1. It is not possible to determine the total cost of heating the Houses of Parliament. The buildings are heated either by natural gas or electricity, and in neither case is the amount of energy used for heating is separately metered. Where buildings are heated by natural gas boilers the gas meters record total consumption for providing hot water services, and in some cases catering, as well as space heating. Where buildings are heated by electricity the meters record total consumption for powering all electrical services in the building including space heating.
The natural gas costs for the Parliamentary Estate for the last 5 financial years are:
The electricity costs for the Parliamentary Estate for the last 5 financial years are:
A program of installation of loggers on gas meters is under way and will be completed by the end of the 21012/13 financial year. Although these will not enable the identification of heating related gas use separately, these loggers will provide the capability for improved monitoring of energy use, enable exceptional consumptions to be automatically identified and reported and thereby allow rapid action to be taken to investigate and remedy wastage.
2. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of the number of hours the heating was turned on and the temperature at which it was set for each month of the 2011/12 financial year.
Parliament operates to a pre-agreed heating season that is modified annually according to current weather i.e. if the weather is unseasonably warm at the start of the heating season agreement is sought to delay switching on the heating, conversely if the weather is unseasonably cold the heating is switched on earlier. The pre-agreed heating season is from mid-September to mid-April.
A proposal to adopt the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) guidelines as a standard for heating of office spaces across the Estate has now been adopted by both Houses. This will formalise the arrangements for internal environmental conditions for occupants across the Parliamentary Estate, using the CIBSE guidelines as a benchmark, to provide comfortable working conditions across the estate and reduce any waste associated with overheating or cooling.
The CIBSE guidelines are recognised good practice standards and are not mandatory.
To meet environmental policy commitments and improve Parliament's environmental performance, both Houses have agreed the following target (based on an independently validated 2008/09 baseline):
• To reduce absolute carbon dioxide emissions by 34% by 2020/21.
In 2011/12 a reduction in absolute carbon dioxide emissions of 16% was reported, keeping Parliament on track for achieving its long term improvement target.