 

Throughout the analysis, terms have been used to indicate the prevalence of certain viewpoints or suggestions. The following provides definitions of the approximate proportions referred to when these terms are used:

All - 100% Many – more than half A minority - less than one-fifth
The majority – over four-fifths Some – one fifth to a half A few – up to five

Please note that the number of responses represented by some of these terms will vary based on the number of respondents commenting on a question.



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