Energy performance of Scottish public buildings and its impact on the ability to use low-temperature heat

Antoine Reguis, Michele Tunzi, Behrang Vand, Paul Tuohy, John Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Decarbonising heat in the UK by 2050 will require the wider adoption of low-temperature heat. Current systems, largely relying on gas boilers, have design operating temperatures of 82/71 °C (supply/return) while new standards for 4th Generation District Heating are 55/25 °C. Local authorities must set-up strategies to get their buildings "Heat network ready" but this raises the question of the ability for existing buildings to use low-temperature heat. The aim and the novelty of this paper is to establish a relationship between an energy 'performance gap' in Scottish public buildings and their ability to use low-temperature heat. This performance gap has been evaluated for 121 non-domestic buildings, primarily schools, operated by The City of Edinburgh Council. Space heating system are assumed oversized by 10%. The results show that renovation of the building envelope, while highly desirable, is not a pre-requisite for using low-temperature heat in pre-1980 constructed buildings, which represent 64% of the stock. It also highlights that post-1980 buildings, predominantly utilising mechanical ventilation systems, demonstrate an increasing performance gap which could limit their ability to use reduced operating temperature, especially in windy conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113064
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Early online date24 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • 4GDH
  • district heating
  • local authorities
  • low-temperature heat
  • non-domestic
  • oversizing
  • performance gap
  • public buildings
  • radiator output
  • Scotland
  • U-values


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