Dynamic Earth Edinburgh ‘walks the walk’ by investing in net zero improvements

20 Apr 2023

  • Edinburgh and Lothians
  • Investment
  • Impact

Scotland's Earth and environment-focused science centre, Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, is practising what it preaches by investing in a programme of upgrades to its Stratosphere - a giant curved roof that covers the entrance and events space - to reduce the popular attraction’s carbon footprint.

Alongside its efforts to educate visitors on the importance of caring for our planet, Dynamic Earth – the UK’s leading earth sciences engagement charity - is actively playing its own part in the race to net zero. The charity has secured £190,000 in loan finance from responsible finance provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS) for sustainable upgrades to its iconic Stratosphere.

The striking Stratosphere was originally constructed back in 1999, using a fabric membrane stretched over a steel skeleton, surrounded by glass walls. However, the materials used for the design make it difficult to heat and cool.

The loan from SIS will be used to upgrade the airflow and lighting systems in the Stratosphere and lighting in other areas of the building. Collectively, these upgrades will result in significant energy savings of more than 200,000 kWh per year, and a reduction in greenhouse emissions (GHG) equivalent to more than 20 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year.

The new system, that requires the installation of five fans, including a huge 7 metre wide destratification fan suspended from the curved roof, will help to transfer warm air that has risen up to the roof space back down to ground level. This will keep visitors warm and utilise otherwise wasted energy. The fans are being supplied and installed by CPA Engineered Solutions Ltd. LED lighting within the visitor centre will also be installed to cut energy use, with work expected to be completed by the end of March.

As the face of public engagement around the sustainable future of our Earth, it’s vital that we ‘walk the walk’ and do the right thing by continuing to address our own energy challenges. What’s more, we are in a unique position to inspire other organisations to do the same, creating a catalytic effect for positive change. Heating and lighting are two of the biggest uses of energy in all of our homes and buildings but making seemingly small changes can have a big impact on your carbon footprint, and the associated running costs. Dynamic Earth opened more than two decades ago and the available technology has improved significantly since then.”

Mark Bishop

CEO, Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth is a much-loved science and learning centre that, by its very purpose, is committed to preserving our planet’s resources. The new upgrades will not only help to reduce energy consumption but – just as critical in the face of a business-costs crisis – will allow for long-term cost savings. Supporting charities and social enterprises with funding to underpin their environmental ambitions will be key to future-proofing the third sector as we approach Scotland’s deadline for net zero.”

Chris Jamieson

Head of Investments, Social Investment Scotland

Dynamic Earth has welcomed around 250,000 visitors a year since opening in 1999 as a focal point in the regeneration of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Against the backdrop of a climate emergency, the science and learning centre aims to inspire and inform people of all ages and backgrounds about the Earth and its future, using scientific evidence to help visitors make informed decisions about the actions they can take for a sustainable planet.

In addition to holding a Green Tourism gold award, Dynamic Earth is among a number of businesses to sign up for the SME Climate Hub Race to Zero initiative.