Carbon innovation centre takes shape

Building work has started at Edinburgh’s new carbon innovation centre.

Michael Graham, Executive Chairman of GRAHAM Construction; Nigel Brown, Senior Vice Principal of The University of Edinburgh; Andy Kerr, Executive Director ECCI; Calum Duncan, Malcolm Fraser Archirects.

The £10 million Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) aims to be a worldwide focal point for low carbon experts from business, finance and the public sector.

The Centre will occupy the site of Edinburgh’s historic Old High School in High School Yards, which counts famous figures such as Sir Walter Scott among its former pupils.

Contractor GRAHAM Construction has begun erecting the innovative timber frame for the new centre.

The project involves refurbishing and remodelling the space to deliver a cutting-edge innovation suite, lecture theatres, seminar rooms and exhibition and social areas.

The ECCI is hosted by the University of Edinburgh, in partnership with Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh Napier University.

It seeks to create an environment where new world-changing low carbon solutions can be developed, and where organisations learn how to survive and thrive in the low carbon economy.

The challenge of creating a building which could be the only one of its kind in the world is daunting, but one we are relishing being a part of. Now that the timber frame is going up, we can really see the fabric of the new building start to take shape and we look forward to delivering on the ECCI’s vision of a unique facility which actively encourages collaboration among its occupants.

Neil McFarlaneGRAHAM Construction Regional Director

New centre

It is hoped that an innovative approach to design and construction could see the ECCI become the first refurbished building in the world to achieve the industry sustainability BREEAM standard of Outstanding.

In making designation decisions, BREEAM considers elements such as waste, pollution, land use and ecology, materials, management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water and an imaginative approach.

Features such as using harvested rainwater for use in the flushing of WCs, and utilising solar-controlled glazing in the windows to keep occupants cool and remove the need for air conditioning and underfloor heating, will all contribute to a 30 per cent saving in energy consumption over the building’s former performance.

The ECCI is expected to be completed and opened in summer 2013.

This highly innovative, low carbon approach to the refurbishment of High School Yards is symbolic of all the work that ECCI has already been doing and we are really looking forward to moving into our famous and historic new home to continue that good work next year.

Andy KerrECCI Executive Director

Growing market

The green economy in Scotland, which employs 73,000 people, is forecast to employ 130,000 by 2020, analysts claim.

The global market for low-carbon goods and services is valued at more than £3 trillion.

The work of the centre has been backed with a £1.4 million award from the European Regional Development Fund, which is administered by the Scottish Government.

It will allow eight full-time staff, from across the three universities, to be employed at the ECCI over a three-year period.