Energy Efficient Scotland: recommendations from quality assurance short life working group

Independent, industry led recommendations on five key elements of Energy Efficient Scotland: quality assurance, building a workforce, consumer protection, procurement, and non-domestic sector.

Chapter 4: Focus on the Non-domestic sector

Non-domestic: a closer look

The majority of recommendations put forward in this report refer to both domestic and aspects of the non-domestic building stock. This is why the common denominator of "buildings" is used rather than "homes" or "dwellings". However, there are still a number of considerations which should be made when discussing quality assurance, skills and capacity in a non-domestic sector context and in relation to Energy Efficient Scotland.

For example, as highlighted in the Introduction of this report, much less is known on the energy performance of non-domestic buildings due to their diverse nature. Additionally, only approximately 15% of non-domestic buildings in Scotland have an EPC Assessment (30,000 out of 200,000). Improving the evidence base and knowledge on non-domestic energy efficiency in Scotland is a critical component to achieving the targets set out in the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map. The NDEE framework which is currently in place aims to accelerate the rate and scale of energy efficiency improvements in public sector buildings however, much less is known about the wider non-domestic stock and this is reflected in the opportunities discussed and recommendations identified below.

The Short Life Working Group perspective

The opportunities in the non-domestic sector in the context of quality assurance, skills and the supply chain, include:

  • Devising a way to gather existing information on non-domestic buildings from local authorities, which could be held centrally could help address the existing knowledge gap.
  • Due to the diverse nature of non-domestic buildings, recognising building archetypes and appropriate measures which fit those could be beneficial in advance of the installation process taking place. There is work underway by Historic Environment Scotland to identify non-domestic archetypes for pre-1919 buildings and this work could inform the development of development of traditional building archetypes.
  • The SLWG highlighted that there are no dedicated qualifications for completing energy efficiency retrofit on non-domestic buildings. This might present a challenge in conducting vetting and verification as part of the Programme but provides an opportunity to explore whether specialised training like this is needed.


As highlighted in the Introduction chapter of this report, the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map outlined that the Scottish Government will consult in 2019 on plans for the non-domestic sector and set out proposals by 2020, ahead of new regulations commencing in 2021. The recommendations in this chapter take this planned work into consideration and would suggest that Scottish Government ensure that they are aligned more widely with non-domestic energy efficiency developments.

Recommendation 17. Work to identify improvement targets for non-domestic buildings should be fed into ongoing supply chain activity.

As highlighted above, work on the energy efficiency of non-domestic buildings is already being taken forward as part of the development of Energy Efficient Scotland and will investigate and define improvement targets for various non-domestic building types on the basis of a notional building specification which illustrates 'what good looks like' for that particular type of building. This may identify different targets based upon building type or other relevant parameters. The work will also consider achieving improvement targets based upon action that is 'cost-effective' and technically feasible improvement as well as the phasing of regulations to capture an increasing proportion of our non-domestic stock..

As this work will define the levels of both improvement and activity arising from regulation of non-domestic buildings, it will be important for this output to be fed into ongoing activity on developing skills and capacity within the supply chain.

Recommendation 18. Examine whether there is a need for a qualification for individuals completing installation work on non-domestic buildings under Energy Efficient Scotland.

There is an opportunity to explore if there are any specific skills needed in installing energy efficiency measures in non-domestic buildings and whether these exist within the current energy efficiency and wider construction workforce. This work could be included in the skills and qualifications matrix developed by Energy Skills Partnership and detailed in Recommendation 7.



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