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Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES), Scotland

Decarbonising Scotland's building stock through locally-led planning

The Scottish Government has ambitions to decarbonise buildings across Scotland. With plans to ensure all homes and buildings no longer contribute to climate change by 2045, national and local government have a responsibility to deliver this scale of transformation alongside the private sector and general public.

Tailoring delivery plans to local contexts will be key to achieving this change. Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) are at the heart of a place based, local approach to heat transition and critical to implementing a local area-wide climate action strategy.

Over the last five years, Arup has worked with the Scottish Government and their delivery agency Zero Waste Scotland to build capacity in low carbon heat planning amongst local authorities to ensure their targets can be met.

With LHEES now mandated and due for delivery by the end of 2023, we collaborated with Zero Waste Scotland and a number of local authorities to support the development of the LHEES methodology, which guides Scotland’s local authorities in establishing priorities, plans and programmes to improve energy efficiency in buildings and support the transition to a decarbonised heat supply.

We are also creating an innovative combination of the LHEES methodology and workflow, and the Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) methodology and toolchain, which is being rolled out across several local authorities in England and the entirety of Wales.

Project Summary

100+ stakeholders

95%time saved for local authorities

500maps and 54GB of data generated

The digital journey

Prior to launching the methodology, we worked on the LHEES National Assessment which involved carrying out the first four stages of the LHEES for all 32 local authorities, including establishing a building energy baseline for each. To automate this task, we developed a series of Python and SQL scripts which alleviated the analytical burden on officers when producing their LHEES. This identified areas with high potential for heat pump retrofit as well as areas with poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty that should be prioritised for fabric retrofit. Adopting a cloud-based approach to automation, we ensured the analytical processes produced accurate and repeatable outputs to optimise efficiency and minimise human error. We calculated that local authorities could save up to 95% in time when using our interactive maps in comparison to the same analysis being undertaken by the 32 local authorities individually.

The work presents the Scottish Government with a robust and up to date evidence base in a highly visual GIS compatible format, highlighting the potential for large-scale, heat focused decarbonisation programmes across Scotland.

We’re now seeing the benefits of several years of cross-sector and cross-UK collaboration, as we work with the Scottish Government, Scottish Local Authorities and energy network operators to bring together the best approaches for LHEES and local area energy planning. Together we’re making significant progress in planning for the just energy transition across local authority areas of Scotland. ” Stuart Hallett Stuart Hallett Associate

Integrating LHEES and LAEP

Following the National Assessment, we supported a number of local authorities in the development of their LHEES, which are critical to implementing a local area-wide climate action strategy. Through these projects, we explored how to integrate the LHEES data and plans with the constraints and development plans of the electricity and gas networks. We also helped the councils to align a range of cross-department policies and funds with LHEES, where targets and outcomes are aligned and mutual delivery programming would be beneficial. 

We are currently building upon the foundations of LHEES to consider the wider energy system by delivering a LAEP alongside the LHEES work for both Dundee City Council and Perth & Kinross Council. These projects aim to bring both methodologies together to help decision makers understand  the local authority’s net zero energy system of the future, including building interventions, renewable energy generation, electricity grid infrastructure and transport decarbonisation.

A key focus of the work is to bridge the gap between LHEES/LAEP outcomes and business case development – an important step in moving energy transition programmes and projects to deployment and delivering sustainable and resilient energy solutions for businesses, cities, towns and communities.

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