Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Low carbon and renewable energy

Since 2002 the University has invested more than £20 million in an efficient network of low carbon and renewable power generation that now provides the majority of our energy needs.

Our approaches to improving energy efficiency won the Green Energy Award for Best Environmental Initiative in 2004.

Our combined heat and power stations

Our first power station was originally proposed in 2000 by final year Mechanical Engineering student Andrea Connelly. Andrea saw her proposal realised in 2006 as the second combined heat and power (CHP) station was opened at the University.



Since then, the University has expanded its CHP network, saving 8,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide and more than £1.5 million every year. Our most recent development is at the Holyrood and Pleasance campus, serving the Moray House School of Education, the Centre for Sport and Exercise and new student accommodation.

CHP and David Somervell

Veterinary School and Roslin Institute next in line for Trigeneration

The University signed a contract in April 2016 to develop a further £11m combined heat and power CHP scheme, in its latest move to reduce carbon emissions across its campuses.  The new energy centre will serve the Easter Bush campus and provide electricity for the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies – along with a growing number of veterinary research facilities. 

As a new building on the present campus to allow for planned expansion, it will have both CHP engine, gas-fired boilers and an absorption chiller similar to the set-up at George Square.  The heat generated in the summer will be usefully used to create cooling for the many world class biomedical research labs on site.  It will also house a freezer farm for research samples from the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. 

CHP works by capturing the heat that is usually lost when generating power and using it to heat and cool buildings.


Our renewable energy generation

William Rankine Building

The University is exploring further opportunities to learn from and develop renewable power, both on and off campus. We have one 26 kWe solar energy installation on the walls and roof of the William Rankine Building at the King's Buildings campus.

University of Edinburgh Utilities Supply Company

A subsidiary company was established to install and operate Combined Heat and Power energy centres at various premises of the University.



Suggest renewable projects with the Sustainable Campus Fund

Zero by 2040 Climate Strategy