Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce technical sub-group minutes: 24 May 2021

Minutes of the Zero Emission Social Housing Taskforce technical sub-group meeting on 24 May 2021

Attendees and apologies

  • Aubrey Fawcett – Chief Executive, Inverclyde Council and SOLACE (Chair)
  • Duncan Smith – Renfrewshire Council
  • Mark McArthur – Energy Saving Trust (EST)
  • Paul Leask - Hjaltland HA and Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum
  • Casandra Dove – SFHA
  • Stephen Kemp – Orkney Builders
  • Colin Reid – Wheatley Group
  • Sean Smith – Edinburgh University
  • Roddy Hamilton – Changeworks
  • Roger Curtis – Historic Environment Scotland
  • Graeme Bruce – West Highland Housing Association
  • Graeme Hannah - Robertson Group
  • Bruce Cuthbertson – Tenant Participation
  • Michael Cameron – Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Chris Morgan – John Gilbert Architects

SG Secretariat

  • Simon Roberts
  • Tony Cruickshank

SG Officials

  • Ragne Low – Heat Strategy Unit
  • Matthew Wilson – Housing, Homelessness & Regeneration Analysis Team
  • Emaline Kulasinghe – Energy & Climate Change
  • Amy Tickell – Low Carbon Support Unit


  • Catriona MacKean – Scottish Government
  • Naeem Bhatti – Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and previous meeting minutes

The chair welcomed attendees and the previous meeting note was deemed as an accurate record

Tech Sub-group proposals/principles document

The Tech Sub-group proposals/principles document was discussed and the following sections were either accepted by group or agreement for them be revised/amended further:

  1. Confidence in future energy provisionAccepted
  2. Understanding the existing stock and preparing for investment Accepted
  3. Fabric first approachAccepted, a fundamental review of EESSH & EPC and issue on timescales was noted.
  4. Education and communication to support technological solutionsTo be amended, explanation on what Net Zero Emission actually means to the public. SG campaign to be launched soon.
  5. Quality control and skillsTo be amended, Chair indicated that the groups that he has met are geared up for this requirement.  The issues of trades availability and costs for accreditation was highlighted and the potential for limiting in  highland and island areas. Elsewhere, though, PAS2035 seen as valuable tool to add quality and rebalance of market control by contractors. Accreditation needs to be achieved, but shouldn’t be seen as onerous. The possibility of single person being accredited rather than whole sub-contractor could be seen as a work around. The use of animations could be used for straightforward requirement training. The potential need for a technical enquiry point (on-call unit) and the need for policing to ensure that the appropriate standard is maintained. There needs to be a balanced approach, similar to CSCS which can be done online for accreditation and that this needs to be practical for training. Any requirement shouldn’t act as a barrier to funding and that any handbooks should be made readily available.

From other groups:

  • Just Transition Commission – Accepted
  • Existing Homes Alliance – Accepted
  • Energy Action Scotland – To be amended, ECO Funding and PAS2035 accreditation. Availability of training issue, concern of skills falling away and timescales issues for contractor accreditation. Suggestion that expectation to be accreditation in due course to allow for timescales. Chair to speak to others to determine wording.

Addressing embodied energy and CO2

From other groups:

  • Infrastructure Commission for Scotland – Accepted
  • Scotland’s Climate Assembly – Accepted
  • Zero Waste Scotland – Accepted

Addressing the performance gap – Possible 2-phased approach was suggested to address expectations v reality.

 Existing Scottish Government commitments

  • Draft Heat in Buildings Strategy – Accepted
  • Forthcoming consultation on EPCs – Accepted

Other groups:

Outputs from discussions with Skills Development Scotland/Scottish Funding Council

The chair discussed his meetings with various stakeholders and asked the group to highlight the need for immediate action on specific training.

Data gathering and Archetypes

Presentation given on archetypes, skills and supply, suggestion of the creation of steering group to look at archetypes and provide data. The need to gather data during winter is required. Highlighted the lack of materials affecting suppliers.

Action: Sean Smith to produce paper

Fabric First and Net Zero

Discussion about fabric first approach and overall need to work to net zero target. View of group is that net zero risks exacerbating fuel poverty unless we get fabric right. Agree aim is to get to net zero but we need fabric as a foundation, which will enable us to get to net zero.

Funding for pilot projects discussion

Agreement that there needs to be pilot projects undertaken and discussion on the Scottish Government’s Social Housing Net Zero Fund. Discussion also on alternative energy projects, such as microwave boilers and the need for a regimented approach and the collecting of data over a one year period and that more work needs done on the strategic map of the sector.

Establishing a longer term technical group to support the sector

Agreement that there is a need to undertake further work and have another Sub-group meeting in a 2 week period.

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