This blog is designed to highlight the diversity of views and news stories on urban energy topics that appear daily in the media. They are intended to provoke discussions on how cultural, geographic, political, and institutional influences shape the way energy markets operate and energy policies are made in cities around the world.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Parliament's carbon emissions 'among worst in UK'
The Palace of Westminster and the Bank of England are among the country's least energy efficient public buildings, it has emerged.
By Jon Swaine Last Updated: 10:48AM BST 02 Oct 2008
Houses of Parliament emits 11,983 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year Photo: IAN JONES
About 18,000 public buildings are being tested for energy efficiency after a new law was passed dictating that their carbon dioxide emissions must be measured.
The measure ranks buildings' efficiency on a scale where A is best and G is worst. Both the Palace of Westminster, which houses Parliament, and the Bank of England received a G. Between them, they use enough electricity and gas each year to emit 21,356 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Other famous buildings to receive the bottom grade include the Imperial War Museums in London and Salford.
However it was not only older buildings that were found to be energy inefficient. Despite opening only six years ago, London's City Hall received an E grade. City Hall was described by Foster & Partners, which designed it, as a "virtually non-polluting public building".
Out of the 3,200 buildings tested so far, a quarter scored an F or a G. Only 22 of them - less than 1 per cent - received an A. The average grade was a D - which was the mark given to 10 Downing Street.
Paul King, the chief executive of the UK Green Buildings Council, said: "These results show our leaky and draughty public buildings should be a priority target for refurbishment.
"In a turbulent financial climate, lower energy bills will benefit the taxpayer for years to come. If we are to cut our carbon, save money and achieve energy security, our buildings have to be on the front line of this battle," he told The Guardian.
It is now a legal requirement that every public building with an area greater than 1,000 square metres show a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) - similar to the colour-coded charts which come on refrigerators.
The Government has promised to make all new public buildings have zero carbon emissions within ten years.
Emissions from Britain's public buildings (The grade reflects the building's type and size, as well as its emissions)
Houses of Parliament - G grade - 11,983 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted each year
Bank of England - G - 9,373
Imperial War Museum London - G 3,664
Imperial War Museum North - G - 1,396
Natural History Museum - E - 10,026
HM Treasury - E - 4,122
City Hall, London - E - 2,255
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - E - 1,322