Going Green at Edinburgh Castle

Situated in the heart of Scotland’s capital city, the castle is an instantly recognisable landmark for all the right reasons. We caught up with David Harkin in our Conservation team to talk about the castle’s energy saving measures. To start…

Edinburgh Castle lit up green

Situated in the heart of Scotland’s capital city, the castle is an instantly recognisable landmark for all the right reasons. We caught up with David Harkin in our Conservation team to talk about the castle’s energy saving measures.

Edinburgh Castle lit up green

To start off here are some facts about the castle that you may not know:

  • Made up of 27 individual buildings
  • Spread over 7 acres of land
  • We have welcomed over 1.5 million visitors in 2015.

It is therefore no surprise that the castle is the biggest energy user in Historic Scotland’s portfolio of properties in care. In fact, here at the castle we account for almost one third of our total carbon emissions, or what is the equivalent to around 166 of our own smaller serviced sites or around 280 ‘typical’ households.

These numbers are unquestionably BIG, however what they don’t tell, at first glance, is the remarkable story behind a significant reduction in carbon emissions at the castle over the last five years or so.

Since our baseline year of 2008/09 we have seen continued reductions in the amount of energy the castle is using and as a result a reduction in carbon emissions (bar a blip in 2010 caused by an exceptionally cold winter).

Over the last year -2015/16- energy consumption at the castle has been reduced by 29% in comparison to 2008/09. This corresponds to a reduction in carbon emissions of 31%. In the same year, we have welcomed over 1.5 million visitors, a substantial increase on previous years.

Two man in hazard suits handling sheepwool insulation in the attic of Edinburgh Castle

This has been achieved through a number of projects over the last few years to improve energy efficiency. These include

  • Re-lamping with more efficient LED lighting,
  • Making improvements to lighting controls,
  • Laying sheep’s wool insulation in a number of the castle buildings
  • Insulating exposed pipes,
  • Implementation of automated ‘smart’ meters,
  • The upgrading of the Building Management System (BMS);
  • The replacement of gas boilers, controls and pumps.

Edinburgh Castle seen from Princes Street

Technical interventions, however, only form part of the story. Our staff’s awareness has also played a key role through implementing simple (but effective) practices such as closing doors and turning down radiators. These energy saving measures could not have been achieved without the commitment and hard work of all involved, and a huge thank you goes out to everyone.

To learn more about the energy measures used at the castle, join our tour on Friday 25 November, more info here (only a few tickets remaining).