Potential heat network zones: first national assessment

Analysis to identify and characterise potential zones for heat networks in Scotland. It provides further detail on the analysis criteria, assessment methodology, limitations, definitions and the interpretation of the outputs.



BEIS: UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

FNA: First National Assessment of Potential Heat Network Zones (also referred to as Potential Heat Network Zones First National Assessment)

GIS: Geographic Information System

Ha: Hectares - there are 100 hectares in a square kilometre (km2)

km2: A square kilometre

LA: Local Authority

LDP: Local Development Plan

LHD: Linear Heat Density

LHEES: Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy

NAEI: National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory

NCA: Opportunity areas for district heating networks in the UK: second National Comprehensive Assessment

SAP: Standard Assessment Procedure

SEPA: Scottish Environmental Protection Agency

UPRN: Unique Property Reference Number


Anchor Load

Anchor loads are high heat demand buildings and key connections on a heat network that usually drive the economics of a project.


The Baseline screening criteria provide the low-end requirements (in terms of linear heat density and minimum number of anchor loads) used in this study to identify potential heat network zones. See also Stringent.


In most instances a building is defined as property which has a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). However, in some instances, properties are grouped under a Parent UPRN to identify the shared building that they are a part of (this is the case for properties in a block of flats or for units in a shopping mall but not, for example, for a semi-detached or terraced house). The properties which share a Parent UPRN are considered as a single building.

Home Analytics

Dataset provided by Energy Saving Trust which contains detailed data for domestic buildings informing key characteristics.


This analysis considers three types of designations for identifying heritage properties, these are:

1. Listed properties

2. Properties within conservation areas

3. Properties within world heritage sites

Also considered in the analysis are pre-1919 properties, as a proxy for traditional buildings

Linear heat density

Linear heat density (LHD) is a means of relating annual heat demand to a distance and is expressed as annual heat demand per meter of pipe. This metric is used within the methodology to cluster heat demands to highlight potential heat network opportunities. Details on how LHD is used in this study can be found in Section 2.2.1.


Mixed-tenure properties are domestic buildings with a mix of domestic tenure types within, for example a mixture of owner occupied, private rented and social housing.


Mixed-use buildings may be either a building which consists of a mix of domestic and non-domestic properties, or a building with varying non-domestic property types within it.

Non-Domestic Analytics

Dataset which provides detailed data for non-domestic buildings informing key characteristics. Previously Non-Domestic Buildings Energy Database.


A structure or space that is used for domestic or non-domestic classes and is associated with a UPRN code. Properties can either be stand-alone (for example, a detached house), or alongside other properties, form part of a larger building (for example, a flat within a tenement building).


The Stringent screening criteria uses a stricter set of criteria (in terms of linear heat density and minimum number of anchor loads) when analysing for potential heat network zones and is useful to compare results against that of the Baseline screening.


Email: heatnetworks@gov.scot

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