Energy demand minimisation and efficiency

Energy conservation can be achieved through minimising the demand for energy and improving the efficiency of its use. Our remit includes acting as a consultee for land use planning, influencing and providing advice to stakeholders, regulating certain industrial installations and assessing the impacts of energy usage on the environment. We also aim to lead by example by working to improve our own energy performance, through a certified environmental management system (ISO 14001) and our Greening SEPA programme.

Details of our role in relation to these different areas can be found below:


Through our role as a statutory consultee to the planning system,we influence the location, design and layout of new infrastructure and building developments in order to minimise the future consumption of energy and impacts to the environment. In this role, we work closely with partners such as Scottish Government, the local planning authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Historic Scotland. For more details, please see our interim position statement on planning, energy and climate change and planning guidance and webpages.

Influencing and advising

We seek to advise Government, industry and business on how to improve energy efficiency, and also to influence other in developing policies that minimise energy demand. As part of this, we provide up-to-date information and guidance to NetRegs(a free environmental guidance service) on environmental legislation and regulations for every type of business. We have also worked with the Scottish Government to develop its energy efficiency action plan.


We require operators of certain activities to address specific energy considerations under industrial and water environment regulatory regimes, and we administer the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, which aims to reduce energy usage and cut carbon dioxide emissions in high energy using private and public sector organisations.

We also administer the EU Emissions Trading System, which is a mechanism to encourage reducing CO2 emissions through, for example, improvements to energy efficiency. In addition, Articles 14 (5-8) of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive 2012,which is transposed into Scottish legislation via amendments to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012, require us to ensure cost-benefit analyses are undertaken for certain new and refurbished installations to assess the potential for waste heat to be efficiently utilised.

Monitoring the environment

We monitor and report on the state of the environment,highlighting the impacts of energy demand and climate change on the environment and using this information to inform and influence others.