When we put together our list of Seven green family days out in Scotland, we hoped it would be a fun way to demonstrate the power of wind, solar and hydro energy in action – and also provide a few good ideas for those days when you are at a loose end and in need of some inspiration.
That article has been very popular, so we thought we would dig a little deeper to find even more green days out for you, your friends and family.
Featuring a selection of members from the Green Network for Businesses, we’ve pulled together a list of 12 ‘open to the public’ businesses that are putting sustainability into action.
The Green Network for Businesses comprises more than 300 businesses from all over Scotland that have made improvements to save energy, cut waste and reduce costs.
1. National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh
The National Library of Scotland is an estate of nine premises in Edinburgh and Glasgow, preserving memories of the nation with collections that span centuries.
Covering all aspects of human endeavour from the earliest times to the digital age, you are as likely to find an ancient manuscript as an archived movie amongst the vast collection of more than 27 million items. 50% of the estate’s total internal floor area is dedicated to the environmentally controlled storage of these collections.
2. Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
The Scottish Parliament accommodates around 1200 staff including 129 elected MSPs and their staff, over 450 Scottish Parliamentary Service staff, various Scottish Government staff, contractors and media personnel.
The Parliament also plays host to around 300,000 visitors a year, offering guided tours free of charge allowing visitors to explore the architecture, art and history of the award-winning Scottish Parliament building.
3. Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh
An unforgettable day out, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo is home to more than 2,500 incredible animals from around the world.
Thomas Gillespie was the founder of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and a true visionary. A lawyer with a passion for zoology, opening Edinburgh Zoo in 1913 with support from the city council, four years after RZSS was formed.
4. Filmhouse, Edinburgh
Scotland’s leading independent cinema, celebrating world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity, Filmhouse is the home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. As the Filmhouse was established over 30 years ago, the managers have made a number of resource efficiency improvement measures to the building to reduce energy costs, and improve their customers’ experience when visiting the venue.
5. The Scottish Café and Restaurant, Edinburgh
The Scottish Café & Restaurant is a successful collaboration with the Scottish National Gallery and a Green Tourism Gold Star award holder. This dining venue in the heart of Edinburgh is popular with gallery visitors as well as a destination restaurant in its own right.
Committed to high environmental standards and using local produce, the restaurant sources 90% of its ingredients are used from more than 60 Scottish suppliers in addition to having its own kitchen garden.
6. Bird Gardens Scotland CIC in Lauder, Berwickshire
Bird Gardens Scotland CIC, near Lauder in the Scottish Borders, is on its way to becoming a leading conservation breeding centre for endemic and exotic bird species.
Powered by volunteers and effective partnerships, through which it sources materials and resources to develop the site, Bird Gardens Scotland educates visitors about the inherent value of nature. The site, which includes gardens brimming with native wildflowers and orchards, provides plenty of opportunities for visitors to engage with nature.
7. The Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick
The Scottish Seabird Centre is a conservation and education charity in the beautiful coastal town of North Berwick, supported by its 5-star visitor experience. Dive in and explore the wonder of Scotland’s marine environment on an interactive Discovery Experience, Seabird Café, gift shop and seasonal boat trips.
The centre has won more than twenty awards including three Scottish Thistle Awards, three Queen’s Awards 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.
8. Loch Ness Shores in Foyers, Highlands
A village on the shores of Loch Ness has been enjoying a fresh influx of tourists since a new, award-winning, environmentally-friendly campsite has opened its doors to the public.
Not only has the local hotelier benefitted as a result of the extra trade, opening a new bistro and bar to give the village its first pub for over a decade, but the village shop is no longer threatened with closure. All this may not have happened had it not been for the discovery of a freshwater aquifer buried beneath the ground – helping to facilitate a project involving one of the most innovative renewable heating systems in the country.
9. House of Dun, Angus
With stunning vistas overlooking Montrose Basin and set amid glorious gardens and woodland, House of Dun is every inch the perfect 18th-century laird’s home – and a fantastic day out for all the family. Built in 1743 to replace the medieval tower house that had been home to the Erskine family since 1375, the house is filled with treasures that tell the stories of the people who lived here.
As a National Trust for Scotland building, House of Dun is committed to conservation and protecting the environment.
10. Tomatin Distillery in Tomatin
Tomatin Distillery, located 16 miles south of Inverness, was become the first Scottish distillery to install a new, state-of-the-art, sustainable biomass boiler. This renewable energy boiler displaced the distillery’s previous heavy-fuel oil usage and produces both heat and steam for the whisky-making process.
Fuelled by locally produced wood pellets, this new 4MW biomass steam boiler solution provided by Balcas, allows Tomatin Distillery to displace the majority of its heavy fuel oil and, in doing so, cut its carbon emissions.
11. Seagate Leisure Centre, Irvine
Seagate Leisure Centre is an amusement arcade and café in the picturesque seaside town of Irvine, North Ayrshire.
For the owner of Seagate Leisure Centre, the decision to install a renewable Solar PV was an easy one to make, “due to the nature of the business, we are forced to use a lot of lighting on the premises and were aware this was becoming more and more expensive with continually rising energy prices” says owner Stewart.
12. Castle Semple Visitor Centre, Lochwinnoch
Castle Semple Visitor Centre and Country Park is the gateway to the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park with wonderful water for outdoor activities plus walks, wildlife and woodlands. Having installed lighting and heating heating controls, an air source heat pump and solar panels, the centre raises awareness of energy efficiency and provides practical demonstrations of technologies to its 80,000 – 90,000 visitors every year.
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