Housing/ Net Zero: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

A number of questions related to new build properties, zero direct emissions heating systems and publicly owned buildings.


In respect of your initial set of questions on the presence of solar panels (solar photovoltaic installations), zero direct emissions heating systems and gas boilers, this information can be obtained from a review of the published Energy Performance Certificate data, available at statistics.gov.scot : Domestic Energy Performance Certificates - Dataset to Q1 2023.

This dataset includes a record of every newbuild home completion to Q1 2023 and includes the following relevant data fields which will enable you to derive the information sought:

  • Type of Assessment’ - Tool used (SAP, RdSAP) and whether assessment is for new or existing dwelling. New homes are assessed using SAP.
  • Date of Certificate’ - Date on which the data from the energy performance assessment was lodged to the Scottish EPC Register. This is generally the date the dwelling is completed.
  • Main Heating’ - Reports the type of main heating system present in the dwelling. Lists both heat source and heat emitters (e.g. gas boiler and radiators).
  • Photovoltaic Supply’ - Photovoltaic area as a percentage of total roof area. 0% indicates that a Photovoltaic Supply is not present in the property.

In response to the questions on Scottish Government work to monitor progress it is important to be clear on our targets. The Draft Heat in Buildings Strategy included a “Journey to Net Zero” route, illustrating potential steps to reaching Net Zero by 2045, including zero direct emissions heating systems accounting for more than half of replacement installations by 2025. Following a public consultation process, the final Heat in Buildings Strategy was published in October 2021. As set out in the Strategy, we need to continue to significantly improve the standard of energy efficiency in our homes and increase the deployment of zero emissions heating systems. To meet our 2030 interim climate change target, at least one million Scottish homes will need to change their heating system to a zero direct emissions one.

The Strategy also outlines that to maintain progress towards our statutory emission reduction targets, zero emissions heat installations we will need to scale up to provide a total of at least 124,000 systems installed between 2021 and 2026 and peak at over 200,000 new systems per annum in the late-2020s.

We have committed to publishing a Monitoring and Evaluation framework in 2023 to help measure progress against our Heat in Buildings Strategy.

The Scottish Government does not hold information on the proportion of replacement heating systems installed which are zero direct emissions.

The Scottish Government does hold information on the total number of MCS certified heat pump installations in Scotland for 2020-2022 which are presented below. MCS certified installers are recommended in these cases and required when applying for Government schemes and incentives. Some forms of zero direct emissions heating systems many not require a MCS certified installer.

Installations of heat pumps (MCS data):


Total MCS certified installations of heat pumps












Please note that these figures: a) are for heat pumps only, and not all zero direct emissions heating systems; b) include all installations, not only replacements of existing systems, and; c) are for systems installed by MCS accredited installers only.

Information about fuel consumption for heat in buildings is reported by each public sector organisation through the Statutory Public Sector Reporting Duties. These records are public and can be found here: Reports (sustainablescotlandnetwork.org).

You asked what regulations are in regard to the use of solar panels, zero direct emissions heating systems and gas boilers for new residential buildings. These can be found in the current Technical Handbooks published by the Scottish Government. There are two handbooks covering Domestic and Non-domestic buildings. Section 6 (energy) sets out standard relevant to the energy performance of new buildings. These handbooks are published at: Building regulations - Building standards - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). An update to the building standards Technical Handbooks is planned for October 2023 to reflect the Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023, if passed. This introduces a New Build Heat Standard (NBHS) which is discussed below.

Further to this, Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (legislation.gov.uk) introduced Section 3F of the Town and Country Planning Act 1997 as part of the planning system in Scotland. In summary it is about local development plans prepared by each planning authority including policies requiring new buildings to avoid a specified proportion of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of low and zero-carbon generating technologies. Section 73 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires annual reporting on implementation of the legislation and the 2023 annual report was published in March.

You also asked us about when the Scottish Government intend to ban the use of gas boilers in new properties. The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023 (i.e. NBHS), laid in Parliament on 8 June, will mean that no new buildings constructed under a building warrant applied for from 1 April 2024 will be built with direct emissions heating systems. If passed, new domestic and non-domestic buildings will be built with zero direct emission, climate-friendly alternatives, like heat pumps and heat networks. This is in direct response to the recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change on how to meet the Net Zero legal obligations, which was legislated for and supported by all parties within the Scottish Parliament. We intend to update the above-mentioned Technical Handbooks later this year to reflect
these changes.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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