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Energy Efficiency

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what assessment the Commission has made of the extent to which heating and ventilation systems in each building on the parliamentary estate (a) are controllable by individual users, (b) are energy efficient and designed to prevent heat leakage and (c) maintain comfortable temperature and humidity levels in varying weather conditions; and what plans exist to improve such systems. (97142)

A cyclical programme of surveys is carried out on parliamentary estate buildings and their services. Consultants are currently undertaking detailed surveys of the building services in the Palace of Westminster. A feasibility study is under way to explore methods of renewing the existing heating and ventilation system which is now largely 50-years-old for the Palace of Westminster. There are also plans to carry out building services surveys and option studies for the major refurbishment of the heating and ventilation systems of Canon Row, Derby Gate and Norman Shaw North in the near future.

The House authorities are aware that the heating and ventilation systems on a number of the buildings on the parliamentary estate are reaching the end of their economic life:

(a) Local control of radiator temperatures is only available in some areas of the parliamentary estate.

(b) The majority of buildings on the parliamentary estate were constructed in the 19th century when energy efficiency was not a major design consideration and much of the building stock is inherently energy inefficient. Work is currently in place to explore ways to enhance the buildings’ energy efficiency.

(c) A programme of services upgrade works is ongoing across the estate to renew plant and services.