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Net Zero Buildings


Working with partners on the decarbonisation of buildings

Scottish Government is legally committed to meeting targets set out within the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, which includes reaching net zero by 2045. 

With Scotland’s buildings accounting for approximately 20% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy emphasised the urgent need to tackle the emissions associated with our buildings to ensure Scotland achieves its climate change targets.

The focus of our Net Zero Buildings team is to work with partners on the decarbonisation of the built environment as set out in the Heat In Buildings Strategy.

Working towards that goal, we seek to create an environment where Scotland can attract the scale of investment that is needed from the private sector into areas such as heat networks.

We also facilitate the development of innovative private sector-led financial solutions for our homes and buildings.  In doing so, we believe it is important it creates green jobs, improves the environment and supports increased well-being. To deliver Scotland’s ambitious 2045 climate change target, the public sector must show leadership and demonstrate, through its own estate, what can be achieved.

We help drive the change that is needed by both supporting project development and also, drawing upon lessons from what has gone before to provide the right tools and guidance. To deliver this work, our team works closely with other workstreams as well as other organisations as experience tells us we can achieve more by collaborating on the delivery of shared ambitions.

Our work is primarily focused on the following programmes:

To deliver Scotland’s ambitious 2045 climate change target, the public sector must show leadership and demonstrate, through its own estate, what can be achieved.

Our Net Zero Buildings team in partnership with The Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and National Services Scotland, has given the Net Zero Public Sector Buildings Standard an overhaul and it now includes guidance on retrofitting existing buildings.

The Standard was first adopted by Scottish Ministers in 2020 for new build projects, supporting public bodies to build net zero-ready buildings that will meet their net-zero deadlines; it was further developed in August 2023 to support project teams to plan incremental retrofit activities that will meet current and forthcoming local, regional and national net zero policies.

The re-launched Standard now has its own dedicated website where a whole suite of supporting documents and third-party resources can be quickly accessed.

Heat networks are a key strategic technology for reducing emissions from heating our homes and buildings. They will become a core component of Scotland’s heat supply. There are significant challenges at the pre-capital stage of heat network project development in Scotland, such as a lack of skills, knowledge and resource.

Working closely with Scottish Government and other partners, including Zero Waste Scotland, we aim to create the conditions for accelerated heat network development. For more information visit: Heat Network Support Unit.

In order to support the delivery of heat networks, during 2023 Scottish Government asked our Net Zero Buildings team to review various delivery models and assess their potential for increasing the pace and scale of heat networks across the country.

That work is complete and our report makes a number of recommendations, highlighting that whilst some existing models can be improved, some potential new models could help deliver more networks quicker.  

The Heat in Buildings Strategy published in October 2021 includes a commitment to establish a Green Heat Finance Taskforce. Our team helped set up the taskforce and are co-secretariat alongside Scottish Government.

The purpose of the Taskforce is to develop a portfolio of innovative financial solutions for building owners in Scotland to ensure that by 2045, our homes and buildings no longer contribute to climate change, as part of the wider just transition to net zero.

The remit of the Taskforce is to:

  • build on existing evidence to set out the alternative sources of funding and financing for heat decarbonisation, including existing technologies and new technologies which may develop, by September 2023 for both the medium and longer-term requirements
  • explore and potentially pilot new and value-for-money innovative financing mechanisms for individual and community-level investment
  • act as a catalyst for long-term relationships and partnering across the public sector, the heat sector industry, wider supply chain, building owners and investor/financial institutions
  • support the alignment of the requirements for heat decarbonisation with the needs and investment activity across the wider energy system, considering returns and wider socio-economic benefits

For more information visit Heat in Buildings: Green Heat Finance Taskforce.

Since the launch of our Street Lighting Toolkit and procurement frameworks in 2014 we have provided summary business cases to all 32 local authorities and further support where needed, facilitating the replacement of over 75% of street lights with 680,000 energy-efficient LED equivalents.

Investment to date is over £220m, including £20m during the Covid lockdown period and has already saved local authorities £70m and will provide further estimated savings of £800m and 1.7m tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of the replacement lanterns.

The street lighting toolkit has received several industry awards and has been adopted by UK Government for use in England and Wales. Indeed, over 200 organisations globally have downloaded this award-winning tool. 

Our team


Stephen Vere

Senior Associate Director

Stephen is a Chartered Accountant, with a project finance background. Stephen leads the Net Zero Buildings team whose main priorities are the decarbonisation of heat, energy efficiency, delivering net zero infrastructure.


Sheelagh MacGregor

Associate Director

Sheelagh is a lawyer in the Net Zero Buildings team, currently working on the development and delivery of heat networks. Sheelagh joined SFT in 2022 after 10 years in private practice, where she specialised in public law and the consenting of major infrastructure projects across various sectors, and undertook secondments to both private and public sector organisations.


Paul Moseley

Associate Director

Paul is a lawyer in SFT’s Net Zero Buildings team, currently leading on heat decarbonisation and carbon capture and storage.

He joined SFT in 2011 after five years in private practice, having previously undertaken engineering, project management and business development roles in the defence, IT and technology transfer sectors. He has a PhD in mathematics and an MBA. 


Ross Ramsay

Associate Director

Ross is an energy professional and chartered engineer with significant experience across the built environment and infrastructure.

He helped develop the Net Zero Public Sector Buildings Standard along with the lessons learned around the decarbonisation from the Early Learning and Childcare expansion programme.


Toby Tucker

Associate Director

Toby is a qualified Chartered Accountant and finance specialist with over 20 years' experience in corporate and project finance, as well as Banking. Toby leads SFT's work on Scottish Government’s Energy Efficient Scotland programme.

He led the development and delivery of SFT’s successful Streetlighting toolkit. He is a Director of Energy for Edinburgh service company. 


Jamie Goth

Associate Director

Jamie is a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years of experience in climate change mitigation. He has worked in consultancy and public sector roles in the UK, EU and Lebanon. He joined SFT’s multidisciplinary Net Zero Buildings workstream in 2013.


Kevin Waters

Associate Director

Kevin joined the Net Zero Buildings team in 2023, working on the development and delivery of heat networks. Kevin joined with over 20 years of project and programme management experience across multiple sectors, including delivering major infrastructure and renewable energy projects in the public sector and latterly in the private sector leading the remediation and development of a marine and renewable technology park.

Kevin also played a pivotal role in leading the development of Scotland’s first 5th generation renewable energy heat network at the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.