Heat in Buildings Bill: Proposed Energy Efficiency Standards for Properties

06 December 2023

Heat in Buildings Bill

For the last 10 years, there has been much debate about proposed changes to EPC ratings. These previous proposals included the requirement for all properties within the private rented sector (PRS) to achieve an EPC rating of C or higher at the change of tenancy from 2025, with all PRS properties required to reach the same standard by 2028. The announcement that these proposals will not be taken forward provided much-needed clarity.

In its replacement on the 28th of November 2023, the Scottish Government published its Heat in Buildings Bill consultation, which sets out plans to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for all properties in Scotland, including the PRS. Currently, there are no mandatory minimum energy performance certificate requirements for properties in Scotland’s private rented sector. However, the proposed bill plans to introduce the following measures:

  • By the end of 2028, private landlords will be required to adhere to a new minimum energy efficiency standard.
  • By the end of 2033, owner-occupiers will be required to meet the same minimum energy efficiency standard unless they have already ceased their use of polluting heating.
  • By the end of 2045, all building owners will be required to discontinue and replace their polluting heating systems.
  • Following the completion of a property purchase, polluting heating systems will be required to be replaced after a specified period.
  • Building owners will be required to end their use of polluting heating following notice from a local authority in a Heat Network Zone.

What is the minimum energy efficiency standard?

The Scottish Government has proposed that the minimum energy efficiency standard will be a simple list of measures. Upon installation of the specified measures, a homeowner will be considered to have successfully met the new standard.

The proposed list includes:

  • 270 mm loft insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Draught-proofing
  • Heating controls
  • 80 mm hot water cylinder insulation
  • Suspended floor insulation

The Government has acknowledged that these measures cannot be universally applied. Properties will only need to adhere to the relevant measures which apply to their property.

What are polluting heating systems?

Polluting heating systems refer to boilers and heating systems which are run on fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and liquid petroleum gas. Under the proposed legislation, these systems must be replaced by clean heating alternatives such as heat pumps, heat networks, electric storage heaters, etc, by 2045. The prohibition applies exclusively to the main heating system(s) of the property.

For further information on the Scottish Government’s Proposal for Heat in Buildings Bill, click here.

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