A low carbon Building Standards strategy for Scotland (the Sullivan report): 2013 update

An update on the 2007 Sullivan report, 'A low carbon Building Standards strategy for Scotland', about driving forward standards and innovation.


This Report is not a stand-alone document and should be read in conjunction with our original 2007 Report, which remains available on the Scottish Government website at www.scotland.gov.uk/sullivanreport.

Since the publication of the original Sullivan Report, significant progress has been made to implement the original recommendations. In January 2011, the Scottish Government published a progress report summarising the extent of investigation and implementation of the original Report recommendations (also available via the link above).

The Panel met on the 8th and 9th of May 2013. This time around, we did not start with quite the same 'blank canvas' that we had in 2007, though we have the benefit of hindsight. The construction industry has gone through difficult times with the economic downturn. The need to mitigate climate change is still there, but unlike before, Scotland now has legally binding targets to meet, set through the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. Additionally, from 2019 onward new development will have to respond to the

EU requirement for 'nearly zero energy' new buildings.

For this update, we were asked to consider three specific topics:

Eventual and Staged Standards - ambition and pace of change

Taking stock of the Scottish Government progress in implementing our original recommendations for reduction of carbon emissions from new buildings, and how the economic downturn has influenced what has been achieved. We were asked to think about the way forward for 'Eventual and Staged Standards' and what further improvement in building performance is now considered achievable.

Process - delivering a 'net zero carbon' standard for new development

Linking both to the 'Process' workstream of the original Report, and ongoing review on 'Eventual and Staged Standards', we were asked to consider the possibilities of extending 'net zero carbon' compliance for new buildings to include offsite and offsetting solutions. This follows work undertaken in England through the Zero Carbon Hub on the potential for 'Allowable Solutions' as part of a zero carbon standard for new homes.

Costings - recognising the value of energy efficient new buildings

The challenges surrounding the valuation of new buildings, with higher energy efficiency not being reflected in the value of properties. We were asked to reflect on the contribution that the building standards system can make to support financial market transformation in this area.

In reconvening the Panel, Scottish Ministers asked us to think strategically, with a focus on new buildings. We recognise that any work to take forward our views in these areas will require significant further dialogue between government and industry before broader discussion and public consultation.


Email: Building Standards Division

Back to top