Month: April 2013

Sir Eck lives and breathes…and tweets!

Sir Eck, the ECCI Knight, has found a voice after a 700 slumber under the car park of ECCI’s new building at High School Yards.

Sir Eck , tweeting @ecciknight, describes himself thus: Green Knight. Born 1236. Buried 1286. Dug up 2013. Questing to turn finite resources to sustainable gold. Join the Round Table. And he has already chalked up a number of followers of his cheeky tweets about adapting to 21st century life, and even a marriage proposal or two!

Could it be his lovely new threads…?

Follow Sir Eck @ecciknight


Related Links


Competition countdown – A pick of the best names so far…

The ECCI Cafe competition has been live for a week and we’ve already received tonnes of great suggestions. Here’s a selection of some of our favourites so far…

‘The Knight’s Table’ – the one, true name for the ECCI Feasting Hall?

The fascinating and sometimes gruesome history of ECCI’s new building at High School Yards includes tales of Medieval Knights and Burke and Hare, a place where Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Walter Scott share the billing with tales of murder, mystery and…the invention of the blackboard.

At the beginning of March the skeleton and grave of a Medieval Knight and the remains of a thirteenth century monastery are among dozens of discoveries made underneath the car park in the front of the building.

The discovery was made when archaeologists uncovered the corner of an elaborately decorated sandstone slab with the telltale markings of a member of the nobility – the carvings of the Calvary Cross and an ornate sword, which tells us this belonged to a high status individual such as a knight or other nobleman.

Read more:

‘Sustain’ – in keeping with ECCI’s plans for a sustainable future (and keeping us fed and watered). 

As well as alluding to the essential function of the Cafe in keeping all its student, staff and visitor inhabitants adequately fed and watered, ‘Sustain’ neatly encapsulates ECCI’s plans for a sustainable future.

The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation has been created to solve a global problem.

  • A huge reliance on fossil fuels
  • An ever growing population – 7 billion and counting
  • A 75% rise in energy demand forcast by 2030

ECCI is a hub for the knowledge, innovation and skills required to create a low carbon economy. Located in Edinburgh, Scotland’s political centre and capital city, and building upon the best ideas from around the world, the ECCI provides the place and space for ‘low carbon leaders’ and networks from business, finance and the public sector to work together to deliver a low carbon future.

Find out more in the ‘What we do’ section of our website:

’Green Bean Café’ – Fitting for a lean, clean & green building. 

A combination of new technologies, innovative methods, common sense, and attention to detail has made ECCI’s new building an exemplar of social, economic and environmental sustainability.

If all goes to plan during the main building phase, ECCI’s new building will become the first ever development of its kind to achieve “outstanding” rating from BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability rating system for the built environment. Find out more:

‘Blackboard Café’ – Named after one of our v famous former pupils. 

The building currently being refurbished by ECCI was built by Alexander Laing in 1777 as the Old High School of Edinburgh at the cost of £4000. In the 1700s the Royal High School was regarded as the city’s best educational establishment. Pupils who studied in this building included some of the city’s leading figures of the age, such as author Sir Walter Scott, politician Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville and lawyer and conservationist Henry Cockburn.

Many of these pupils were taught by Alexander Adam, a classical scholar and educational reformer. Adam was a popular teacher, and around 1805 fourteen former pupils commissioned the artist Raeburn to paint his portrait, which now hangs in the National Gallery. Another member of staff was James Pillans, rector of the school until 1820. He is credited with inventing the blackboard, using it with coloured chalks in his geography classes. Find out more about the history of High School Yards:

But it’s not up to us…ENTER NOW

Artist in Residence Blog # 2, May 2013: Measuring string and carbon accounting

AIR 2_1Working broadly across the spectrum of ECCI’s includes coming to terms with the complex and abstract calculations of carbon accounting, something increasingly apparent to me following the ICARB conference in March (13/03/13). This has required me to set up some initial frameworks by which to start approaching these specific issues within a studio context. For example in order to more easily visualise a tonne of CO2 I have been considering some basic calculations concerning weight to length, the price of string and the fluctuating values involved in Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Since 1 tonne of CO2 apparently occupies a space of 27 feet cubic feet, physically working with the same dimensions has helped get this key measurement into a more tangible form – hence the string – but is not as easy as it sounds….

For example taking the Ultratwine Medium Ball of Cotton Twine (min 85% cotton) at a weight of 525metres per kilo at 60 grams per ball the calculation goes approximately as follows;

100 grams = 52.5 metres
10 grams = 5.25 metres
60 grams = 31.5 metres
60 grams = 31.5 metres = 134.5 feet.
AIR 2_2

It can therefore be stated that the actual length of a piece of string – a recognised and popular unit of measurement in the UK – should be 324 feet. However to maintain a single linear form by not involving any discontinuity caused by cutting and rejoining, needs a further 81 feet to allow for doubling back on the cube form. The simple comparison between the linear qualities of string and the linear qualities of drawing in containing an imagined space produces a conceptual narrative that is both abstract and tangible. In drawing also distinguishing between the continuous and the broken or implied line contains an expressive significance, a type of information that belongs to the studio rather than the lab and is used differently.

The length – and consequently the price – of a piece of string however may be rather simpler to calculate than the fluctuations in pricing a tonne of C02

So in studio practice the definitive length of the actual rather than the theoretical piece of string becomes 405 feet, with issues such as knots and stretch to be factored in, creating analogies with the known and unknown data within carbon accounting. The length – and consequently the price – of a piece of string however may be rather simpler to calculate than the fluctuations in pricing a tonne of C02. Currently the string in question can be bought for £4.40, sufficient to describe a tonne of CO2 easily. By comparison the Floor Price for Co2 is currently set at £16 (set to rise to £30.00 in 2020) but the actual Trading Price for 1 tonne as given in January 2013 came in at under £4.00. (Source:

However initial conclusions from this enquiry in which the framework (the string) and the content of the framework (CO2) are understood as being in constant flux suggests a need to simultaneously incorporate both the measurable and the un-measureable in order to work productively with complex information – aiming for certainty can in fact be counterproductive.

Find out more about Jennie’s project. And look out for regular updates on the blog.