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The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick

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The centre has won more than twenty awards including three Scottish Thistle Awards, three Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainability), the People and Environment Achievement Award, Green Tourism Gold Star Award and the Chamber of Commerce Environmental Award.

Their solar PV system was installed in 2007 by Solar Wind Applications and consists of two arrays, each 4.5 kW in size. They also have solar powered cameras on Craigleith, Bass Rock Fidra, the Isle of May and Dunbar Harbour to monitor the bird and animal life of the Forth estuary life. Charlie Marshall, the Centre’s fundraising manager, believes these have been the best application so far of renewable energy.  They offer clean and silent energy for the cameras, causing minimal disruption to the wildlife, monitoring of which is integral to their conservation and education efforts. With few exceptions, the solar panels provide sufficient power for year round viewing.

The wind turbine is a Swift turbine installed by Renewable Devices Ltd. It is rated 1.5 kW, but this is dependent on optimal conditions and output rarely reaches this level.

The Centre is happy to share its experience with schools, charities and other organisations considering renewable energy. Financial incentives like the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Initiative are not available if any grant funding is used when installing renewables. Charlie advises taking this into consideration and comparing different funding options when deciding which technology is right for your organisation.

A number of innovative measures inside the Centre have also been implemented to reduce internal energy usage where possible. In 2010, 450 lighting units were installed by Energy Sense, including ‘movement sensors’ to lower energy usage in the building. Thermal imagery was used to detect areas in the building which were losing heat. These areas were then insulated with organic insulation, essentially inert, shredded newspaper, which is both organic and energy efficient. The final addition was the installation of solar hot water panels to help save gas costs and ease the strain on boilers.

The centre has a dedicated Green Team which continuously monitors water, gas and electricity consumption as well as encouraging the use of environment-friendly products. The team also try to use locally-sourced products wherever they can. Other measures implemented include; water ‘hippos’ installed in flush toilets to save water, recycling of waste cooking oil and dedicated recycling units around the facility.

Creating a culture of practising what they preach, the centre invests in environmental awareness training as part of their induction programme, and continuous environmental training for all their staff.


Leisure/hospitality/tourism
Solar PVSolar water heating Wind turbine
LightingWater minimisation and management
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