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Castle Semple Visitor Centre, Clyde Murshiel

Castle Semple Visitor Centre, Clyde Murshiel

Aiming to be a carbon neutral building to raise awareness of energy efficiency technologies


The Castle Semple Visitor Centre in the Clyde Murshiel Regional Park is aiming to be a carbon neutral building, and to raise awareness of energy efficiency technologies with the 80,000 visitors to the centre. It is a showcase building for Renfrewshire Council, who, as part of its Carbon Management Plan, made a commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 25% of a 2008 baseline by 2014.




A phased approach has been taken in the refurbishment of Castle Semple Murshiel Regional Park. A series of energy efficiency measures have been adopted. These have been funded by Renfrewshire Council’s Energy Efficiency Fund.

An appraisal was conducted to identify where energy savings might be made. Each technology was analysed to establish the initial and running costs of each option, as well as the financial savings which might be realised. Each project was tendered and once implemented, all were monitored to establish the success of the measure.

The projects implemented to date are:

  • Upgrading light fittings and controls: fluorescent tubes upgraded from T8 to T5, plus controls added in low traffic areas.
  • Air Sourced Heat Pump (ASHP) and improved heating controls: ASHP in the café area, with heating controls to limit the time that the heating is on.
  • Photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels: to generate electricity and to provide hot water


Future plans include the replacement of some fluorescent tubes with LED’s. A biomass boiler is also considered – this is expected to make the building carbon neutral. There is also the potential for the installation of a wind turbine and the use of electric cars in the regional park.


The upgrade of light fittings cost £6,600 with a payback of 4.5 years. Photovoltaic and solar thermal panels had an initial outlay of £30,000. The expected payback of these items was 9 years.

The benefits of the energy efficiency refurbishment are an enhanced reputation for Renfrewshire Council and the provision of information, education and skills to the local community.

Breaking the refurbishment into smaller, manageable projects made the process easier.


The refurbishment of Castle Semple Visitor Centre is on-going. As such, the best available products, at the time, were used for each stage of the project, and this will continue to be the case.

Stakeholder engagement was vital to the success of the project. The Energy Team worked closely with Clyde Murshiel Regional Park. It was important also to engage with the staff at the Visitor Centre – they were found to be a captive audience, as the refurbishment was in line with the park’s objectives of enabling learning, and promoting and fostering sustainable development.

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