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Policy and legislation

  • This legislation set the ambitious target for Scotland to reach net zero emissions by 2045. It includes an interim target of a 75% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (relative to 1990 and 1995 levels). These are statutory economy-wide targets that can only be met through domestic action, and not through any international emissions offsetting. 

    This Act also embeds the principles of a Just Transition. This means reducing emissions in a way that also tackles inequality, promotes fair work and does not leave anyone behind. 

  • The Bute House Agreement is a shared policy programme between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party to build a green economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. It focusses on areas such as the climate emergency, economic recovery, the natural environment and energy, and commits to making at least £1.8 million available over this parliamentary session to accelerate energy efficiency upgrades and renewable heating deployment. The agreement also commits to the introduction of legislation, subject to consultation, to phase out the need to install new or replacement fossil fuel boilers and improve energy efficiency from 2025. 

    These policies send a clear message that the way we heat our homes is changing, and presents opportunities for those in the industry who move early and upskill.  

  • The Heat in Buildings Strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for reducing building emissions to meet its net zero target. By 2045, all homes and buildings in Scotland must have significantly reduced their energy use, with almost all buildings using a zero direct emissions heating system. All homes must also reach the equivalent of EPC band C by 2033. 

    To meet the 2045 emissions target, Scotland will need to reduce emissions by 68% in homes and buildings against 2020 levels. 

    This will require: 

    • The vast majority of the 170,000 off-gas homes currently using fossil fuels to switch to zero direct emissions heating systems, such as heat pumps.  
    • At least 1 million on-gas homes switching to zero emissions alternatives. 
    • A significant reduction in direct emissions heating in non-domestic buildings.  

    To do this, the Heat in Buildings Strategy highlights key “no and low regret technologies” to help Scotland decarbonise its buildings:  

    • energy efficiency improvements
    • heat pumps  
    • low and zero emissions heat networks 

    Currently around 3,000 households per year install low and zero emissions heating, such as heat pumps. This needs to grow rapidly to over 200,000 per year in the late 2020s. 

    The Scottish Government estimates that this heat transition could support an estimated 16,400 additional jobs across the economy in 2030, and unlock £33 billion worth of spending across the economy by 2045.  

    The Scottish Government has also committed to developing regulations which will require all new buildings, for which a building warrant application is submitted from 1 April 2024, to use zero emissions heating. 

  • Increasing the capacity of the supply chain is not only about increasing the number of heat pump installers. We also need to have a highly skilled workforce that can deliver quality installations for their customers. The Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy Quality Assurance Policy Statement sets out the suggested certifications and qualifications that heat pump installers should have in Scotland, including installer requirements for their Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan replacement scheme.

    The quality assurance requirements for microgeneration, including heat pumps, is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certification. This is the current installer certification requirement and MCS certification will apply to all future Scottish Government programmes and schemes where appropriate. The government has also committed to integrating the Scottish installers skills matrix into the MCS installer standards.

    Customers are already supported in finding MCS-certified installers using the Renewable Installer Finder (RIF) tool on Energy Saving Trust’s website. This allows them to search for MCS installers near them, look at other customer reviews, and leave their own reviews of work competed by installers.

    If you’re already MCS certified and want to be featured on the RIF tool, go to the website and register using your MCS login details.


  • The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on a proposed Heat in Buildings Bill that will make new laws around the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings and the way we heat those buildings. The consultation opened on 28 November 2023 and will close 8 March 2024. Responses to the consultation can be made here.

    There are also 13 in-person sessions happening across Scotland where you can learn more about what is being proposed and have the chance to share your opinions. Please see here to find a session near you.