The committee met today with guest speakers to examine ways to improve energy efficiency specifically in the Canary Wharf area. According to the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy, workplaces are responsible for 43 per cent of carbon emissions and lighting is one fifth of that.
Chair of the Environment Committee, Darren Johnson, 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.”
Lisa Lockwood, spokeswoman for the Carbon Trust, a non-profit energy saving consultancy group to businesses and the public sector, said that one solution would be more sophisticated lighting systems. She said: “There are new technologies coming onto the market all the time…sensors are just part of technology that can be retrofitted cost effectively.”
Martin Powell, Interim Mayoral Adviser, said “If big businesses can sort out their lighting then SME (small and medium enterprises) will follow. If they see all the lights off at Canary Wharf, that will have an enormous impact.”
The committee also heard claims that information campaigns are necessary in order to promote individual responsibility on the part of the tenant and also encourage energy saving behaviour among employees.
Howard Dawber, head of strategy for the Canary Wharf Group, said the private sector could benefit from turning their lights off through potentially saving more money and through incentives with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency (CRC) scheme.
Carbon reduction efforts will face challenges such as real estate companies keeping empty spaces lit all night so people are aware they’re available for rent. Climate Change Partnerships Manager Victoria Howse added that many SME’s “don’t always understand how much energy they are using,” because of no direct communication between landlords and tenants, “or they’re not reading their meters.”
Dawber also claimed that many of the lights left on after hours are due to night time cleaning staff, international businesses working with different time zones and the late working hours of the The Mirror’s headquarters.
The Committee’s full report on the lights left on in London is set to be published in early 2011.