Ambitious step change outlined for greener and warmer buildings in Scotland

Proposals to replace fossil fuel heating with clean heating and improve energy efficiency

Clean heating systems will replace polluting heating systems in Scotland’s homes and buildings by 2045 under proposals published today.

Under legislation to be introduced in 2025 which will start taking effect later in the decade, those buying new homes or buildings would be asked to move to a “clean” heating system, such as a heat pump or connection to a heat network, within a fixed period of time following that purchase.

Of the UK nations, Scotland continues to have the most generous funding package of grants and loans available to households who are seeking to switch to clean heating systems.

Minimum energy efficiency standards for Scotland’s homes could also be introduced to make them warmer and less expensive to heat.

Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie said:

“Heat from our homes and buildings represents around 20% of Scotland’s carbon emissions. So there is no route to meeting our legal duty to be a net zero country by 2045 without making the heat transition. Making this transition can also liberate households and businesses from volatile fossil fuel prices.

“There will be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to what we’re proposing – we recognise that different types of buildings in different areas need different solutions – but today we are giving certainty to households to plan and clarity for businesses to invest, with a pathway which recognises the cost pressures that so many of us are currently facing. 

“We’ve already passed regulations for new buildings, to apply from next year. If Parliament passes our Bill in 2025, then regulations will start to apply from 2028, with many more buildings moving away from fossil fuel through the 2030s. That will see Scotland on by far the most ambitious path within the UK, with a deployment of clean heating systems at a scale and pace very much faster than at present.

“The UK Government has the opportunity to match our ambition by using its reserved powers to take urgent action to reduce the price gap between gas and electricity, and by regulating energy companies to play their full part in this transition.”  

The consultation also includes measures to encourage the development of heat networks – giving those constructing these vital systems the confidence they need to invest on the basis that there will be sufficient demand.

The proposals follow this year’s introduction of a new build heat standard which means that any buildings constructed under a new warrant from April 2024 must have a clean heating system.


 The Scottish Government is asking for views on proposals to form part of a Heat in Buildings Bill as set out in the Programme for Government.

Proposals include:

  • That private rented homes will be required to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard no later than 2028;
  • That owner-occupied homes will be required to meet the same minimum energy efficiency standard by the end of 2033;
  • That all homes and non-domestic buildings will be required to end their use of polluting heating by the end of 2045; and
  • In order to create a smooth trajectory towards 2045, that those purchasing a home or non-domestic property before 2045 would be required to end their use of polluting heating systems within a specific period following that purchase.

Also published today are proposals for a new Social Housing Net Zero Standard that would require social landlords to meet an energy efficiency standard between 2033 and 2040 and install clean heating across their stock by 2045 where it is technically feasible and cost-effective to do so.

Consultation on proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill

Social Housing Net Zero consultation


Media enquiries

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