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Parliament: Heating

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what recent steps the House authorities (a) have recently taken and (b) plan to take to improve the heating within 1 Parliament Street; and if he will make a statement. (248143)

The heating in 1 Parliament street is controlled by means of a computerised building management system (BMS). This allows the heating and cooling in each office to be individually monitored and controlled. The original system, installed in 1990, had become obsolete and was replaced by a modern system. The hardware was installed in the 2008 summer recess and the installation of a new control network was completed in November 2008. The arrival of the cold weather in the autumn highlighted a number of software problems which took longer than anticipated to resolve due to the lack of a network, which meant revisiting every office. At the same time, the opportunity was taken to replace any faulty heating or cooling valves and as a result some 50 cooling and 20 heating controls were replaced.

Now that the new BMS is installed, the method of heating control will be modified from a fixed time based method to the more efficient and accurate ‘optimised start’ method which ensures that the heating is switched on earlier if the outside air temperature is lower. In addition, a survey of the heating capacity of the boilers and associated pipe-work is planned for the 2009 summer recess. This will identify the heating capacity of the boilers and pipe-work, should larger radiators be required in some offices.