There are many resources available regarding heat networks related to the areas listed below.

Strategy & Policy


  • Heat in Buildings Strategy Sets out the vision for the future of heat in buildings, and the actions being taking in the buildings sector to deliver the climate change commitments, maximise economic opportunities, and ensure a just transition, including helping address fuel poverty.
  • Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021 The Act aims to accelerate the deployment of  heat networks in Scotland through the introduction of a regulatory system aimed at boosting consumer confidence in the sector and providing greater certainty for investors.
  • Heat Networks Delivery Plan Sets out how provisions of the Heat Networks Scotland Act 2021 and wider policy will contribute to increasing heat networks in Scotland.
  • Energy efficiency in social housing The Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) aims to improve the energy efficiency of social housing in Scotland. It will help to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty and the emission of greenhouse gases.
  • Scotland’s Climate Change Plan Scotland's 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan sets out the Scottish Government's pathway to the new and ambitious targets set by the Climate Change Act 2019. It is a key strategic document in the green recovery from COVID-19.
  • District Energy in Cities UN Environment Programme Report.- UNEP commissioned research on and surveyed low-carbon cities worldwide to identify the key factors underlying their success in scaling up energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as in attaining targets for zero or low greenhouse gas emissions. District energy systems emerged as a best practice approach for providing a local, affordable and low-carbon energy supply. District energy represents a significant opportunity for cities to move towards climate-resilient, resource-efficient and low-carbon pathways.

Research & Analysis

  • District Heating - Public Sector Analysis - Carbon Trust and Ramboll analysed the Scotland National Heat Map to identify (and where possible) quantify the opportunities for District Heating networks associated with the public sector estate. The scope of works required a report that explores the potential for the public sector estate to adopt district heating systems and accelerate the development of heating networks in Scotland. The study will use the National Heat Map as the primary source of information.
  • Mapping of district heating feasibility studies in Scotland - This study collects, analyses and maps data relating to previous district heating (DH) feasibility studies in Scotland. District heating feasibility study data, obtained primarily from industry stakeholders, was analysed to identify common barriers restricting district heating development and to map study locations.
  • Potential sources of waste heat for heat networks in Scotland - This study supports the emerging regional and national policies associated with the development and deployment of low-carbon heat networks (or district heating) by examining potential waste heat sources in Scotland that have received limited attention. Heat networks, or district heating, involve providing heat to homes and businesses via insulated pipes in the form of hot water or steam.
  • The impact of energy system decarbonisation and decentralisation on Scotland’s electrical system - This project is part of looking at the opportunities for, and implications of, Scotland moving towards smart local energy systems, driven by sustainable decarbonised energy resources.  The research team has developed the Energy Flow Scotland (EFS) toolset which draws on other models to quantify energy flows, including both the anticipated demand and likely supply of energy.
  • Lessons from European regulation and practice for Scottish district heating regulation - This report details the findings from a review of seven European DH regulatory models, including a contextualised evaluation of each model. The research used evidence gathered through a literature review and interviews.
  • Reducing Carbon in the Heat Sector Reducing carbon emissions from the heating sector will depend on different policy instruments being developed in parallel and complementing each other. This brief provides a high-level analysis of some of the main opportunities.
  • Public awareness of and attitudes to low-carbon heating technologies This evidence review examines Scottish consumers’ awareness of and attitudes towards low-carbon heating technologies and the consumer drivers and barriers to their take-up
  • District heating challenges for the UK Assessment of current status of District Heating Networks (DHNs) in the United Kingdom using published case studies and suggest next steps to improvement. Findings show that the United Kingdom has good potential for uptake of district energy given the current political climate and government incentives, however significant improvements must be made to further penetrate the heating market.
  • Barriers to Deployment of District Heating Networks - An insightful study by BRE, University of Edinburgh and the Centre for Sustainable Energy for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (March 2013)


Heat Network Guidance

  • Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies – Pilot Programme - This report presents findings from a synthesis evaluation of Scotland’s Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES) pilot programme, which involved pilot projects delivered by all 32 Scottish local authorities.
  • 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.


  • Scottish Housing Condition Survey - This is the largest single housing research project in Scotland, and the only national survey to look at the physical condition of Scotland's homes as well as the experiences of householders.
  • Scotland Heat Map - The heat map is a resource for assessing heat demand and supply opportunities across Scotland.
  • District Heating Installation - Map by the ADE showing Universities, Hospitals and Residential/Commercial district heating installations in the UK.


  • CIBSE provides a wealth of engineering and technical guidance towards buildings, large scale infrastructure and heat networks. This can be found in their Engineering Guidance page. [a future blog post will cover the various pieces of guidance]
  • District Heating and Cooling Connection Handbook- International Energy Agency: programme of Research, Development and Demonstration on District Heating and Cooling (Bard Skagestad and Peter Mildens).
  • District heating substation design- District heating substations design and installation - Svensk Fjärrvärme.
  • Biomass heating a guide to feasibility studies- This guide provides a brief introduction to biomass boilers followed by a step–by-step guide to carrying out the technical aspects of a biomass feasibility study. The guide is concerned with the use of logs, wood chips and wood pellets only, these being the principal fuels used in biomass heating systems in the UK.

Research & Analysis

  • Renewable heat in Scotland, 2020 - Energy Saving Trust - This report tracks progress towards the Scottish Government’s renewable heat target. It also provides commentary on accreditations under the domestic and non-domestic RHI schemes between December 2020 and August 2021, as an indicator of the growth in renewable heat into the next reporting year.
  • Heat recovery opportunities in Scotland- A Scottish Enterprise report highlighting the main economic opportunities for Scotland from heat recovery. The report focuses on waste heat recovery and renewable heat from geothermal and ambient heat sources (2014).
  • Low or zero carbon energy sources- The office of Deputy Prime Minister - Report on the Commercial Aspects of Local Authority Renewable Energy Production Executive Summary.
  • Cluff Geothermal Report- This report examines the potential for using deep geothermal energy as a heat source for district heating systems.
  • Assessment of the costs, performance and characteristics of UK heat networks - Research report on the cost, performance and characteristics of heating provided by heat networks.
  • ADE/CIBSE – Code of Practice for Heat Networks - The Code seeks to provide clear and measurable outputs which will ensure that a heat network operates effectively and meets client and customer expectations. Setting minimum standards is a key step to provide greater confidence for specifiers and clients and these can also be included in the tendering/contracting process.

Available Support

  • Scottish Heat Network Fund – Scottish Government are making £300 million available over the next parliamentary session to support the development and rollout of zero emission heat networks across Scotland. This fair and open fund aims to stimulate commercial interest, investment and maximise Scotland’s vast potential in the low carbon sector, whilst contributing to the positive progress on reducing Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Scottish Heat Network Support funding – Scottish Government are providing financial support through the Heat Network Support Unit towards project development costs in pre-capital stage. Contact us to find out more.
  • District Heating Loan Fund – Scottish Government provides capital loans to help address financial and technical barriers to district heating projects.
  • Social Housing Net Zero Heat Fund – Scottish Government are making £200 million available over the next five years to support social landlords across Scotland to install zero emissions heating systems and energy efficiency measures across their existing stock.


  • Heat networks: procuring finance This paper is designed to help local authorities which recognise the potential benefits of engaging with a non-public investor (NPI) to deliver a heat network, but want to better understand the details of working with a NPI.
  • Financing Heat Networks in the UK: Guidebook This guidebook has been developed to provide guidance to heat network sponsors, developers and funders to support them in understanding some of the issues, risks and opportunities around financing heat networks in the UK, to support this move to a self-sustaining heat network market.
  • Scottish Futures Trust - District Heating - VAT Report - Financial Guidance on VAT considerations for district energy initiatives
  • District Heating Finance - Report by the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) to highlight the opportunity to develop low carbon heat networks in our towns and cities and to provide some insight for public sector entities on how to finance such schemes


  • Heat Network Financial Model Template This template financial model is designed specifically for heat network development in the UK. Financial modellers can use it to input cash flow and energy balance outputs from a techno-economic cash flow model
  • Cost of Energy Calculator The calculator uses a levelised cost approach which enables comparison between different generation types with different capital and operational profiles. The power sector uses this approach widely to compare the unit costs of wind, solar, nuclear and other means of electricity generation on a consistent basis.
Commercial & Procurement
SFT District Heating Delivery Structure Guidance - Guidance on delivery structures that could be adopted by public sector bodies to accelerate investment in low carbon infrastructure. The guidance applies to non-domestic energy efficiency, street lighting, and district heating, and includes approaches to aggregation. Guidance on Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) for the public sector - Legal guidance on energy service companies (ESCOs), including the rationale and process for establishing ESCOs, types of structures that can be used, and governance arrangements Guidance on Powers of Scottish public bodies to generate/procure heat and electricity supplies: Guidance on heat metering and billing for local authorities: Fife Council has created a heat metering and billing framework for use by local authorities and housing associations that this designed to help grow the heat network market and ensure customer protection. The agreement delivers a set of standard approaches, relieving pressure from social landlords and local authorities to meet the regulations to individually bill and meter each tenant. The scope of the framework is aligned to guidance from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and the Heat Trust.
Case Studies
Slateford Green case study - A case study from the Energy Saving Trust detailing two projects undertaken by Dunedin Canmore Housing Association in Edinburgh. Slateford Green community heating scheme hosts 120 domestic connections and uses gas boilers. Lasswade Road hosts 31 domestic connections and uses biomass (wood pellet).

West Whitlawburn case study - A case study from the Energy Saving Trust detailing the West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative in Lanarkshire hosts 543 domestic connections and uses a biomass (wood chips/pellets) system as a heat source.

Aberdeen community heating - An Aberdeen City Council case study on four tower blocks in Stockethill with a community heating system hosting 262 domestic connections with a Combined Heat and Power system.

Hanover Case Study - A case study from the Energy Saving Trust detailing Hanover Housing Association’s development in Walter Cameron Way, near Fort William with a community heating scheme hosting 25 domestic connections using biomass (wood chips/pellets) as a heat source.

Plockton Biomass Case Study - A Carbon Trust report into a heating scheme at Plockton in the Highland Council region with 2 non-domestic connections which use biomass (wood pellet) as a heat source.

Case Study: District Heating Loan Fund helping to provide low-cost heating in Wick - Video case study looks at a district heating project serving householders, public buildings and businesses in Wick, funded by the Scottish Government’s District Heating Loan Fund, and managed by the Energy Saving Trust.
General Support

Other Support in Scotland

  • Business Energy Scotland - Provide free and impartial support and access to funding to help businesses save energy, money and carbon.
  • Community Energy Scotland - The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund is now open.

External Organisations