This government wants all our homes to be warmer, greener and more efficient, and for housing to play a full part in Scotland's efforts to tackle climate change.
Last year we published the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map, with the dual aims of removing poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, we have taken concrete steps towards these goals.
In the social housing sector, progress towards energy efficient homes is already well advanced. The Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) reports that 85% of social rented homes are already meeting the first 2020 energy efficiency milestone. Under the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing post-2020 (EESSH2) a challenging and ambitious target is set for social rented homes to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band B by December 2032, or to be as energy efficient as practically possible within the limits of cost, technology and necessary consent.
In June this year, we consulted on energy efficiency regulations in the private rented sector (PRS). From 1 April 2020, PRS landlords will need to meet minimum energy efficiency standards (EPC Band E) for new tenancies, and for all tenancies by 31 March 2022. After that, all new tenancies must meet minimum energy efficiency standards of EPC Band D for new tenancies after 1 April 2022, and for all tenancies by 31 March 2025.
But there is much still to be done. Most homes in Scotland (62%) are owned by their occupants, so regulations for social or privately rented homes will not apply to them. Only 38% of owner-occupied homes are at EPC band C or better, which means around 930,000 homes are still below that level.
Two vital pieces of legislation have also passed through Parliament this year. The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019 and the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 each set ambitious targets - to eliminate poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty, and to end Scotland's contribution to climate change by reaching net zero emissions by 2045.
All of this means that we need to go faster and further where we can do so in a way that is fair and just. In the context of a global climate emergency we must look to all parts of society to take action to cut emissions. We consulted in March this year on the impacts of accelerating Energy Efficient Scotland. Our analysis of the responses has been published and the proposals in this consultation are an important part of how we can make faster progress.
Last year In the Route Map we outlined our plan to encourage homeowners to improve their energy efficiency until 2030, after which we would consider a legally-binding standard. This consultation outlines our proposals to set a standard for energy efficiency and make it legally binding on homeowners from 2024 onwards.
This document sets out what that standard may look like and how we can help homeowners meet it. We also provide updates on areas which are being developed to support Energy Efficient Scotland, including proposals from the Short Life Working Group on Assessment and the research underway to define cost effectiveness.
We look forward to continuing this conversation as we work together to deliver our bold vision of making every home in Scotland warmer, greener and more energy efficient. We encourage you to respond and look forward to hearing your views.
Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning
Paul Wheelhouse MSP
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands