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House of Lords: Energy Requirements

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

asked the Chairman of Committees:

What steps he will take to minimise the peak and average energy requirements of the House of Lords areas within the Parliamentary Estate while continuing to allow the House to work efficiently; and whether, in particular, he will carry out a re-examination of (a) the buildings in those areas; (b) the heating and cooling systems; and (c) the daily customs of the House of Lords, including consideration of a relaxation of its dress code in extreme hot or cold weather conditions. [HL992]

There is ongoing work to minimise the peak and average energy requirements of the House of Lords areas within the Parliamentary Estate while continuing to allow the House to work efficiently. Much work is undertaken during routine maintenance, especially to replace older-style lamps with modern low-energy lamps as carried out in the Lords Chamber during 2006. Major items of equipment, when near to the end of their lives, are always replaced with more efficient models, as was the case during replacement of the main heating boilers in the Palace in 2004.

The control of heating and cooling systems in all buildings on the Parliamentary Estate is monitored by a Building Management System which is supervised around the clock by staff in Parliamentary Works Services. A pilot survey has been commissioned to report on energy usage in one area of the Parliamentary Estate, including assessment of the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems, and to make recommendations on how energy consumption could be reduced. If successful, energy surveys of other buildings will be commissioned, including those occupied by the House of Lords.

Further energy and water conservation projects planned for 2008-09 include possible installation of lighting controls, low-energy lighting, window and door draught proofing, voltage optimisation and kitchen ventilation controls.

The Building Management System aims to maintain internal conditions at a level that provides comfortable working conditions for occupants and which does not necessitate variations from the dress code.