Scotland's zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie has launched a consultation on legislation that will require homeowners and businesses to overhaul how homes are heated.

Mr Harvie told MSPs that "the days of heating our homes and buildings with fossil fuel and polluting systems are numbered”.

This is what has been set out in the consultation and what will be expected of the public and when.

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps can come in several forms – with the most common being air-source heat pumps, as well as ground-source heat pumps.

They are powered by electricity and use the temperature of the air to adequately heat a home, along with improved levels of energy efficiency.

When will I have to install a heat pump?

Homes in Scotland will need to switch to a renewable heating system, which includes heat pumps and other methods that do not burn fossil fuels by 2045, the date by which Scotland will become net zero.

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But those who buy a new property will have to upgrade their heating system before 2045.

The consultation points to "within a specified amount of time following completion of the sale" and that "between two and five years is likely to be appropriate".

Already-agreed planning standards set out that all newly built homes will be banned from installing fossil fuel gas boilers from April 2024.

What energy efficiency standards are being proposed by the Scottish Government?

The Scottish Government is modernising the outdated EPC ratings system, with properties expected to meet new ECP band C standards by certain dates.

The new standards take the type of heating system into account, so a heat pump will help a rating compared to a gas boiler, as well as the fabric of the building and other insulation measures.

When will I have to meet those efficiency standards?

Under the draft plans by Patrick Harvie, privately rented homes will need to meet the modernised energy efficiency standards by 2028.

Owner-occupied homes will be required to meet those same standards by the end of 2033.

Do heat pumps work in Scotland?

Some scare stories have emerged that Scotland is simply too cold for heat pumps to work. But evidence has shown that is false.

The European countries where the most heat pumps have been installed are Finland, Sweden and Norway – which have much harsher winters than Scotland.

Read more: Heat pumps misinformation bringing confusion and delay

Crucially, energy efficiency improvements will be needed in our buildings to ensure heat pumps work as effectively as possible.

The Scottish Government believes heat pumps are suitable for the majority of homes in Scotland, while other heating systems that do not burn fossil fuels can be used for homes that they are not suitable for.

How much do heat pumps cost?

There is not specific cost for a heat pump – it will very much depend on the property the device is being installed.

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A ball park figure of around £10,000 has been cited in the past, but it is difficult to obtain an accurate costing without a specific quote for a property.

Some rural and isolated properties are likely to cost more for heating systems to be installed.

What grants and loans are available in Scotland to buy a heat pump?

The Scottish Government has the most generous loan and grants scheme in the UK for renewable heating systems.

The Home Energy Scotland scheme, backed by the Scottish Government offers up to £7,500 as a grant and an additional £7,500 as an interest free loan to purchase a heat pump for those that qualify.

This amount is boosted to a £9,000 grant if the household qualifies for a rural uplift.

The scheme also offers grans of up to 75% of the total costs of home energy efficiency improvements, up to a maximum of £7,500 or £9,000 for rural uplift properties.