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Scottish New Build Heat Standard (NBHS) Explained

The Scottish New Build Heat Standard (NBHS) took effect on April 1, 2024, mandating that any new building warrant applications must demonstrate the installation of zero direct emission recognized technology, particularly in heating systems, for properties constructed after this date.

While the standard highlights technologies like heat pumps and solar panels, it's important to note that heat pumps may not be universally effective due to factors such as building design, air-tightness, and existing systems, which can impact both their efficiency and implementation costs. While transitioning away from fossil fuels is crucial for achieving net zero, relying solely on a limited range of heating technologies presents challenges.

To clarify key points within the new Scottish standard, we've created a Q and A of the various questions we've been recently asked:

Which properties fall under the NBHS?

From April 1, 2024, only building warrant applications for solid fuel heating appliance installations will need to demonstrate the use of zero direct emission technology. If your building warrant approval this does not affect you.

Does this apply to extensions or alterations in existing buildings?

No, installation works within extensions or alterations of existing buildings are exempt from NBHS requirements.

Does this impact solid fuel heating in existing buildings?

The legislation solely applies to new constructions from April 1, 2024. Buildings constructed before this date are not obligated to demonstrate zero direct emission heating appliance installation. Similarly, modifications within existing installations do not require additional evidence.

Limitations and exceptions

While exemptions exist for technologies deemed 'emergency heating,' certain solid fuel boilers and pellet stoves reliant on electricity for fans, sensors, and control panels may not qualify. However, standard room heater stoves without electrical components could serve as emergency heating sources, particularly beneficial for rural off-grid properties.

It will be the installer's responsibility to justify how the technology functions during heating system failures and reverts to the primary system afterward.

Small buildings and portable technologies

The NBHS acknowledges situations where portable heating technologies might be necessary but notes their reliance on power sources, limiting their use during outages.

So what does all of this mean for me?

If you already have a wood burning stove this does not affect you. If you are building a new home, wood-burning stoves remain permissible in Scotland as a secondary / emergency source of heating. Please get in touch for further details or speak to your architect regarding your building warrant permissions.

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