Chapter 5 Understanding the existing stock
Social landlords and the Scottish Government should commit to working together in partnership to understand the current condition and investment needs of the existing social housing stock and develop appropriate collaborative solutions.
The Scottish Government agrees that work should be undertaken to understand the current condition and investment requirements of the existing social housing stock in order to identify the appropriate zero emissions heating solutions. We launched the Social Housing Net Zero Heat Development Fund to support social landlords to review their current housing stock and develop appropriate decarbonisation strategies and business plans. Applications to this fund are now closed but we will continue to review the requirement for resource funding.
Social landlords should undertake an in-depth and updated stock condition survey to assist in mapping the existing stock, including details of new builds, adaptations and previous retrofit measures. A standardised approach should be adopted to feed into the proposed Housing Stock Condition Group which will assist in tracking and working with the future mass rollout of key retrofit archetype solutions.
Scottish Government response
The Scottish Government agrees with this in principle. The recently launched development fund will allow social landlords the opportunity to carry out a condition survey of existing stock and develop plans to meet zero emissions targets. Applications to this fund are now closed but we will continue to review the requirement for resource funding.
We are committed to continuing to work with the sector to understand stock condition and to identify efficient and effective routes to gathering this information.
We will take forward opportunities to work in collaboration with the social housing sector to establish a standardised approach which will assist in the acceleration of retrofit across the social housing stock. This will seek to build on work that is already underway in a number of housing associations in Scotland to develop standardised approaches to retrofit. This will be taken forward as a core part of the EESSH2 review.
Additionally, Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) will provide a baseline of all buildings across each local authority area in terms of their energy efficiency performance and heat supply and map out pathways to decarbonisation. As part of this, it is anticipated that local authorities will reach out to social landlords as part of their engagement plans.
The proposed Housing Net Zero Technical Steering Group, supported by Scottish Government, should compile existing data through the Archetype, Fabric and Energy Systems Group (AFESG), including existing evaluations and case studies of previous retrofit programmes, in a central online repository, to provide shared learning outcomes for social landlords and other tenures. Development of key archetype solutions, based on specific new pilot data gathering projects should be undertaken for Scotland’s six largest housing archetypes, representing 80% of the stock.
Scottish Government response
The Scottish Government agrees with the need to develop an understanding of the needs and solutions of the different archetypes in Scotland’s social housing stock and we will work with the sector in developing this.
We will also publish and share case studies which will include the solutions and learning outcomes from the projects that have been funded by the Social Housing Net Zero Heat Fund.
It is envisaged that this would be for National Public Energy Agency to lead as part of its “Centre of Expertise“ role.
Where complex solutions or innovation grand challenge solutions are required for particular property archetypes, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CS-IC) should lead research and early pilots for heating prototypes, including research into lesser-known technologies which may offer effective and efficient heating replacements for more challenging archetypes.
Based on evidence from the Climate Change Committee, and extensive consultation for the development of our Heat in Buildings Strategy, we have prioritised heat pumps, heat network infrastructure and fabric energy efficiency as the strategically important technologies to deliver early progress in the heat in buildings transition. We believe that these are currently the best available technologies to deliver the transformational change that is required. It is essential that we prioritise deployment of these technologies through our funding programmes in low-regret circumstances.
However, we appreciate that there is some scope for innovation within these technologies to support performance improvement, cost reduction and building integration, and we will focus our innovation efforts in this direction. We will continue to keep lesser-known technology solutions under review, however, in order to protect consumers and ensure value for money, we continue to set a high bar for the technologies included within our funding programmes.
Our Heat in Buildings Supply Chains Delivery Plan, to be published later this year, will set out our approach to innovation within the heat in buildings programme and we will continue to work in collaboration with the social housing sector on this.
The Housing Net Zero Technical Steering Group should work with the Scottish Futures Trust to explore options for regional delivery vehicles/energy service companies (ESCOs) to support energy efficiency and decarbonisation works in the social housing sector. This should include an investigation into whether not-for-profit entities could manage works on behalf of a local authority and RSL, or a group of local authorities and RSLs.
Scottish Government response
The Scottish Government believes that this work should be undertaken by the Green Heat Finance Taskforce, which is working to develop a portfolio of financial solutions to ensure that by 2045, our homes and buildings no longer contribute to climate change, as part of the wider just transition to net zero.
Engagement with the social housing sector will take place as part of this work. As noted above, we are committed to establishing a social housing sub-group to look specifically at the funding and financing challenges specifically facing social housing.
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