Home Energy Efficiency Equity Loan pilot - call for evidence on potential national rollout: analysis of responses
Independent analysis of the responses to the call for evidence on the potential to develop an Equity Loan Scheme as part of the suite of support schemes for the decarbonisation of Scottish homes. Read the call for evidence: https://www.gov.scot/publications/equity-loan-scheme-call-evidence/pages/1/
The Scottish Government (SG) is committed to improving energy efficiency in homes and decarbonising heat to help tackle climate change. A pathway to net zero-emission buildings by 2045 is set out in the Heat in Buildings Strategy, which details a series of near-term actions and long-term commitments to accelerate the decarbonisation of new and existing buildings.
One mechanism which could potentially improve the energy efficiency of housing stock in Scotland is being trialled through the Home Energy Efficiency Equity Loan Pilot. Established by the SG in January 2017 and closing in March 2022, the pilot allows eligible homeowners to borrow up to £40,000 from the SG against the value of their property to fund eligible works, including energy efficiency measures, heat loss reduction measures and repairs. Loan holders must repay the loan in full when they sell their home or transfer ownership. The loan is available for properties in council tax bands A to C or for properties in all council tax bands where the owner receives qualifying benefits.
The pilot scheme operates in 8 local authority areas: Argyll & Bute, Dundee, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire, Stirling and Western Isles. Since the pilot's inception in 2017, 136 loans have been offered, with an average loan value of £18,382. The Scottish Government is considering developing the pilot as part of the suite of support schemes for the decarbonisation of buildings set out in the Heat in Buildings Strategy.
Sources of evidence included in this report
A Call for Evidence opened on 2nd August 2021 and closed on 8th October 2021. It contained 15 questions; 10 questions had both an open and closed question element, while the remaining 5 were open questions. The questions covered: the potential benefits and challenges of expanding the pilot to a nationwide scheme, how the delivery of the loans could be enhanced to support a nationwide uptake, and the scope and eligibility of loan offers. The Call for Evidence is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to understand a wide variety of stakeholder views and to collect input on how the pilot could be modified or enhanced if the decision is made to proceed to a nationwide scheme.
The Call for Evidence was supplemented by three stakeholder webinars which were attended by 57 stakeholders from 39 different organisations, many of which also submitted formal responses to the Call for Evidence. A feedback survey was also conducted among 38 homeowners who used the Equity Loan pilot to fund energy efficiency improvements to their homes and who had completed the journey from application to completion of works. This report draws on the relevant finding from each of these three sources; a full report on the feedback survey is available as a separate document.
Profile of Call for Evidence respondents
The Call for Evidence received 31 responses. Of these, 27 were submitted via the online consultation platform Citizen Space. A further four responded with an alternative format, for example, a PDF document. One-third of responses (10) were from an individual, with the remaining 21 submitted by organisations. A variety of organisations took part in the consultation, including 6 local authorities, two Care & Repair organisations and organisations from the housing, energy and surveying sectors, including Tighean Innse Gall, Elmhurst Energy and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Other participating organisations included Nationwide, Historic Environment Scotland and Age Scotland.
Responses to the consultation, where permission for publication was granted, can be found on the Scottish Government's website.
Approach to analysis and reporting
This report presents the range of views expressed and trends among responses. The analyst team applied a qualitative coding framework based on a review of the Call for Evidence questions and a sample of responses. Where alternative format responses contained information that did not align to specific questions, analysts exercised judgement about the most relevant place to include this material for analysis purposes.
While qualitative analysis of open-ended questions does not permit the quantification of results, we signify the weight of a particular view using the following framework:
- The most common theme / the most prevalent theme in responses (and second most common), i.e., the most frequently identified.
- 'Several' or 'many' respondents (10+), i.e., a recurring theme but not most common.
- 'Some' respondents (5-9), i.e., another theme.
- 'A few' or 'a small number' of respondents (3-4); a minor theme.
- Where only one or two people have made a specific point, we have described this as 'two respondents' and 'one respondent' or 'a singular comment'.
This report is set out as follows:
- This section closes with a quantitative summary of the closed questions contained in the call for evidence.
- Chapter 2 presents an analysis of responses to Q1-3 which address views and experiences of the Equity Loan pilot.
- Chapter 3 covers Q4-Q6, which focus on the potential contribution of a nationwide scheme and views on the measures which should be included.
- Chapter 4 addresses Q7-Q9, which consider fuel poverty and consumer protection.
- Chapter 5 presents the analysis of Q10-Q12, which cover the opportunities and challenges presented by expanding the pilot.
- Conclusions are set out in Chapter 6.
|Question||Yes||No||Not answered||Providing Open-ended response|
|Q1: What is your view on the use of equity in people's homes in order to support the decarbonisation of buildings and the improvement of energy efficiency as a means to improve wellbeing and support independent living?||NA||30||97%|
|Q2: If you have direct experience of the Equity Loan pilot, please provide views or evidence of the impact of the loan product and support provided.||NA||23||74%|
|Q3: Do you have views on the eligibility and scope of the pilot as it exists now? Please explain your answer||27||87%||1||3%||3||10%||29||94%|
|Q4: What is your view on the contribution a nationwide Equity Loan scheme focused on both energy efficiency and decarbonised heat solutions can make towards supporting our climate change and fuel poverty targets?||NA||30||97%|
|Q5: Please provide your views on the proposal to expand the Equity Loan pilot to a full nationwide support scheme.||NA||30||97%|
|Q6: Do you have a view on which energy efficiency measures and zero-emission heating solutions should be included in the list of eligible measures? Please explain your position||20||65%||7||23%||4||13%||25||81%|
|Q7a: Do you agree that a nationwide Equity Loan can support the reduction of fuel poverty in Scotland? Please explain your answer||22||71%||5||16%||4||13%||26||84%|
|Q7b: Do you have any suggestions on how a future scheme could better support a reduction in fuel poverty in Scotland? Please explain your answer||22||71%||4||13%||5||16%||23||74%|
|Q8a: The Equity Loan pilot uses the EPC recommendations as a basis for eligible measures which can be funded by the loan, and we will be consulting on a reformed EPC assessment process to better align with wider net-zero objectives as part of our Heat in Buildings Strategy. Do you agree with using the EPC in this way for a future scheme? Please explain your answer.||22||71%||6||19%||3||10%||28||90%|
|Q8b: Can you provide any alternatives? Please explain your answer.||10||32%||15||48%||6||19%||14||45%|
|Q9a: Do you agree with the proposed approach to consumer protection set out above? Please explain your position.||21||68%||4||13%||6||19%||19||61%|
|Q9b: Are there any additional consumer protection measures that can be considered within Scottish Government competence? Please explain your position.||14||45%||9||29%||8||26%||21||68%|
|Q10: The expansion of the pilot could provide a greater opportunity for eligible homeowners to participate in scheduled refurbishment works being undertaken by local housing associations and local authorities. Do you have suggestions on how best to achieve such a working partnership? Please explain your position.||22||17%||3||10%||6||19%||23||74%|
|Q11: Do you have any suggestions on how to ensure delivery of the scheme is efficient and robust, including the legal process and customer support service whilst ensuring value for money? Please explain your answer.||19||61%||5||16%||7||23%||26||84%|
|Q12: Please provide your views on any challenges and/or opportunities offered by the potential expansion of the pilot.||NA||25||81%|
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