Sustainability at the Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh considers the environment at the heart of our activities in the world of plants. We aim to minimise our impacts on the environment while we work.

Dawyck's Hydro

Dawyck House was one of the first houses in Scotland to have its own electricity supply. The early Victorian hydro-electric system used water from the Scrape Burn which runs through the Garden. The old Dynamo House was situated in the middle of the Garden not far from the house.

By the time RBGE acquired the Garden in 1978 the system had long since been replaced by a supply from the national grid. The remaining infrastructure had fallen into disrepair and been removed.

With increasing interest in sustainability and the need to reduce carbon emissions we decided to reintroduce a hydro-electric system using new technology. Depending on the flow of the burn it can produce enough electricity to meet our demands plus surplus energy which we can sell to the grid Power output and carbon savings are displayed on a meter inside the Visitor Centre.

Dawyck turbine hut

Dawyck Turbine Hut

The Hydro power scheme was officially launched on the 19th May 2014 making Dawyck the first carbon neutral botanic garden in the UK. Sufficient electricity to power 12 average-sized Scottish family homes for one year has been delivered to the national grid by this scheme.

See How Dawyck’s hydro-electric system works