Edinburgh arts venue tenants tap into water savings

Thames Water's Kevin Durnian with Marcus Pickering of Pickering's Gin at the Summerhall arts venue in Edinburgh. Picture: Wullie Marr
Thames Water's Kevin Durnian with Marcus Pickering of Pickering's Gin at the Summerhall arts venue in Edinburgh. Picture: Wullie Marr
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Firms based at an Edinburgh arts venue and creative hub are set to cut their water bills by 10 per cent after switching supplier.

Summerhall, home to 120 businesses including Barney’s Beer and Pickering’s Gin, said it would be able to reinvest the savings in the 2.5 acre site after making the move to Thames Water Commercial Services (TWCS).

Pickering’s Gin co-founder Marcus Pickering, who also manages the letting and maintenance at Summerhall, said he only discovered the potential benefits of switching when he met TWCS business development manager Kevin Durnian at a dinner event.

“We’re not a huge consumer of water, but this will represent a fairly significant saving – it’s basically half of someone’s salary,” Pickering said, adding that the distillery uses and recycles well water from beneath the site to cool its gin, but a large amount of water is taken off the site in bottles or as ice cubes.

“Cutting costs like this is extra important in a sector such as the arts, so I’m delighted that I met Kevin when I did and the whole switching process has been extremely quick and efficient.

“About 50 per cent of our water is taken off-site either as ice or in the drinks themselves and Thames think this means we could save money due to the water not being returned back into the public sewer network, which is fantastic to hear and I suppose it shows the benefit of working with the experts.”

As many as 400 people work at the various creative firms and initiatives at Summerhall, located at Edinburgh’s former Royal Dick Vet School.

Durnian said: “Businesses are not just charged for every cubic metre of water that comes in, but also for every cubic metre that goes out through the drains and sewers as this water then needs to be treated.

“If we can demonstrate that a certain percentage of water is leaving the site in other ways such as in blocks of ice or in bottles, we should be able to save Summerhall even more money.”