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Scottish Government releases critical Heat in Buildings Strategy Consultation


Scottish Government has released its draft Heat in Buildings Strategy (Achieving Net Zero Emissions in Scotland’s Buildings) which focuses on the challenge of eliminating carbon emissions from homes and non-domestic buildings.

The draft Strategy, which updates both the 2018 Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map and the Heat Policy Statement, establishes how Scotland will achieve its ambition of net zero by 2045, by ensuring that homes and workplaces are warmer, greener and more efficient.

Scottish Government has made it clear that in order to achieve this ambition, action is required sooner rather than later which is why the strategy sets out the  vision for transforming more than 1 million homes and an estimated 50,000 non-domestic buildings to be using low and zero emission heating systems by 2030.

Elmhurst has taken the time to review this consultation and has provided an outline of some of the key proposals put forward.


It is estimated that 45% of Scotland’s homes have a good level of energy performance, equivalent to EPC rating of band C. However, to meet net zero targets there is a need to upgrade Scotland’s homes to make them more energy efficient.

  • Homes to be as energy efficient as possible, meeting a minimum standard equivalent to EPC C at least, where technically feasible and cost-effective, by 2035
  • Around 50% of homes, or over a million households, will need to convert to a zero or low emissions heating system by 2030

Non-Domestic Buildings

It is estimated almost three in four of all non-domestic properties in Scotland has a current EPC rating of band E or worse with only 5% having an EPC rating of band B or better.

  • An estimated 50,000 of Scotland’s non-domestic properties will need to be converted to zero emissions sources of heat
  • Publication of the Net Zero Carbon Public Buildings standard is expected in early 2021, with the introduction of regulation and mandatory standards across the non-domestic sector expected from 2023-25 onwards

New Build

To ensure that new buildings are fit for the future and do not require retrofitting in the future to achieve zero emissions, the Scottish Government is currently developing regulations which will require new buildings consented from 2024 to use zero emissions heating (and cooling). Energy standards within current building regulations are currently being reviewed to deliver further improvement in energy efficiency and emissions reductions in new buildings, in 2021 and 2024.

Whole House Retrofit (PAS 2035)

Scottish Government is proposing to adopt UK PAS 2035/30 standards for their delivery programmes, which will ensure that installers of energy efficiency measures are suitably skilled to undertake the required works. These standards cover the entire energy efficiency retrofit process in homes, from initial assessment and design, through to installation and evaluation.

Scottish Government will also consider using the UK government endorsed TrustMark quality assurance framework to ensure compliance with these standards.

This proposal is also linked to another consultation released by Scottish Government which looks at  skill requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, and outlines the roles and responsibilities within PAS 2035.

EPC Reform

Scottish Government is considering a reform to the existing EPC so that it includes three indicators as a basis for future standards:

  • an indicator for energy efficiency
  • an indicator for heating emissions
  • an indicator for cost of heating

Elmhurst’s view

Elmhurst Energy’s Technical and Operations Director, Stuart Fairlie, comments: “We welcome Scotland’s vision for a future of energy efficiency in all homes and commercial buildings. We will of course thoroughly digest the consultations and reply accordingly on behalf of our members. Scotland has always been very proactive in terms of efficiency and these new goals clearly define a cleaner, warmer and more efficient future. We will work with our members to deliver the homes and commercial buildings that Scotland needs.”

Consultation links

Read all publications

Heat in Buildings Strategy: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in Scotland’s Buildings Consultation

Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving energy efficiency in owner-occupied homes. Analysis of responses to the public consultation exercise

Consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes.