Warmer Homes Scotland programme: annual review 2018-2019

A review of how the Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme - part of the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland - has performed and made progress towards meeting its objectives.

Part 3: Objective 2 - Climate Change

Energy efficiency improvement is a strategic infrastructure priority for the Scottish Government and the second stated objective of Warmer Homes Scotland is to contribute to a reduction in the emissions of carbon dioxide from Scottish homes.

It is widely accepted that the most cost effective way to reduce emissions, and therefore tackle climate change, is by reducing demand for energy. Warmer Homes Scotland customers are able to benefit from low carbon and renewable heating measures to support the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change targets by decarbonising the heat supply in properties and, given the current climate emergency, this is of particular importance.

The scheme emphasises a “fabric first” approach to measures installation and imposes restrictions on support for certain high carbon fuel types such as oil central heating.

To establish the extent to which Warmer Homes Scotland is contributing to the reduction in domestic energy demand, and therefore meeting its climate change objective, this and earlier reviews have sought to answer the following questions:

  • Is Warmer Homes Scotland contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Does Warmer Homes Scotland offer the most suitable measures to respond to climate change challenges?

Table 5 shows the breakdown of the total number of measures installed in 2018/19, and from this, Figure 9 demonstrates the key findings and includes the full list of all measures offered under Warmer Homes Scotland.

The data analysed during the review indicates that, on average, the level of financial investment per household in providing energy efficient measures has increased by 3.9% from £4576 in 2017/18 to £4753 per household in 2018/19.

2018/19 was the first reporting year that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) annualised increase for measures prices and delivery prices for completed installations was applied to the contract, resulting in a 3% uplift.

In addition, the average SAP point gained per property in 2018/19 by installing energy efficient measures was 9.8, this demonstrates an increase of 0.2% when compared to the average SAP point gained of 9.6 in 2017/18. The average annual carbon emissions saved per household in 2018/19 -1.58 tonnes was the same as that saved in 2017/18.

The mix of measures installed to properties under the scheme in any one financial year can impact on the SAP points gained. The mix of measures installed during 2018/19 is different from the previous year as a result of some new enabling measures including asbestos removal and the installation of fuel storage tanks and energy efficient light bulbs being added to the Warmer Homes Scotland offer.

The measures installed will also be partly dependent on the type of properties applicants live in but also the perceived attractiveness of some of the non-mandatory measures available under the scheme.

The average SAP point gained per property during this period of this review represents lower fuel costs for these properties and lower associated carbon emissions as a result of receiving an installation under Warmer Homes Scotland.

Although a high percentage of all installations completed under Warmer Homes Scotland achieve a SAP increase it is recognised that not all installations result in a SAP increase. The most common reason for this are the known anomalies within the underlying assumptions and methodology that make up the SAP calculation process. Examples include some instances where LPG systems are installed – this fuel type, according to some assumptions within the SAP calculation process can come out as being less efficient than old electric heating or solid fuel systems. However, in real cost terms it can be a significantly less expensive heating system to run and therefore provides real term improvements in costs and customer comfort together with the associated health and wellbeing benefits of living in a warmer home.

It may be the case that there has been an increased level of support provided to rural, island, off-gas grid, stone-built or EPC Band D properties, any of which may incur higher costs per measure installed.

Recommendation 2 – Establish the causes for the increase in the costs of installations to ensure the scheme is providing maximum value for money.

However, it is reasonable to suggest that as decreasing numbers of “easy to treat” properties benefit from the installation of measures under Warmer Homes Scotland, the financial cost to improve the energy efficiency rating of the remaining properties inhabited by fuel poor households will increase. This would have a knock on effect on the associated climate change gains from Warmer Homes Scotland. In addition, the overall reduction in the number of gas boiler, cavity wall, loft insulation measures and energy efficient glazing and doors installed during 2018/19 when compared to 2017/18 will also have had an impact on the SAP points gained during 2018/19.

Analysis of Table 5 indicates a reduction in the number of measures installed under Warmer Homes Scotland from 28,903 in 2017/18 to 21,835 in 2018/19 which in percentage terms represents an over 24% reduction. This reduction may in part be due to the fact that fewer applications were received and processed overall.

However, there has been an increase in the number of energy efficient measures installed under the scheme when compared to the overall number of measures installed during 2017/18.

In 2018/19, Air Source Heat Pumps accounted for 122 (3.4%) completed installations (in comparison to 70 (1.42%) in 2017/18. Electric Storage Heating (for which the scheme installs modern, high heat retention storage heaters) accounted for 270 or 7.1% of completed installations in comparison to 201 or 6% of completed installations in 2017/18. The number of hot water systems installations also increased to 392 or 10.3% of completed installations in 2018/19 from 353 or 7.2% of completed installations in 2017/18.

There was a minimal decrease of 0.4% in the installation of energy efficient glazing and doors during the period of this report with 761 or 20% of completed installations in 2018/19 in comparison to 999 or 20.4% of completed installations in 2017/18.

The overall number of LPG boiler installations has reduced by 1% in 2018/19 from 200 installations or 4% of completed installations in 2017/18 to 114 installations or 3% of completed installations in 2018/19.

In addition, although there was an overall 21% reduction in natural gas boiler installations from 3327 installations in 2017/18 to 2627 installations in 2018/19 the overall percentage of completed installations remained the same at 68% for both 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The decrease in the installation of these carbon heavy fuel types will assist in the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation of heat targets and help in meeting climate change targets.

There was also a decrease in the overall number of cavity wall and loft insulation installations in 2018/19 when compared to 2017/18. Cavity wall installations decreased overall by 27% from 95 or 2% of completed installations in 2017/18 to 69 or 1.8% of completed installations in 2018/19.

There was also a 23% decrease in the overall number of loft insulation installations in 2018/19, from 500 in 2017/18 or 10.2% of completed installations to 386 or 10% of completed installations in 2018/19.

Lower cost insulation measures such as loft and cavity insulation are mandatory measures under the Warmer Homes Scotland contract unless the property already has insulation installed to the same or higher specification than that set out in the contract technical specification or where the surveyor determines that the measure is inappropriate or unsuitable for the property (but not because the customer does not want the measure installed).

There has been a decrease in of the majority of the completed insulation measures installed under the scheme during 2018/19 when compared the overall number of completed installations in 2017/18.

  • Cavity wall insulation installations decreased from 2% in 2017/18 to 1.8% in 2018/19;
  • External Wall insulation installations decreased from 2.7% in 2017/18 to 2.3% in 2018/19;
  • Flat Roof insulation installations decreased from 0.3% in 2017/18 to 0.2% in 2018/19;
  • Internal Wall insulation installations decreased from 0.6% in 2017/18 to 0.4% in 2018/19;
  • Pitched Roof insulation installations decreased from 0.2% in 2017/18 to 0% in 2018/19;
  • External Wall Insulation installations to Residential Park Homes decreased from 0.28% in 2017/18 to 0.24% in 2018/19;
  • Loft insulation installations remained the same at 10% in both 2017/18 and 2018/19; and
  • Draught Proofing increased from 3.8% to 4.3% of completed installations in 2018/19.

The decrease in insulation measures being installed under the scheme may be due to properties having benefited from insulation measures installed under previous Scottish Government funded insulation schemes or UK Government funded ECO schemes designed and delivered to improve the energy efficiency of properties.

Recommendation 3 - Establish how eligible households living in energy inefficient Residential Park Homes could further benefit from assistance from Warmer Homes Scotland.

Recommendation 4 - Explore the feasibility of combining help from Warmer Homes Scotland with other Scottish Government funded energy efficiency schemes i.e. Area Based Schemes to further improve the energy efficiency of Residential Park Homes.

Recommendation 5 - Review the data held on RdSAP ratings and locations and establish the relationship between the property type receiving measures installed under Warmer Homes Scotland and the RdSAP improvements post installation, with a view to establishing if no longer offering heating measures to those households in the private rented sector has impacted on SAP points gained. The review should also consider if the decrease in the installation of energy efficient glazing and doors during 2018/19 results in a further decrease in SAP points gained during 2019/20.

Recommendation 6 - Carry out an in-depth analysis of the SAP points gained data to establish the associated investment and carbon emissions savings or SAP point gains per recipient household. This should include an analysis of SAP point gains by Measures installed and fuel types.

Table 5 – Breakdown of measures installed in 2017/18 and 2018/19
Measure Name 2017/18 2018/19
Air Source Heat Pump 70 122
Asbestos Removal* 0 25
Asbestos Storage Heater Removal* 0 1
Biomass Boiler 2 1
Biomass Boiler – Back Boiler 0 0
Boiler Renewable Heat Source Repair 6 0
Building Fabric Electrical 0 0
Cavity Wall Insulation 95 69
Central Heat Pipe Enclosure 213 113
CO Detector 4121 3090
District Heating 0 1
Draught Proofing 188 163
Electric Load Upgrade 127 108
Electric Storage Heaters 301 279
Energy Efficient glazing/doors 999 716
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs* 0 83
External Wall Insulation 131 87
Flat Roof Insulation 15 6
Flexible Thermal Linings 0 0
Floor Insulation 53 53
Flue Gas Recovery Device 0 0
Gas Boiler LPG 200 114
Gas Connection 484 281
Gas Fired Condensing Boilers 3327 2627
Heating Hot Water & AC Control Hot Water Systems 4256 3211
Heating Secondary Systems 3235 2565
Heating System Insulation 3954 2977
Hot Water Systems 353 392
Hybrid Wall Insulation 0 1
Internal Wall Insulation 32 15
Lighting Fittings 0 0
Loft Insulation 500 386
LPG Detector Monitor 179 103
Mechanical Ventilation 0 0
Micro Combined Heat and Power 0 0
Micro Hydro Systems 0 0
Oil Fired Condensing Boilers 453 269
Oil Tanks* 0 2
Pitched Roof Insulation 10 0
Secondary Pipework Radiators & TVR Repairs 329 218
Smoke Alarms 5257 3750
Solar Blinds Shutters and Shades 0 0
Solar PV 5 0
Solar Thermal 6 6
Underfloor Heating 0 0
Variable Speed Pump and Fan Drives 2 1
Warm Air Heating Systems 0 0
Water Efficient Taps 0 0
Wind Turbines 0 0
Total 28903 21835

* New measures and enabling measures introduced during 2018/19

Figure 9 – Climate change related findings

  • 3818 completed households between April 2018 – March 2019
  • 1.58 tonnes of CO2 saved per household
  • £313 per year saved on average on energy bills
  • 9/10 customers received free measures
  • £4753 average measures worth per household
  • £485 average spending per SAP point
  • 9.8 SAP points average gain per household
  • 69% customers received a new gas boiler
  • 20% customers received insulation measures


Email: CEU@gov.scot

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