Environmental improvement

To underpin our targets, an annual Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) drives continual environmental improvement.

Energy and utility improvements

Recent carbon saving at Parliament includes;

  • adjustments and improvements to the building management system;
  • lamp replacement with energy efficient options and improved lighting control;
  • reduction of incoming energy wastage (voltage optimisation);
  • installation of solar panels on roof of the Palace;
  • re-commissioning of boilers;
  • developing the environmental requirements and opportunities for the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme;
  • installation of AMR's for all gas meters on the Estate;
  • continuation of a Parliament wide environmental engagement programme;
  • working with project teams to incorporate energy efficiency savings when refurbishing the outbuildings in the Estate.

This has resulted in a 22.8% reduction of absolute carbon emissions in 2016/17 against our base year of 2008/09.

Waste and recycling improvements

Since our base year Parliament’s recycling rate has increased by 17% and there has been a reduction in the weight of waste generated by 16.5%.

Parliament continues to explore new opportunities to recycle and recover waste in collaboration with its waste service providers. Parliament commenced a new waste contract in November 2016 and the specification for the services includes a written requirement for a continual improvement approach to collaborate waste recycling improvement.

Recent initiatives to increase Parliament’s recycling rate include;

  • Parliament’s general office waste is disposed of to a local energy-from-waste facility.  None of Parliament’s general waste goes to landfill;
  • implementation of an office waste collection system which allows for dry recyclables (i.e. paper, cans and plastic) to be collected together;
  • a scheme to compost catering waste in several kitchens within the Parliamentary Estate;
  • Parliament continues to target a reduction in the generation of its waste and increase in its recycling rates as a priority as per the waste hierarchy, and where appropriate uses procurement specifications to encourage supply chain improvements.

Water saving

Parliament has continued to increase its water efficiency since 2008/09 and figures up to 2016/17 show water consumption have fallen by 43.1% since this date.

Parliament uses a borehole system. The boreholes abstract cooler groundwater from an aquifer 160 metres below Portcullis House. This water is then used to cool the ambient temperature in Portcullis House via a heat exchanger. This method is much more efficient than conventional air conditioning units.

The efficiency of the boreholes has been increased even further after work was undertaken between the Building Management System and the ambient temperature in Portcullis House. This ensures that the borehole water was used only necessary. This work has greatly improved the levels of water management.

In addition to providing cooling, the borehole water is also used to supply the water features in Portcullis House to supply water for the waste disposal units and for flushing the toilets.

Green Travel improvements

Parliament launched its Green Travel Plan (GTP) in December 2010 with the principal aim to provide information to staff, Members, Members' staff and visitors to help reduce commuting and work-related transport carbon emissions.

There is also the provision of a Dr. Bike maintenance scheme and installation of improved cycle parking facilities for cyclists on the Estate.