Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes

Page 1 of 6

Closes 9 Apr 2020

Part 1 - Setting the energy efficiency standard for owner-occupied housing

We are proposing that energy efficiency standards should be introduced for owner-occupied housing, and that they should be legally binding. In this section we describe proposals and options for:

  • What those legally binding standards should be.
  • When they should start operating across Scotland.
  • When they should apply to an individual property or homeowner.
  • How compliance should be checked and enforced.
  • What valid reasons there might be for not complying or only partially complying with the standard.

Read Part One of the consultation paper.

1. Do you agree or disagree that there should be a legally-binding energy efficiency standard for owner-occupied housing?
2. Do you agree or disagree that EPC Energy Efficiency Rating band C is the appropriate standard to use?
3. What are your views on the “fabric first” approach?

"Fabric first" approach

No matter how you heat your home, improving your insulation and reducing draughts will make your home easier to heat, will mean less energy is wasted and could save you on your fuel bills.

So one option is to base the standard on the Energy Efficiency Rating of C as planned, but give an exemption to those properties which do not meet EPC C, despite having all appropriate fabric energy efficiency measures and renewable or low carbon heating source (eg air source heat pump or district heating system) installed.

4. In your view, how can we ensure that when EPCs are used to determine compliance with the standard, they are robust and not easily open to misuse?
5. Do you think the standard should be fixed, or should it be subject to periodic review and change over time?
6. Do you agree or disagree that 2024 is the right start date for the mandatory standard to start operating?
7. Do you agree or disagree with point of sale as an appropriate trigger point for a property to meet the legally-binding standard?
8. Do you agree or disagree that responsibility for meeting the standard should pass to the buyer if the standard is not already met at point of sale, as described above?
9. What, if any, unintended consequences do you think could happen as a result of these proposals? For example, any positive or negative effects on the house sales market.
10. Do you agree or disagree with point of major renovation as an appropriate trigger point for a property to meet the legally-binding standard?
11. What is your view on how “major renovation” should be defined? Should the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive definition, as described in Annex B, be used?

Annex B

When householders make improvements to their homes need to comply with Scottish Building Standards[1]. If a builder is doing the work for you, it’s the responsibility of a builder to meet Scottish Building Standards.  But it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to ensure that the builder does so.

In some cases, building work and renovations may need a building warrant. All works must meet building regulations, even if no building warrant is required. Householders should always check with their local building standards department if they need a building warrant, before carrying out any renovations.

Currently, with some limited exceptions, building regulations in Scotland don’t require a homeowner to make any “consequential improvements”[2]. We are proposing that a consequential improvement requirement could be brought in, to require homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home when undertaking a major renovation.

A likely definition of ‘major renovation’ could be based on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)[3]. The Directive has been revised to build a forward-looking climate change policy.  The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is, together with the Energy Efficiency Directive, the main legislative instrument to promote the energy performance of buildings and to boost renovation within the EU,

 Major renovation is cited in the EPBD definition(s) – Article 2: ‘major renovation’ means the renovation of a building where:

(a) the total cost of the renovation relating to the building envelope or the technical building systems is higher than 25 % of the value of the building, excluding the value of the land upon which the building is situated; or

(b) more than 25 % of the surface of the building envelope undergoes renovation;

In 2012, we consulted[4] on options for the appropriate definition of major renovation, and ‘cost’, outlined in Article 2(a) of the EPBD was the preferred options from stakeholders.

The definition of major renovation will help outline when the trigger point is activated. It is highly likely a building warrant will be required in those circumstances, though a homeowner should always check.

We are keen to hear views on the EPBD definition of major renovation to be used as the definition of the trigger point. We also want to hear of any other potential views on appropriate definitions of major renovation.

12. How could a requirement to meet the energy efficiency standard at point of major renovation be checked and enforced?

Who should be responsible for this?

13. What do you think would be a fair and appropriate method to ensure compliance, if the legally-binding standard is not met? What type of penalty system would be appropriate?
14. Should a penalty for failing to comply with the standard be one-off or recurring?
15. At what level, approximately, should any penalty be set?
16. Are there any particular groups of people who could be adversely affected, more than others, by enforcement processes and charges?
17. Which body or bodies should check if the standard has been complied with at the trigger point, and should be responsible for levying any penalty?
18. Considering the information set out in the consultation document, specifically Part One and in Annex D, what are your views on the best way to approach cost effectiveness, taking into account the trade-offs between how easy to understand and how sophisticated different definitions are, and how the different definitions might affect the number of homes that actually achieve the EPC C standard?
19. Other than technical feasibility and cost effectiveness, are there any other reasons why a homeowner may not be able to bring their property up to EPC C at point of sale or renovation, and would need to be given an exemption or abeyance? (For example, difficulties of getting permission from other owners for common parts of buildings.)
20. Do you agree or disagree that, even if a property can’t fully meet the standard, it should be required to get as close as possible to it?
21. Do you agree or disagree that any exemptions or abeyances from the standard should be time-limited?
22. Which body or bodies should take decisions about granting abeyances? Should this be done at a local level or centrally at a national level?