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London’s office lighting switch off debated

09 December 2010

The London Assembly Environment Committee last week debated the reasons why lights are left on in offices at night, and how occupiers could be encouraged to save money and carbon emissions

Switching off unnecessary lights would save money for London’s workplaces, which is a clear incentive in the current economic climate, the Assembly’s Environment Committeewas told last week. In the capital, workplaces make up 43 percent of carbon emissions and lighting accounts for a fifth of these. It has been estimated that lighting costs could be cut by up to 15 percent simply by turning off lights in areas that are not being used.
Howard Dawber, head of strategy at the Canary Wharf Group, told the Committee that the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC), is acting as an incentive for companies to adopt energy savings policies because it is now a business cost.
“There is a real incentive there to try to save money where you can,” he said. “These sorts of mechanisms do concentrate the mind.”
As part of its investigation into lights left on in London’s workplaces, the Committee also heard how spending cuts could affect momentum around public sector promotion of energy saving policies. Chair of the Environment Committee, Darren Johnson AM, said: “In the current economic climate, and with rising energy prices, it is more worthwhile than ever for companies and organisations to save energy - it cuts costs as well as carbon emissions. Making sure the lights are off when the working day is over doesn't cost anything and can save significant money. Pressures on public spending may put a squeeze on future work to promote environmental policies, but we need to ensure people still have easy access to information and advice on how they can take steps to reduce their energy use.”
For its investigation, the Committee is looking at the reasons why lights are left on and what can be done to promote energy-saving policies. It is also assessing the potential advantages and disadvantages for different businesses of turning off their lights overnight. The Committee’s full report on lights left on in London’s workplaces is due to be published in early 2011.
To watch a webcast of the meeting HERE click on the December 2010 section and the then Environment Committee 10am Wed I December meeting

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