Midlothian police station is now a centre of Lego excellence

A former police station as been transformed into a green home for everyone’s favourite building bricks with the introduction of energy-saving technology.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:45 pm

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

And Lego artist and author Warren Elsmore has plans to continue his transformation of the Newbattle building with the installation of solar PV panels.

The 1970s Midlothian office complex was ideal for creating bespoke commercial models built from Lego, but it was clear the building needed some updating to reduce its environmental impact.

Warren Elsmore in his Newbattle studio

A dedicated fan of Lego, Warren has been in love with the little plastic bricks since the age of four and now spends his days creating amazing models for clients around the world – and sometimes just for fun.

He spent 16 years in the IT business, and works worldwide for organisations including Lego, Dell, the BBC, WPP and Visit Denmark.

Warren and the team recently completed a commission for Lego, transporting and construction a traditional red BT Phonebox outside the company’s flagship store in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter.

He said: “As we really had no idea what we'd need to do - we decided to play it safe and take everything we might need with us.

Creative genius Warren has the world at his feet. (Pic: Warren Elsmore)

“Lego tools, woodworking tools, metalworking tools, access platforms, ramps, lifting gear, lots of PPE, packaging - it all went in the back of the van. We had no idea what to expect, so we just brought everything we could think of.

“Once in central London, it took us a full day to work out how the model was assembled, how it could be moved, and then to disassemble it and pack it for transport.

Warren added: “Once disassembled and carefully packed, we loaded everything up for the trip back to Edinburgh

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the playroom... (Pic: Warren Elsmore)

"Not only did we have to install the quarter-tonne phone box, but we also had to ensure that it would be safe to display. Dropping a model is one thing, dropping 200+Kg of Lego in the centre of Edinburgh’s tourist trap is quite another.”

Keen environmentalist Warren then approached Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service as he sought to boost the firm’s green credentials.

“We had a look around what was happening in Scotland, at various different projects, and Zero Waste Scotland’s name seemed to pop up. We had a guy come out and do a full survey of the building. He gave us all the results of that and where we could look to make the best energy savings and what might work for this building and what might not.”

The property was being heated by an old gas mains boiler and Warren used an interest-free Scottish SME Loan to replace the boiler with an electrical system using radiant heaters.

There's nothing fishy about this aquarium . (pic: Warren Elsmore)

He also put in new loft insulation and replaced the existing lights with LEDs.

He said: “It’s not just a tick in the box, it’s more than that. We have a lot of big enterprise customers that are really pushing all of their suppliers to make sure they are dealing with things in an environmentally friendly way.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Counting down the days to Christmas in Lego-style (Pic: Warren Elsmore)
Political building blocks at the Palace of Westminister. (Pic: Warren Elsmore)
Warren with a replica of the National Museum of Scotland