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House of Lords: Carbon Footprint

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 20 March 2008

asked the Chairman of Committees:

What proposals exist to reduce the carbon footprint in the near future of the House of Lords. [HL2408]

The carbon footprint of the House of Lords has been reduced drastically by a decision in autumn 2006 to purchase 100 per cent of electricity consumed on the Parliamentary Estate from renewable sources. Prior to this, only 10 per cent of our electricity was purchased from renewable sources. Since all electricity now comes from renewable sources, proposals to reduce the carbon footprint in the near future concentrate on reducing gas consumption, as it is only gas consumption on the Parliamentary Estate which now results in carbon emissions.

An offer of green gas, ie gas from renewable sources, has been made to the Parliamentary Estate and is under consideration. A report is also being prepared on how to improve control of the boilers in the Palace of Westminster main boiler house. It is expected that implementation of the recommendations in the report would result in a reduction in natural gas consumption and hence carbon emissions. The planned refurbishment of 1 Millbank includes many energy efficiency measures which would also reduce carbon emissions; for example, a solar water heating system is being proposed to generate domestic hot water for taps. The draught-proofing of some buildings is also being proposed for completion during the 2008 Summer Recess.

A proposal to run an Environment Champions programme for a year in each building over a total period of three years for the whole Parliamentary Estate is under discussion. This programme would raise staff awareness of measures to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.