Leinster House cut in energy a partial success

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ENERGY SAVING Day in the Oireachtas last month was only a partial success, with electricity usage in a part of the complex used by politicians from the two main parties actually increasing.

ENERGY SAVING Day in the Oireachtas last month was only a partial success, with electricity usage in a part of the complex used by politicians from the two main parties actually increasing.

Results show that in almost all Leinster House buildings, electricity usage went down. This was not the case, however, with a five-storey block, used as party offices by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs and Senators, which showed an increase of nine per cent or 385 kilowatt hours (kw).

February 25th last was designated Energy Saving Day, with TDs, Senators, journalists and staff asked to make their contribution.

This could be done by turning off computers when making a lengthy phone call or leaving the office for a short period and remembering to switch off printers, television sets, fax machines and other equipment when not in use.

An e-mail circulated in the Oireachtas last week entitled “Great Results for Energy Saving Day” reported that there were “significant savings in all but a couple of buildings in the Leinster House complex – with electricity use down 6.7 per cent”.

A breakdown of the figures, building by building, shows that the kitchen, bar and restaurant, for example, reduced electricity usage by an impressive 21 per cent compared with the previous December 10th, which was used as the “reference day” for the purposes of the survey.

Even the section where most of the newspapers’ political correspondents are located registered a 5.9 per cent reduction. However, the five-storey block clocked up 4,637kw hours compared with 4,253kw hours on the December 10th “reference day”.

Fine Gael Senator Eugene Regan, who has an office on the second floor of the five-storey block, said the survey would put the politicians on their toes.

“People will have an eye to the scoreboard in the future and strive to make improvements,” he said.

But noting that the fourth and fifth floor were occupied by the main Government party, he quipped: “I suspect that the main problem is on those top two floors of Fianna Fáil offices.”

Oisín Coghlan, director, Friends of the Earth, suggested the politicians could redeem themselves by passing legislation on climate change. “TDs and Senators have the chance to show real leadership in the chamber, not just in their offices. We want to see them pass a climate change law to reduce pollution and energy waste rather than just have an Energy Saving Day in Leinster House,” he said.

But praising the initiative, Mr Coghlan said: “The exercise shows that people can reduce their energy use and pollution.”

(c) Irish Times

Last modified on Thursday, 26 March 2009 02:02

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