Press Release

Parliament Buildings Goes Dark for Earth Hour

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Monday, 02 April 2012

Reference: SO 19/10/12

For the second year running Parliament Buildings opened its doors and turned off the lights in support of WWF’s Earth Hour.

Speaking about the event William Hay MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, said: "I am delighted to support this international initiative for a second year. As a working building the Assembly is committed to doing what we can to tackle the problem of climate change and the growing threat it poses to people and nature. We are working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and embedding sustainable practices into our everyday lives.

“All of the electricity supplied to Parliament Buildings is on a green tariff, generated from renewable sources. We are also working to reduce our electricity consumption by introducing various initiatives, such as the energy efficient lights in the Great Hall.

“In October last year the Assembly was awarded ISO 14001:2004 for our environmental management systems in recognition of our commitment to sustainability.  As Earth Hour demonstrates, we all have an important role to place in protecting our environment and tackling climate change; from the energy we use, to the things we buy.  I am proud that the Assembly continues to make its own steps to achieving its sustainable targets [1].”

Earth Hour took place on Saturday 31 March, with the big switch off of all lights in Parliament Buildings at 8.30pm. Visitors were welcomed by Cool FM and Cahoots NI Walkabout Magic and were treated to a cabaret performance and dance, plus a tour of Parliament Buildings by torch light.

Notes to Editors:

1. Some of the Assembly’s sustainability targets include:

  • To reduce total electricity consumption in Parliament Buildings by 5-10% over the next four years
  • To reduce gas and electricity usage by 2.5% per year
  • To improve Parliament Buildings energy rating to C class by March 2015
  • The NI Assembly currently recycles 70% of all of its waste and aims to achieve 80% recycling by 2013
  • The NI Assembly is keen to reduce the amount of paper used and as such is working on various initiative to achieve a 10-15% reduction.

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