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Edinburgh Castle boosts green credentials with target-beating carbon cut

11 January 2013

Historic Scotland has announced that its drive to cut energy consumption from Edinburgh Castle, which plays a major part in the agency’s aim to reduce overall carbon emissions, is well ahead of target.

New figures show that the Castle, which attracts more than a million visitors every year and accounts for nearly a third of all Historic Scotland’s energy consumption, reduced its carbon footprint by 18 per cent in year 2011/12, compared to the baseline year.  This exceeds the agency target of 10 per cent.

The cut also represents a major cost saving, with last year’s bill of £291,000 down from £400,000 in the baseline year of 2008/9. This drop of 27 per cent was achieved despite rising fuel costs, two colder than average winters, and increasing visitor numbers at the Castle.

At Historic Scotland, Head of Sustainability, Research and Technical Education Ewan Hyslop said: “This remarkable reduction has been achieved through a multi-faceted approach that involved upgrades to boilers, an improved building energy management system, enhanced lighting controls, and better insulation.

“We’ve also worked to increase staff awareness – simply closing doors and windows can make a huge difference, and involved other Castle users such as the Army, National Museums of Scotland, and catering staff.”

Energy use at Edinburgh Castle is sufficient to power around 300 homes, and savings at this site can have a significant impact on the agency’s overall consumption.

Ewan added: “We’ve recently installed new boilers, controls and pumps at Edinburgh Castle, and we’re just starting to see the benefits – analysis of year 2012/13 to date show we are on course for carbon reductions of 24 per cent against the baseline year.

“However, these cuts are very much our first steps. The real challenge will be maintaining them consistently, year-on-year, particularly in light of the more extreme weather we’ve been experiencing in recent years, which can have a dramatic effect on energy consumption.”

Energy use in the agency’s buildings accounts for nearly 90 per cent of total carbon emissions. Historic Scotland is also applying its expertise to cut carbon emissions at other sites around the country, including works depots and offices, and at its headquarters in Edinburgh.

Around a tenth of the agency’s carbon emissions derive from business travel and fuel consumption, and the processing of water and waste – factors which Historic Scotland is also acting to reduce.

The agency has set a carbon emissions reduction target of 25 per cent, to be achieved by 2015. Historic Scotland has published proposals for achieving this figure in its Carbon Management Plan, which was published in 2011.

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.  


  • Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places.  

Historic Scotland around the web:
www.twitter.com/welovehistory
www.facebook.com/visithistoricscotland
www.youtube.com/historicscotlandtv
www.flickr.com/groups/makeyourownhistory

                                                             Year of Natural Scotland logo linking to www.visitscotland.com/natural

For further information


John MacNeil
Media Relations Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8600 or 07854 366 827
john.macneil@scotland.gsi.gov.uk