The Sullivan Report – 2013 update


Earlier this month the re-convened Sullivan report panel published their findings
in the report ‘A Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy for Scotland (The Sullivan Report) – 2013 Update’
The original report, published in 2007, provided recommendations
for investigation within an overall route map towards ‘net zero carbon’ new
buildings and was integral to the review
of energy standards in 2010 and the recent announcement on 2015 energy standards.
In recognition of the
economic downturn and in support of ongoing and future work, Ministers asked
the Panel to reconvene in May 2013 to revisit some of the original
Focus points of the
report include:
  • Review
    of 2007 recommendations which may prove overly challenging following the reduction
    in construction activity resulting from the economic downturn and its wider implications
    such as loss of experience and skills within the workforce.
  •  Recommendation
    to extend the preparation time for the next two sets of energy standards.
  • Acknowledgement
    that it may not be practical for all sites to achieve net zero carbon and the resulting
    advocacy that the concept of ‘Allowable Solutions’ should be investigated and
  • That there is the
    need to better understand potential performance gaps between designed and
    as-built energy performance of new buildings and the factors which can
    contribute to this.
  • That an ‘Action
    Plan’ should be mapped out by the Scottish Government and industry to support
    successful delivery of the next set of standards and to further the transition
    to ‘nearly zero energy’ buildings (European Energy Performance of Buildings
    Directive 2 for all new buildings to be ‘nearly zero energy’ from 2021, or 2019
    for new non-domestic public buildings).
panel considered three specific topics.  In
summary the recommendations are:

Eventual and Staged Standards (ambition
and pace of change):
  • To support a more
    successful implementation through a longer lead-in time, the energy standards
    proposed and already consulted on for 2014 should  instead be published in 2014, but implemented
    a year later in 2015.
  • The Scottish
    Government investigates whether the 60% and 75% reductions  in carbon dioxide emissions, originally recommended
    for 2013 in the 2007 Sullivan Report, would also deliver new buildings which
    meet the definition of ‘nearly zero energy’ new buildings in the EU Directive.
  • Subject to the
    previous recommendation, subsequent review of energy standards should be
    programmed to align with the EU Directive requirement for ‘nearly zero energy’
    new buildings from 2019.
  • Beyond the
    current review, delivery of a ‘net zero carbon’ standard is linked to the
    development of the concept of ‘Allowable Solutions’.
  • In tandem, the
    Scottish Government publishes an ‘Action Plan’ setting out a  range of work elements to support the
    successful implementation of each staged improvement.
  • That Scottish
    Government aligns the emissions abatement aspects of both the Planning and
    Building Standards systems.
Process (delivering a ‘net zero carbon’ standard for
new development):
  • ‘Allowable
    Solutions’ should be investigated as a potential option for delivering a ‘net
    zero carbon’ standard for new development.
  • If introduced,
    ‘Allowable Solutions’ should apply to both domestic and non-domestic new
  •  Investigation of
    ‘Allowable Solutions’ should recognise the need for simplicity and clarity of
    such solutions both in application and in substantiation of benefit.
  • Should regulation
    incorporate ‘Allowable Solutions’, the term ‘net zero carbon’ new building
    should apply only to development where emissions are reduced to zero without off-site
    ‘Allowable Solutions’.
  • That Scottish
    Government works with industry and other UK administrations in investigating
    ‘Allowable Solutions’.
Costings (recognising the value of energy efficient
new buildings):
  • Research is
    carried out in partnership with the construction industry to develop a
    universal language for the marketing of very low carbon and very low energy
  • That Scottish
    Government gives consideration to introducing a financial inducement for
    prospective owners and occupiers that choose to own or occupy low carbon/low
    energy buildings, linked to either an EPC or a sustainability label.
  • That Scottish
    Government works with those developing valuation tools that may emerge so that
    they can be applied in Scotland.
  • That valuers and
    lenders are encouraged to recognise and make use of valuation tools that