Office that makes a mockery of ‘greenest government ever’

The month our candidate for naming and shaming is our very own government, which is never backward in berating the rest of us for wasteful use of energy. Ray Molony reports

We estimate that the window lights could be costing the taxpayer up to £10,000 per year

The headquarters of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is an imposing building on Victoria Street in London, next to Westminster Abbey and a White Paper’s throw from the Houses of Parliament.

Each window in the building, all 2,000 of them, has an associated ‘light box’ and each of these houses a 15W fluorescent lamp.

Fine for different, less energy-conscious times. But today, these luminaires are illuminated day and night, sometimes 12 hours a day and sometimes seven days a week. In summer the air conditioning battles to keep the building cool, but still these lights burn on.

In the summer the air conditioning battles to keep the building cool, but still these lights burn on

BIS pays about £0.08 per kilowatt-hour so we reckon these babies could be costing the taxpayer up to £10,000 per year. Let’s make no bones about it: this is wasteful light that serves no useful purpose.

Also, the stairwells in the building are permanently illuminated – with no controls – regardless of footfall.

BIS told Lux that it has ‘identified the lighting in Victoria Street as a potential area for energy saving’.

‘The lights in office areas are on a control system with presence detection. The building is open to staff seven days a week, so lights can be activated late at night and at weekends. Passive infrared shields are in place in office areas to limit the number of lights activated at night when security guards walk through the building.’

Additionally, BIS is aiming to upgrade the stairwell lighting with presence detection this year.

Blue and green

…should never be seen, goes the old fashion adage. But the nation’s publicans, restaurateurs and hoteliers think it makes their venues look funky. It doesn’t

Euston, we have a problem

Repeat after us: lights are to see in the dark. They are not to demonstrate your incompetence with controls (we’re looking at you, Network Rail)