Reaching net zero

Vision to transform heating in Scotland’s buildings published.

Plans to ensure all buildings in Scotland are warmer, more efficient and reach zero emissions by 2045 have been launched. 

The Heat in Buildings 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 emissions heating systems by 2030 – in line with Scotland’s updated Climate Change Plan - to help meet the world’s toughest emissions reduction target for this date.

The strategy sets out the actions and further proposals that the Scottish Government will take to support the transformation of Scotland’s building stock, which will support thousands of jobs across the sector and wider supply chain.

It also includes plans for engaging people and businesses to ensure everyone across Scotland has an opportunity to shape the transformation, together with proposals for a new regulatory framework which would require the majority of property owners to take action over time to install energy efficiency measures and zero emission heating systems.   

The strategy outlines the crucial action needed from the UK Government to enable faster deployment of zero emissions heating in Scotland, including taking early decisions on the future of the gas network and increasing funding for UK-wide delivery schemes.

The Scottish Government is committed to ground-breaking levels of investment of £1.6 billion over the next five years to help transform the heating and energy efficiency performance of Scotland’s buildings. This will rapidly accelerate the installation of energy efficiency measures and zero emissions heating systems to decarbonise an area which currently is responsible for creating one fifth of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions each year. The investment, outlined in the current Programme for Government, is anticipated to support up to 5,000 jobs each year by 2025-26, with further growth beyond that date.

Launching a consultation on the proposals, Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions arising from heating our homes and buildings is one of the most important things we can do to help end Scotland’s contribution to climate change, given that heating accounts for more than half the energy we consume as a society.

“We are therefore committed to rapidly scaling-up action on decarbonising heating, but doing so in a way that ensures that our fuel poverty objectives and our commitment to tackling climate change work together, ensuring a fair and just transition to net zero emissions. This strategy must play a part in helping everyone to have a warm home that supports their good health and wellbeing.

“The draft strategy sets out our vision to achieving this and actions that we will take using the Scottish Parliament’s powers, while also demonstrating just how critical it is that the UK Government takes further action, and faster action, in areas of policy it controls if we are to achieve our respective net-zero ambitions.

“The changes needed to make our homes and buildings fit for a net-zero future, and to help avoid potentially serious damage to our climate for current and future generations of Scots, will touch on all our lives and are likely to require us all to take action. It is therefore only right that everyone in Scotland has an opportunity to feed in and shape our Heat in Buildings Strategy and I would urge everyone to take part in our consultation.”


The draft Heat in Buildings Strategy Achieving Net Zero Emissions in Scotland’s Buildings consultation is available on the Scottish Government website. The consultation is open until 30 April 2021.

The Climate Change Act 2019 commits Scotland to net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. This is tougher than a net-zero carbon target, which commits only to balancing carbon dioxide emissions. A zero emission building means that no greenhouse gases are emitted by it.

The Climate Change Plan update was published in December 2020.

Alongside the draft Heat in Buildings Strategy, the Scottish Government has published a Call for Evidence to support the development of the future Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP). The Call for Evidence seeks input on the range of support mechanisms for development and delivery of large-scale low and zero carbon heat in buildings projects that will be offered through the future Programme from September 2021.

In addition, a consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes has also been published. These requirements, which form part of our Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan, will help professionalise the sector and provide career pathways for young people. 

The Scottish Government has also published the analysis of responses to the improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes consultation alongside the draft Heat in Buildings Strategy. The Scottish Government will set its response to the consultation in the draft Heat in Buildings Strategy, specifically committing to further consult on detailed proposals to introduce regulations to the owner occupied sector to require owner occupied homes to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency equivalent to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2035.


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