Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) aim to establish local authority area-wide plans and priorities for systematically improving the energy efficiency of buildings and decarbonising heat. This report presents an evaluation of the Phase 2 pilots focusing on the organisational and social aspects, as well as a review of the reports generated by the projects.
The Phase 2 LHEES pilots aimed to:
- test and develop new methods for creating LHEES;
- identify relevant sources of data and data gaps; and to
- gain a fuller understanding of the resources and capabilities required to develop LHEES.
The findings and lessons can be used to inform the future development of this programme, for Scottish Government, local authorities, and project partners.
1. Test and develop new methods for creating LHEES
Through the pilots, project teams were able to develop an understanding of the process of developing a LHEES, and create an 'evidence base' of the building stock. Project teams also tested the socio-economic assessment methodology. Hiring consultants with knowledge of the local area, and working in close partnerships helped to ensure a sense of local ownership of LHEES.
- Additional guidance would be useful for ensuring consistency and parity across different local authorities. It would be helpful for this to retain an open scope, but provide a clear definition of what an LHEES is and what it encompasses, including suitable technologies.
- The socio-economic assessment methodology could be updated to include carbon emissions and fuel poverty alongside factors that underpin council decision making, including the creation of jobs and financial returns. A specific suggestion is to attribute a weighting factor to the financial benefit of the ability to not have to retrofit buildings again in the future.
2. Identify relevant sources of data and data gaps
Detailed energy consumption and building information was available for council-owned public sector buildings. Although EPC and Home Analytics data is available for privately owned and rented domestic properties, it was much harder to establish an accurate picture of individual building condition and energy consumption for businesses. The biggest hindrance to progress was the sharing of data amongst different organisations.
- A single repository for relevant data would support the development of a timely and consistent LHEES. Developing this would need to explore how detailed data can be provided whilst adhering to GDPR. Clear guidelines in terms of when data sharing agreements are required, and the provision of templates for these, would also be helpful.
- If LHEES is to include large businesses, there may be a need to create or reinforce mechanisms to encourage large businesses to engage with LHEES.
3. Gain a fuller understanding of the resources and capabilities required to develop LHEES
The development of a LHEES is highly technical. Key skills for this include the collation and analysis of numerous datasets, and knowledge of buildings and building services. LHEES also requires significant expertise in project management and strategies for engaging different stakeholders.
- Supporting and upskilling and continual development of local authority officers is vital for enabling the delivery of LHEES over the next 15-20 years. A helpful focus for this would be capabilities for the management, interpretation and analysis of data.
- Local authorities and consultants would benefit from being able to share information about the methodologies and data used in the development of LHEES; this includes both face-to-face interactions and online information sharing platforms.
- All of the local authority officers and consultants interviewed were in favour of LHEES becoming a statutory duty. This would offer more leverage to existing council strategies, but would be most effective if developed alongside enforcement and additional resource for local authorities. A specific suggestion was for a dedicated person within each local authority to support the development and management of LHEES.