Scotland – What Do Gold Silver & Bronze Mean?

On the 1st May 2011 Sustainability labelling was introduced to the Scottish Building Standards through the Building (Scotland) Act.

The labelling system has been designed to reward the achievement of:

• Meeting 2010 standards and;

• Opting to meet higher levels that include energy and carbon emissions targets, but also broader issues such as water efficiency and flexibility in design.

Levels of sustainability are defined as Bronze, Bronze Active, Silver, Silver active and Gold which have been created through identifying cost-effective benchmark verifiable by the building warrant system.

The first optional upper level is Silver. This offers substantial benefits in a range of sustainability aspects and should be achievable by a sector of the mainstream market. Gold level is much more demanding and initially aimed at those pursuing best practice. Buildings that do exceed Gold can gain Platinum level although at present the only aspect defined for this level is carbon dioxide emissions.

In full, the options are:

• Bronze level – This is the baseline level of sustainability where the dwelling meets the functional standards set out in section 1-6.

• Bronze Active level – In addition to achieving bronze level the dwelling must include the use of a low or zero carbon generating technology (LZCGT).

• Silver level – In addition to achieving bronze and bronze active, silver is the first upper level which consists of 8 Aspects. You may not be asked to fulfil all Aspects.

Aspect Silver level 1: Carbon dioxide emissions

If your new dwelling is SAP compliant using the latest SAP 2012 software the dwelling will automatically meet the Silver level criteria in respect of CO2 emissions. This is due to the 21% improvement on the 2010 standards that occurred in October 2015.

Aspect Silver level 2: Energy for space heating

Maximum annual demand for useful energy for space heating should be:

• 40 kWh/m2 for houses, or

• 30 kWh/m2 for flats or maisonettes

To assess, the output from box no.99 of the SAP 2009 DER worksheet should be no more than the figures above. Reverting the SAP calculations back into the SAP 2009 may make a small difference to the figures but you will need to look at improving upon fabric u-values in order to achieve Aspect 2.

Aspect Silver level 3: Energy for water heating

At least 5% of the dwelling or domestic building’s annual energy demand for water heating should be from:

• Heat recovery and/or renewable sources with little or no associated fuel costs (e.g. solar thermal water heating and associated storage or heat recovery from greywater) that are allocated for water heating

Aspect Silver level 4: Water use efficiency

Enhanced or additional products should be provided as follows:

• WCs of average flush volume not more than 4.5 litres

• Wash hand basin taps with a flow rate not more than 6 l/m litres per minute

• Shower heads with a flow rate not more than 8 l/m, and

• 1 water butt (with a min. capacity of 200 litres) for outdoor use per dwelling. Dwellings without a private garden or landscaped area, or if there is no access to rainwater collection (for example if there is no external rainwater pipe within the curtilage) are excluded.

Aspect Silver level 5: Optimising Performance

Provide a guide to occupants on ways in which the dwelling is intended to function and how to optimise its performance.

Install a resource monitor that displays electricity usage.

Aspect Silver level 6: Flexibility and Adaptability

Provide home office space – full details can be found in the Technical Handbook.

Aspect Silver level 7: Well-being and security

In brief, this includes: noise separation, noise reduction between rooms, enhanced natural lighting and security.

Aspect Silver level 8: Material use and waste

Recycling of solid waste: Provide a dedicated internal space with a volume of at least 0.12m3(120 litres) and no dimension less than 450mm, for storing recyclable material.

• Silver Active level – This is the same as the silver level but, in addition, the dwelling includes the use of a low and zero carbon generating technology (LZCGT) in respect of meeting at least one of the aspects: Silver 1, Silver 2 or Silver 3. This level is primarily to assist local authorities to meet their obligations under Section 72 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 by identifying the use of LZCGT. In this respect, LZCGTs include: wind turbines, water turbines, heat pumps (all varieties), solar thermal panels, photovoltaic panels, combined heat and power units (fired by low emission sources), fuel cells, biomass boilers/stoves and biogas.

Gold level has the same 8 Aspects as Silver but are obviously an improvement upon the standards achievable at Silver.

Platinum level Aspect 1- In order to achieve this aspect the DER needs to be 100% lower than the TER set by the 2010 standards. The DER should not exceed zero.

More guidance can be found at:


Leave a Reply