Clean heating and energy efficiency grants to get to Net Zero

£11 million grant funding confirmed for public sector bodies.

Leisure centres, schools and university campuses will be transformed by a government fund designed to accelerate the decarbonisation of public sector properties.

The University of Edinburgh, Fife Council and North Lanarkshire Council are among the first seven projects to share grants for clean heating and energy efficiency improvements totalling £11 million from the £20 million Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund.

The funding, to support the ambition to reach net zero by 2045, is the first time direct grant awards have been made to public sector bodies instead of loans.

A recent Scottish Government consultation on proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill asked for views on a possible requirement for all buildings owned by a Scottish public authority to move to clean heating systems by the end of 2038. There are currently around 23,000 buildings in public ownership.

Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie said:

“Heat from our homes and buildings is responsible for around a fifth of Scotland’s overall emissions so there is no route to delivering Net Zero by 2045 without tackling this. Not just our homes but our schools, universities, offices, hospitals and libraries also need to improve their energy efficiency and make the move to clean heating.

“We are absolutely committed to addressing Scotland’s reliance on direct emission heating systems that produce greenhouse gas emissions when we use them, which is why we have consulted on ambitious proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill which we intend to bring forward during the current Parliament.

“We have made clear that we want all public sector buildings to have moved to clean heat by the end of 2038. We expect the public sector to demonstrate leadership in this area and I am therefore very pleased to be able to confirm these first awards from the Fund. Further awards will be confirmed shortly.”

The funding is part of £200 million already committed to the public sector for energy efficiency and renewable heating over the next five years - part of the wider plan to spend £1.8 billion during the current parliamentary session on decarbonising Scotland’s buildings.

The University of Edinburgh will receive £2.08m to support the reduction of heat demand at its King’s Buildings campus, home to the College of Science and Engineering, including through fabric insulation and pipework insulation upgrades.

The project will also take steps towards the decarbonisation of heat supply. A heat recovery pump will recycle waste heat from one of the University’s data centres and upgrade it for use within a local district heating network.  

Catherine Martin, Vice Principal Corporate Services, University of Edinburgh said:

“The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we are facing. The University of Edinburgh has a clear commitment to take positive action to address our impact on the climate and ultimately reach our institutional goal of being net zero by 2040. We need a coordinated approach to these activities and the funding from the Scottish Government will support our efforts to generate solutions and sustainably adapt the way we operate.”


Grants have been confirmed for the following projects:


Grant awarded


University of Edinburgh


King’s Buildings campus - to support the reduction of heat demand and take steps towards decarbonisation of heat

Fife Council


St Andrew’s RC High School and Beacon Leisure Centre – installation of a combination of air-to-water heat pumps and water source heat pumps as the primary heat source for both, plus heat demand reductions at St Andrew’s RC High School

Scotland’s Rural College


Barony Campus, Dumfries – retrofitting insulation including on the grade II listed Kirkmichael House

Perth & Kinross Council


Auchtergaven Primary School, Bankfoot – upgrading the existing heating supply via the installation of two air source heat pumps and the installation of a building management system

North Lanarkshire Council


Strathclyde Park Watersports Centre - whole building retrofit, redesign and extension as part of revelopment into Net Zero Health Hub

Edinburgh Napier University


BE-ST A Lab – Removal of gas-based fossil fuel heating system as part of retrofit including Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, a sustainable innovative curtain wall system, a solar PV integrated roof system and a sustainable LED ready lighting control system

Dumfries and Galloway Council


Dumfries Ice Bowl - replacement of the mains gas system with a low emission water source heat pump with heat recapture technology to allow heat generated from the refrigeration system to be recovered, plus energy efficiency measures

Scotland’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund will eventually replace the existing Scottish Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme, which has been running since 2006 and offered zero interest loans for energy efficiency improvement projects.

As per the criteria for the previous scheme, only public sector bodies with borrowing powers can apply to Scotland’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund. Applicants are required to provide 20% match funding for projects.

Scotland’s Public Sector Heat Decarbonisation Fund is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by Salix Finance, which operates the existing Scottish Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme. More than £75 million has so far been invested in energy efficiency projects in Scotland through the existing scheme, which is forecast to save the public sector more than £202 million over the lifetime of the projects.


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