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Building a circular economy through better homes

Posted: 25th June 2018

Scott Simpson is determined that IndiNature, the business he helped create, will be at the very heart of building a circular economy in Scotland – quite literally.

Scott Simpson recently presented at a Circular Economy lunch, hosted by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and run jointly with Zero Waste Scotland, explaining his pioneering vision for construction .

IndiNature has developed a bio-based construction system   , using materials from traditional crops combined with cutting edge biotech science, to create super-efficient and insulating materials.

Using  bio-based materials, h first extended and retrofitted his own home in Scotland as a case study – with annual gas bills reduced to a quarter of the average in a house that requires no heating.

Working in commercial and academic partnerships, IndiNature is fast-approaching the stage where they will be producing the materials they have developed in Scotland, with plans to open a factory in southern Scotland.

Scott, who has a Masters in Sustainable Architecture, said: “We use a machine that is linked to the textiles industry, so the Scottish Borders is an ideal location for us given the historic skills and traditions of the area..”

Hemp is the main crop which is used in the production of the IndiNature products at the moment, and the company is exploring a wide range of other crops as well as leftover textiles.

“The benefits of using the products are considerable”. Scott explained: “The products are natural, with no plastics which even other ‘eco’ products use. They are also better-than-zero carbon because  the crops have actually pulled in more CO2 from the air and locked it into the products than the amount of CO2 needed to manufacture them.

Plus they are high performing thermal and acoustic insulation materials – cutting our need to consume energy and  saving people money – plus making buildings quieter They will also improve people’s health by improving indoor air quality, as the system safely breathes out excess moisture so there is no damp or mould – and none of the common toxic off-gassing synthetic materials create.

Builders also love it because it is so nice to handle – not irritating like glasswools, with no toxic dust when you cut it like that from foam insulations.

“It is better-than-zero waste because it  can be re-used or reprocessed into more of the same materials, and it is made of fast-growing renewable resources.   Using these locally grown renewable crops plus the ability to reprocess finished products creates a truly circular business model.

A local business with a circular closed-loop like this means the company can sell products 30% cheaper than other eco construction products which are imported – and not worry about increasing prices linked to diminishing resources such as oil.

Scott was motivated to get involved in improving the build environment after spending almost a decade working in community development, tackling the problem of poor housing in Scotland.

“Having completed successful prototypes as well as manufacturing  trials overseas, the next step is to open our own factory here in Scotland to create the products, and to work with architects and contractors so that we can  make a giant impact on carbon reduction, the environment and people’s health in Scotland – with global ambitions.

Circular Edinburgh is a joint initiative delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.  Circular Edinburgh complements Zero Waste Scotland’s nationwide support for SMEs to develop circular economy business ideas, including its £18million Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Business Support Service.

The initiative is part of the Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which will invest £27million in Scotland in circular economy projects until December 2019, thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

For further information please visit or contact Mayan Grace or Aileen Boyle on 0131 221 2999 (option 5) or email


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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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