Saughton Park

Overview of project:

Saughton Park is Edinburgh’s first green-powered, low carbon park. It combines a micro-hydro scheme to generate electricity and ground source heat pumps to generate heat for properties across the park.

Run by the City of Edinburgh Council, the project is the first of its kind in the city and demonstrates the important role that the Capital’s greenspaces can play in transforming our current energy system.

How does it work?

It uses Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) technology underneath the park’s car park and sport pitches to provide a low carbon heating solution for the park’s visitor facilities, cafe and greenhouses. It is estimated that this way of heating the facilities saves about 72 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the same as the gas use of 42 homes in one year.

Meanwhile, a microhydro scheme on the Water of Leith uses an Archimedes Screw Turbine to generate electricity by taking advantage of the water flow. It has been designed to feed power to the two GSHP to offset their electricity demand together with the park’s lighting and buildings. This prevents more than 90 tonnes of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere each year.

The project has had strong backing from the local community through the park Friends group.

The renewable energy project at Saughton Park is one of Council’s energy innovation pilots. The Council is also exploring how projects like the one at Saughton Park can be replicated across their portfolio of land assets, including within other parks, around the city to support its target of net zero emissions by 2030.

To resource this project, the Council put in place a package of funding from a number of partners. This includes match-funding for the micro-hydro scheme from Scottish Power Energy Network (SPEN), funding for the Ground Source Heat Pumps (GHSP) through the Scottish Government’s Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and a SALIX Loan and support for a detailed feasibility study for both systems through Scottish Government Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme (LCITP).

Key stats:

  • Greenspaces in Edinburgh could provide ground source heat to 11% of households in the city
  • Generating heating through the ground could save around 37,000t of CO2 per year – that’s the same carbon footprint made by over 15,600 homes using gas to heat their homes each year. 
  • Annual fuel bills for the park reduced by approximately £15k each year.

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