4. Design for a low carbon economy

This section contains projects and initiatives that are underway to deliver the policy commitments related Design for a low carbon economy.  Work across the range of commitments is on-going and further actions and projects will be added as they are developed.


Low carbon design and planning should be a priority.

Project clients, commissioners, designers and approvers should encourage design innovation and take advantage of locally-sourced materials to facilitate sustainable development.

A ‘re-use not replace’ approach should be considered first when dealing with our existing built environment.



Action Plan Commitment Delivery Actions

We will investigate methods which effectively incentivise the use of existing buildings and brownfield land.

Town Centre charrettes are examining  opportunities for the re-use of existing buildings and the effective and sustainable redevelopment of brownfield land.

We will continue to lobby the UK Government on the reduction of VAT to works on existing buildings.

The White Paper, Scotland’s Future, states that new powers over taxation, will allow the exploration of a VAT reduction on repairs and maintenance work.

We will continue to work to ensure that the appropriate skills and materials are available to conserve, repair and maintain our existing buildings, so that they continue to contribute to the low carbon economy.

Work is on-going on the implementation of to the Traditional Skills Strategy  


The National Conservation Centre will be at the heart of work to conserve, repair and maintain our existing buildings and further information on this building can be found at here

Landscape is at the heart of Scotland’sidentity. We will work with landscape bodies to help promote landscape as a resource which requires careful management and conservation.

The Scottish Scenic Routes programme is delivering pilot projects across Scotland that promote our rich landscape resource.  Two projects have now been delivered, and three are in progress.  We are continuing to work with partners, including the Landscape Institute Scotland to develop a national strategy for scenic routes that will promote our landscape assets within sensitive, contextual, design-led approaches.

We will promote the creation of landscape frameworks and masterplans and the inclusion of landscape at the earliest stages of planning and development feasibility.


We will promote the ability of design to deliver compact, well-connected places, in order to reduce carbon-related emissions.


We will advocate the delivery of places that prioritise pedestrians and encourage activity and healthy lifestyles.

Research on the implementation of Designing Streets   has been carried out. The findings are now being taken forward and tools to assist the delivery of high quality streets that prioritise pedestrians are being developed.

To build on the sustainability labelling system for new homes, we will introduce fully developed ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ levels for new schools.

Commitment delivered


In October 2013, sustainability labelling for non-domestic buildings was launched as part of the Sustainability Section (link is external) within the 2013 Technical Handbooks for Non Domestic buildings.