What makes it energy efficient?

  • Lean - Reduce demand through passive design

  • Clean - Achieve high energy efficiency levels

  • Green - Low and carbon zero energy sources

Lean - Passive Design

Insulation; thin double glazing; air tightness

Sustainable design methods will enable a 30% reduction in energy consumption compared to the former building’s performance, and 30% less than building regulations demand.

  • Air Tightness: 5 (m3/h)/m2 at 50 Pa

  • High levels insulation achieved by replacing / upgrading windows; ‘sealed tight and ventilated right’

  • Maximising natural ventilation through the use of openable windows to provide both ventilation and reduce the overheating potential in the building.

  • Reduction of Solar Gains through the use of solar controlled glazing and solar shading.

  • Maximising the use of daylighting to reduce artificial lighting

Clean - High Levels of Energy Efficiency

  • Energy efficient lighting using infra red sensor, dimmable controls and daylight zoning.

  • Underfloor Heating in communal areas

  • Variable speed pumps – Space heating       

  • Building Management System – includes sub-metering to monitor different energy streams including; heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting etc

Green – Low/Zero Carbon Energy

District CHP Scheme (combined Heat and Power)

  • The building will be connected to nearby Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and associated electrical and district heating networks (DHN), allowing a 38% decrease in CO2 emissions and meeting 56% energy demand.

  • Air Source Heat Pump providing efficient cooling to a minimal number of rooms.

  • 30mPV (photo Voltaic) south facing hub roof - Creating a 2% CO2 reduction and meeting 1% energy demand.


  • A rainwater harvesting system is designed to collect rainwater from the roof of the building. This collected water is to be used for flushing WCs throughout the building. This minimises the amount of mains potable water that the building consumes.

  • Water saving sanitary appliances have been specified for the project including WCs, urinals and tap fittings.

  • A water meter and a leak detection system are specified to monitor water consumption and to minimise water wastage.

Contributing to a Sustainable City

The location within the City is important, the reuse of existing buildings and the walkability and amenity of our existing towns and cities being a key aspect of sustainability that is usually overlooked – what we might call the integrity of the city.

In remodelling and reusing the Old High School building we will recover an important Edinburgh space, the historic Surgeon’s Square, behind the old school (where the famous Edinburgh murderers and gravediggers, Burke and Hare, delivered cadavers to the dissecting studios of the famous Dr Knox).

We will replant and renew the Square, raising the usability – and therefore value – of the old buildings round it, including Old Surgeon’s Hall, dating from 1697.

We will also open-up the routes that connect to the town including the blocked public stairs down to the Cowgate, improving the connectivity of the City – the ability to walk to the main Station, or Parliament, or the Royal Park, being one of the primary aspects of a “sustainable” city. In this way history, for us, does not simply relate to tourism, but is about uncovering the value and usability – and therefore sustainability – of a place.

Within the building the key central space is the atrium, which we stitch between the old, 1777 building, and the later 19th century extension.  Our intention is to combine and contrast the weight and solidity of our historic architectures with a contemporary sensibility that is full of light, open-ness and connectivity. The principal atria space connecting through to the main conference and social spaces, providing an open meeting forum, whose lecture and café spaces, in turn, open out to the Square behind.


Our new building: http://www.edinburghcentre.org/our-new-building.html

What makes it innovative: http://www.edinburghcentre.org/What-makes-it-innovative.html

What makes it green: http://www.edinburghcentre.org/What-makes-it-green.html 

History: http://www.edinburghcentre.org/History.html

Photography project:http://www.edinburghcentre.org/Photography-project.html

Learning & teaching: http://www.edinburghcentre.org/Learning-and-Teaching.html