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Publication - Consultation Paper

Scottish Building Regulations review of energy standards: call for evidence

Published: 25 Jun 2018

This review is considering the next steps to improve the energy performance of buildings and reduce associated carbon emissions.

13 page PDF


13 page PDF


Scottish Building Regulations review of energy standards: call for evidence
Part 2 – Proposed scope of the review of energy standards

13 page PDF


Part 2 – Proposed scope of the review of energy standards

The energy standards introduced in October 2015 for new buildings, set targets that deliver an aggregate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 21% for new homes and 43% for other buildings over the previous 2010 standards. The 2015 changes follow previous reviews in 2007 and 2010 which also introduced step changes in the energy standards applicable to new buildings and new building work.

Emissions from new buildings constructed to current building standards are, on average, 75% lower than those constructed to the equivalent standards in force in 1990 (the baseline year for reporting on carbon emissions abatement).

This review of the energy standards, and the supporting guidance, will consider the next steps to increasing the level of abatement achieved in new construction work. The draft scope of the topics to be considered are:

  • Achieving further carbon abatement from new buildings – investigating further reductions including the levels proposed in the 2013 Sullivan Report update.
  • Setting of performance standards in terms of energy rather than emissions – recognising a stronger focus on energy demand reduction within Ministerial policy and EU legislation, we will investigate the benefits of setting targets in terms of energy demand whilst still reporting on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Achieving further carbon abatement from existing buildings – to support broader Scottish Government policy objectives, reviewing guidance on work to existing buildings to give more comprehensive information to support other drivers for the renovation of our existing stock.
  • Improvements to heating systems when replacing boilers – looking at the benefits of requiring the installation of heating controls when heat sources are upgraded, as well as other consequential actions, to enable systems to be operated at optimum efficiency (this follows discussion on similar work being undertaken in England by the UK Government).
  • Designed versus as-built performance – review on potential for action within the building standards system to improve the quality and performance of new buildings, including a comparison to their designed (calculated) performance.
  • Alignment of change with broader Scottish Government policy objectives – cross-cutting work to determine how building standards may assist other carbon and energy policy outcomes, including support for renewable heat and the reduction of energy demand through the use of new technologies.
  • Investigate current constraints affecting further emissions reduction – with other policy colleagues; topics include grid constraints on new generating sources and skills/capacity within the construction sector.
  • Action on EU requirements for 'nearly zero energy' new buildings from 2019/21UK work in this area is on-going and proposals will be developed for Ministers to consider in the context of Scotland's position in Europe, post-exit.

Two related items being considered within a separate review of miscellaneous building standards topics which began earlier in 2018, are:

  • Allowable solutions – consider the potential to set a 'net zero carbon' standard for new buildings through use of carbon offsetting measures unrelated to the buildings, as mentioned in the 2013 Sullivan Report update.
  • Enabling charging of electric vehicles - working in partnership with Transport Scotland, to investigate provision of EV charging points or enabling infrastructure within new buildings.

Any changes to the standards or supporting guidance will be subject to a public consultation.

It is anticipated that the next set of standards and supporting guidance will be introduced in October 2021 with the changes being published 1 year in advance. Versions of the national calculation methodologies ( SAP & SBEM) will be available before the revised standards and guidance take effect.

The review will also consider all relevant actions/findings arising from the Fire Safety and Compliance & Enforcement reviews that are currently in progress.