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Government Departments: Buildings

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to install photovoltaic solar systems on buildings owned or occupied by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My department has no current plans to install photovoltaic solar systems on its buildings, but we are working with the Department for Business Innovation and Skill's Technology Strategy Board to explore the benefits of new sustainable technology.

We have already taken a series of measures to reduce the energy usage and CO2 emissions of the department's headquarters, Eland House. In June 2011, the building was awarded an "D" display energy certificate, improving on the "E" rating last year, and the notional "G" grade in 2006-07. As a result of these improvements, the department's energy bill has been reduced by £300,000 a year. By contrast, under the last Administration, this was one of the least energy-efficient buildings in Whitehall, despite it being the lead department on energy efficiency standards in buildings.

Since May 2010, a range of measures has been introduced in line with advice from the display energy certificate to help meet lower energy use and CO2 targets-including installing more efficient lighting, aligning heating and cooling provision with Cabinet Office recommendations and by staff adopting lower carbon behaviours such as turning off office equipment when not in use.

In addition, last year an online tool was launched so members of the public can at the click of a mouse see the energy use by the Department for Communities and Local Government for the first time.

This is part of wider efforts to improve the energy efficiency of both domestic and commercial properties, to reduce CO2 emissions and save taxpayers' money.

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