Review of social housing archetypes to support EESSH2 review

Social housing comprises almost a quarter of Scottish homes and the housing sector represents around 15% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. While the sector has already made strong progress in reducing emissions, the entire housing stock will need to use zero direct emissions heating (ZDEH) systems to reach Scotland’s net zero target by 2045.

This report defines archetypes for dwellings in the social housing sector enabling identification of suitable energy efficiency measures and an appropriate ZDEH system.

The archetypes represent a first step towards future development of a ‘pattern book’ or similar approach, which social landlords could use as a starting point for lowering emissions from their properties.

The findings will support the review of the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing 2 (EESSH2) and help ensure the new standard is based on the strongest available evidence.


The researchers reviewed archetyping studies and used a dataset of all Scottish social housing from Home Analytics Scotland to define key physical archetype parameters such as property type, wall and floor construction.

When applied to the whole stock, these parameters give a total of 24 archetypes, of which 12 represent over 90% of the total number of dwellings. For each archetype, the report provides a list of recommended energy efficiency measures appropriate to the building’s physical characteristics.

The suite of ZDEH systems that can, in principle, apply across most or all archetypes are air and ground source heat pumps, district heat networks and direct electric heating. A limited potential role for biofuels and hybrid heat pumps is also discussed.

The resulting method, whereby social landlords can identify a route to ensuring properties are suitable for a net zero future, is summarised as follows:

  1. Identify archetype using property type, wall construction and floor construction in order to produce suite of suitable measures.
  2. Note constraints such as room-in-roof, no wet heating system, mixed tenure property, conservation area or listed status, off gas grid to amend suite of measures.
  3. Select appropriate ZDEH system such as air or ground source heat pump, heat network, direct electric heating or hybrid heat pump to ensure home is net zero ready.

Further details on the findings are in the report attached.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact or 0131 651 4783.