Publication - Research and analysis

Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy pilots: phase 3 - evaluation

Evaluation of the third, and final, phase of Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES) pilots, which involved nine local authorities and took place between November 2019 and April 2021.

Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy pilots: phase 3 - evaluation
5. Conclusions

5. Conclusions

5.1 Outcomes and achievements

  • Local authorities involved in the Phase 3 LHEES Pilots were able to develop an understanding of the process of producing an LHEES, and access data to create an 'evidence base' of the local building stock.
  • Working in close partnership with consultants was seen as instrumental to delivering an LHEES pilot and is expected to be central to future area-wide LHEES programmes.
  • Phase 3 pilots confirmed that local authorities would not have the capacity and resources to develop an LHEES without funding from the Scottish Government.

5.2 LHEES Staffing and resources

  • The extent to which local authorities took ownership of the LHEES process was strongly dependent on the extent to which responsible officers felt they had the right skills and expertise as well as feeling empowered to lead on this work.
  • LHEES planning is highly resources intensive, and councils often struggled with the time commitment of the pilot, on top of existing workload.
  • Engagement and involvement from senior management and elected officials is also crucial, along with the need for further upskilling within Councils to enable effective engagement with and ownership and delivery of LHEES.

5.3 Data sources and gaps

  • LHEES development was a useful exercise for local authorities because it included accessing and analysing energy performance and building stock data in a way that they had not had the opportunity or incentive to do previously.
  • Through the LHEES pilots, local authorities also identified challenges posed by outdated data and software, and the limits this put on the reliability of the strategies to deliver decarbonisation.
  • Data on non-domestic building stock was scarce, resulting in non-domestic buildings featuring less prominently in the strategies.
  • Some councils also lacked internal expertise on software such as GIS.
  • As better data become available to the Scottish Government, it is essential that this is made available to local government.
  • It is also crucial that the Scottish Government ensures resources are available to allow for local authorities to upgrade council software and train staff in its use.
  • Local authorities should prioritise the maintenance of local buildings (domestic and non-domestic) datasets as part of the ongoing LHEES process.

5.4 Stakeholder engagement

  • The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected stakeholder engagement throughout Phase 3, resulting in limited or no engagement with non-council stakeholders and the wider public.
  • Council officers were unsure about who would be instrumental to LHEES success, and therefore who they should be engaging with.
  • They also felt that there was a lack of incentive for private sector actors and the public to engage in the implementation of LHEES.
  • The Scottish Government could usefully support local authorities with guidance and skills development in stakeholder mapping and relationship building and management.
  • Long term climate and energy policy clarity will further support public engagement with LHEES. The development of performance standards for properties across Scotland, linked to trigger points (e.g. sales and rentals) can drive engagement around climate change and local LHEES activities, and drive demand for retrofit.

5.5 Future implementation

  • There was broad support across local authorities involved in the Phase 3 pilots for LHEES to become a statutory duty. It was felt that this will be critical to secure both government funding and internal allocation of resources for the further development of area-wide LHEES.
  • A further conclusion from this evaluation of Phase 3 pilots is the need for the final LHEES methodology to provide sufficient structure and guidelines in order for councils to effectively implement LHEES in their local areas.
  • Implementation of LHEES will require appropriate long-term funding.
  • Adequate resourcing for the successful planning and delivery of LHEES is crucial. This includes financial support, skills development and guidance.
  • In introducing LHEES as a statutory duty, there needs to be an understanding of the resources and skills required to effectively deliver LHEES and assurance that these will be appropriately resourced.

Contact

Email: heatinbuildings@gov.scot