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Sociology: Research


Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) - Pilot evaluation

Latest reports and publications

(Report) Bush, R., Webb, J., Wakelin, J. Flynn, F. (2017) Interim report to Scottish Government: Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme pilot evaluation.

(Government consultation response) Bush, R., Hawkey, D., Kerr, N., Tingey, M., Wade, F., Webb, J. (2017) SEEP consultation response: Energy Strategy - Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) National infrastructure priority for energy efficiency

(Blog) Bush, R., Webb, J. Energy and Society Blog, (June 2017): Creating space for ‘failure’ in policy development – a look at the use of evaluation in Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme pilots

What is the research project?

This research works with Scottish central and local governments on the development of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP). In the first instance, the project will evaluate 10 pilots led by local authorities across Scotland. It will ask what we can learn from this first round of pilots and how these lessons can be put into practice to support delivery of Scotland's Climate Change targets for 2020 and 2050

The project, led by Prof. Jan Webb and Dr. Ruth Bush from the Heat and the City research group, is funded through Scottish ClimateXChange​.

Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP)

In 2015, Scottish politicians designated energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, with plans to improve the standards of thermal comfort in every building in the country – commercial, public and residential - and to reduce the need for heating. At the same time, Scotland’s climate change plans mean an end to the use of fossil fuels, including methane gas, for heating.

From 2018, SEEP will be the ‘cornerstone’ of Government policy for reducing the need for energy and decarbonising heat supply in the residential and service sectors. The Scottish Government’s Draft Climate Change Plan (published for consultation on 19 January 2017) sets out strong ambitions for the residential and service sectors to reduce their emissions by 75% and 98% respectively by 2032. 

Research aims

Low carbon heating and energy efficiency innovations are commonly thought of as technical problems, with engineering solutions. However, our research shows that although we already have many technical solutions, barriers exist to putting them into practice. Hence there are big questions about the kinds of societal innovations needed for new understandings of energy supply and use, that will enable  clean heating systems, in homes, public facilities and workplaces in the future.

Working in close cooperation with Scottish central and local governments, this research project will consider aspects  of the pilot projects' governance, management, partnership structures, and resulting behavioural impacts. It will analyse the effectiveness of the chosen delivery approaches in terms of their replicability and scalability given the diverse geography and socio-economic circumstances of Scotland’s communities, and the challenges of regulation and standards, skills and supply chains.

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