Practical Steps to EESSH Compliance

On Wednesday 27th May, Parity Projects and Keepmoat jointly hosted an event at The Lighthouse, Glasgow to explore with representatives from 40 social landlords the current understanding and progress towards meeting the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) that was launched in 2015 by the Scottish Government.

Our view before the event was that for many landlords, what to do to meet their EESSH obligations remained something of a mystery – even though the first report is due in Spring 2016. The event focussed on the practical steps required to develop a long-term EESSH compliance plan, and how to design and deliver retrofit programmes that bring homes up to the required standard.

The agenda was:

  • EESSH Update – Jonathan Grant, Head of Housing Standards, Scottish Government
  • Creating and EESSH Strategy – Russell Smith, Managing Director, Parity Projects
  • Funding and Delivering EESSH Measures – Nigel Banks, Group Sustainability Director, Keepmoat
  • Getting Ready for EESSH, a Case Study – David Adam, Director of Housing and Property Services, Linstone Housing

This was followed up with a panel session to which, David Stewart, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and Janet Dickie of the Scottish Housing Regulator.

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Jonathan Grant, Scottish Government

Jonathan Grant, Scottish Government
Jonathan started first with a thorough overview of the standard and what each landlord will need to do to meet it. Of particular interest to the audience was:
• SAP conversions to allow data to be converted from 2009 to 2012 coming free from Scottish Government
• A tool to allow landlords to assess the number of EPCs that exist on their stock – provides insights into freehold only properties.
• There will be a review of EESSH in 2017 based on progress on meeting the standard to that point.

Russell Smith, Parity Projects
At the start, Russell Smith posed the following two questions to the audience:
1. Are 100% sure that you are ready for the EESSH reporting?
2. Do you have plan fully in place for energy assetNew Picture management for the long term?
No hands.

Russell took the attendees through the range of techniques available through the CROHM service to allow a demonstrable strategy to be created and presented to the regulator.

Nigel Banks and Carol Mackay of Keepmoat     Ably demonstrated that a mix of funding has helped to get schemes moving. They have helped many landlords to get projects off the ground with their access to funding and delivery expertise.

David Adam, Linstone
Linstone have carried out a large amount of retrofit focussed on EWI with a range of funding streams. Regeneration of the area is a key outcome of the retrofit works, and this is not measured by EPC scores. Short terms site tensions were inevitably there but the memory of the hassle was long gone when the review questionnaires were sent 8 weeks later.
Lots of the properties hover around the SAP68 mark and can be nudged over the EESSH line with simple measures such as tariff switching (dual vs single tariff)
He wanted to his baseline performance and what was left to achieve. This was carried out, but with a bonus of upgrade scenarios.
Russell posed David the challenge of revisiting his funding deals with the new information.

Panel Discussion
Some of the salient points:

Regulator: 100% EPCs will not be required to meet the standard, but proof of upgrade plans are required and demonstrable progress is required.
Scottish Government: No trajectory yet but expectation is that the standard will rise given Scottish Govt commitment on climate change targets
• There will be some focus on the definition of ‘reasonable measures’ and
• ‘Temperature take back’ post-installation (i.e. less than expected savings) is not a bad thing if we get people a home that is warmer.
Discussion: Penetration of the measures has not occurred beyond the cities – the general view was that regulatory environment for contractors makes it a less attractive market to do business for smaller firms.