ECO-friendly heat pumps are set to cost Scots less than fossil fuels boilers for the first time as ministers offer grant funding for climate-compatible heating systems.

The Scottish Government is offering owner occupiers £7500 grants to take up a heat pump as well as an additional £7500 to install energy efficiency measures in their homes. Those in rural areas will qualify for an extra £1500 for heat pumps.

Heat pumps harness heat from outside a building, usually form the air or ground, and move it into a building, powered by electricity.

Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Government’s minister for zero carbon buildings, told The Herald that “everyone's more aware than ever before of the urgency” of needing to switch away from fossil fuel boilers.

He added: “It's the cost of living crisis, it's the climate emergency, it's also a national priority for energy security. We need to be addressing all of these things in the same way.”

Mr Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said that the previous scheme where a grant was offered as part of a cashback loan, was not the clearest method for the public.

He said: “Having a slightly more confusing offer that included the cashback element wasn't ideal so we've replaced that with the flexible approach of both the grant and loan offer and covering both the energy efficiency and the heat pumps and zero emission heating side.

Read more: SNP ministers warned planning shake-up will not solve housing crisis

“I hope it's going to be a clearer, easier kind of offer people to get their head around – a more attractive offer and many, many more people realise that they can they can get the investment they need into reducing their energy costs as well as their emissions.”

Mr Harvie suggested that “the costs will vary” depending on where your home is situation but added that “the costs also will come down”.

He said: “I think everybody recognises that the Government isn't going to be able to meet the entire cost of the energy transition with public funding.

“But this grant offer is going to go a very, very long way to making the replacement costs of a gas boiler for a zero emission heating system much more close to being comparable to replacing a gas boiler for a new gas boiler.

“With this funding and with the energy efficiency improvements as well, that's going to reduce the operating costs as well, and that'll be making a big difference to people going forward.”

New regulations will be rolled out from 2025 for homeowners in Scotland to meet tough energy efficiency standards – with a backstop of 2033 for transforming all buildings.

Last year, Mr Harvie announced there will be certain trigger points for buildings to meet EPC band C standards – which could include a change of tenancy when a property is empty, at point of sale, when major refurbishment is carried out or when replacement or installation of a new heating system takes place.

Mr Harvie said as we move into the spring next year, people will “know that this change is going to be coming”.

He added: “When the time is right for their own home if they're replacing a boiler or if they're upgrading the heating system, do that early, before the regulations come in over the coming years.

“And the grant offer will make that much more attractive for people.”

Fabrice Leveque, energy and climate policy manager at WWF Scotland, said: “This is really welcome support that will make it easier for households to protect themselves against sky high fossil fuel prices by taking climate-friendly steps like insulating their homes and moving to electric heat pumps.

“It’s particularly good to see the additional support offered to rural properties, in recognition of the extra costs that these properties often face.

“Soaring gas prices are an urgent reminder that the sooner we can banish polluting and volatile fossil fuels from our homes the better.”

Read more: SNP reported to statistics watchdog over use of renewables figure

Harry Mayers, Head of Home Energy Scotland, said: “Having a warm home and reducing energy bills are big priorities for households in Scotland. The Home Energy Scotland grant and loan will help thousands of households make much-needed improvements to their homes to keep out the cold and drive down bills.

“The changes being made mean that homeowners can now apply for grant funding without a loan; this will be a huge help towards covering the cost of making energy efficiency improvements or installing renewable systems such as heat pumps.

“The updated scheme comes at just the right time as we’re going into winter with energy prices at record highs. The rural uplift, which will provide extra financial support for those who live in rural and island communities who often face increased costs for home improvements, is especially welcome.”