New report examines net zero in social housing in Scotland

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A new report by Zero Emission Social Housing Task Force outlines recommendations on what is required to achieve zero emission housing whilst ensuring support for tenants in reducing their energy bills and achieving carbon savings.

In March 2021, the Zero Emissions Social Housing Taskforce (ZEST) was convened by the then Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.

Sally Thomas and Aubrey Fawcett, Co-Chairs of ZEST, were tasked with looking at the opportunities, barriers and solutions required of social housing to maximise its contribution to the Scottish Government’s ambitious climate change targets.

The resulting report makes eight recommendations:

  • The Scottish Government and social landlords should develop a collective commitment to a just transition in the social housing sector with clear metrics and sufficient budgetary investment to ensure this is successfully realised.
  • The Scottish Government should promote a Fabric First-approach as an essential first step towards decarbonisation, prioritising investment accordingly, and ensure that the promotion of a Fabric First approach is reflected appropriately in its review of The Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing post 2020 (EESSH2).
  • The Scottish Government should work with social landlords to ensure capital investment for social housing is adequate, structured and designed in line with the needs of the sector, and supports the social housing sector’s aim for a Fabric First-approach.
  • Social landlords and the Scottish Government must work together to plan ahead with certainty, including to work with new partners to access and maximise funding opportunities.
  • Social landlords and the Scottish Government should commit to working together in partnership to understand the current condition and investment needs of the existing social housing stock and develop appropriate collaborative solutions.
  • Social landlords and both local and national government should work in partnership to ensure individuals and communities are fully engaged and supported in the net zero transition.
  • All partners must work together to ensure there is sufficient workforce capacity in Scotland to deliver high-quality retrofit works in the social housing sector.
  • Social housing providers should continue to evaluate their wider impacts and ongoing contribution to tackling the climate emergency, through systematic monitoring and measurement.

The ‘Achieving net zero in social housing’-report is available in full on the Scottish Government website.