Heat in Buildings Consultation

Following on from the commitment for Scotland to be a zero-carbon country by 2045, the Scottish Government published the consultation paper “Delivering Net Zero for Scotland’s Buildings” at the end of last year. The consultation focuses on two things, namely (1) all buildings ending the use of “polluting heating systems” (i.e. those which burn fossil fuels) and (2) all domestic properties complying with a “minimum energy sufficient standard”.

Ending the use of polluting heating systems – all buildings

It is proposed that all buildings end the use of polluting heating systems by 2045. However, some buildings may be required to end use before then. These include purchasers of domestic properties (who may be required to end the use of polluting heating systems within a grace period after purchase, two to five years being suggested in this regard) and buildings (especially non-domestic buildings or new developments) within a designated heat network.

Compliance with the minimum energy sufficient standard – domestic properties

The “minimum energy sufficient standard” (“MESS”) is intended to be a “straightforward list of measures to prioritise those that could have the most impact for homes with the lowest amount of cost or disruption”. It is proposed that the MESS could alternatively be met by energy performance certificate (EPC) category C.

Under the proposals, all private landlords would be required to meet the MESS by the end of 2028. A breach of this duty could result in civil penalties and the landlord would not be able to let to a new tenant.

Homeowners (including empty homes and short-term lets) would have to comply with the MESS by the end of 2033, unless they have ended their use of polluting heating systems in which case the requirement would not apply. It is worth noting that this exception does not apply to private landlords. Homeowners who fail to comply with the MESS by the end of 2033 would not be subject to penalties, however, the extent to which compliance could be made a mortgage and/or insurance condition is something that the Scottish Government may explore.

Monitoring would be achieved through the submission of energy performance certificates (EPCs) or random sampling (which would involve checks on available information rather than physical inspection).


The consultation refers to the proposals being implemented in an “affordable, fair and feasible” way with suggestions as to funding (e.g. grants and interest free loans), a cap on costs and flexibility for vulnerable groups.

It is acknowledged that modified requirements and extended timescales for compliance might be appropriate in certain circumstances, and that flexibility may be required for those living in rural areas where energy costs are higher and the availability of options may be affected. Reference is made to those using bioenergy being given more time to end the use of polluting heating systems.


The consultation closes on 8 March 2024 and is available here. The target date for passing the bill is May 2026. Secondary legislation would need to follow which would be subject to consultation.