Parliament Buildings and Sustainability
About this building
Parliament Buildings is a six storey Grade-B listed building originally constructed to accommodate the newly formed Government of Northern Ireland, established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920.
The grounds of Stormont Estate (224 Acres at the time of purchase) cost approximately £20,000 and the cost of constructing Parliament Buildings came close to £1.7 million. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, declared Parliament Buildings open on 16th November 1932 on behalf of King George V.
The building is designed in Greek Classical tradition, constructed by Stewart Partners Ltd under the guidance of architect Arnold Thornley, from Liverpool. He was a man who paid great attention to detail with many of the features in Parliament Buildings having symbolic reference. One example of this detail can be illustrated by the length of the building as it measures exactly 365 feet wide, representative of one foot for each day of the year. Arnold Thornley later received a Knighthood from George V in recognition of his architectural work.
||No. of floors||Total usable floor area||Heating Type||Electricity||No. of staff in post
|1932||6||24,440m2||Gas||100% of electricity supplied to Parliament Buildings is on a green tariff, generated from renewable sources||392|
Study our data
The data that we have provided below gives detailed information on how much energy is consumed in the running of Parliament Buildings and how much it costs. There are detailed breakdowns of weekly and monthly figures as well as total yearly figures since 2007. You can then see what environmental impact this energy consumption has had in the form of carbon emissions. We have also included statistics on how much waste has been produced since April 2011 including figures highlighting what proportion of it has been recycled.
In the graph below you can see monthly figures for the total energy (gas and electricity combined) consumed by Parliament Buildings from April 2007 in kw/h. You can also view the individual figures for gas and electricity consumption, a comparison of gas against electricity and yearly consumption since 2007 by selecting the appropriate tabbed option.
How does this energy consumption affect the carbon emissions produced in Parliament Buildings? You can view the impact on emissions in the bar chart provided below. You will find the yearly amount of carbon emissions (measured in carbon tonnes) produced by electricity and gas consumption since the 2007-2008 financial year. The Assembly Commission takes our environmental impact and concerns very seriously and is committed to becoming an examplar organisation in respect of sustainable development (view our Environmental Policy Statement).
The graph below shows the monthly energy costs in Parliament Buildings from April 2007. You can zoom in to a specific time period by clicking and dragging across the selected time period on the graph. You can also view the yearly energy costs by selecting the appropriate tabbed option.
Waste and Recycling
The Assembly Commission is committed to sustainable development and the monitoring of our environmental impact (view our Environmental Policy Statement). On average, Parliament Buildings produces around 10,000 Kgs of waste per month. A yearly breakdown of the waste produced and recycled from the 2010-11 financial year can be found in the graphs below.
The graphs below show figures and trends in paper usage in Parliament Buildings and constituency offices since 2011:
Display Energy Certificate
Since 1 October 2008 public buildings in the UK over 1,000m2 have been required to display a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) prominently at all times. Display Energy Certificates were introduced by the government in response to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which all EU member states were required to implement by January 2009.
DEC’s are designed to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings. They are based upon the actual energy performance of a building and increase transparency about the energy efficiency of public buildings. DEC’s use a scale from A to G with A being the most efficient and G the least. The Display Energy Certificate for Parliament Buildings is available through the link below.
Previously asked questions
What figures are you showing and why?
We provide three different measures of the energy used: the amount of energy, its monetary cost, and the carbon impact of the energy used. In addition to this we have provided figures showing how much waste has been produced and the amount of recycling.
Energy use is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), which is the standard ‘unit’ of a home energy bill (1kWh is the amount of electricity used by leaving ten 100W light bulbs on for one hour).
For electricity this number represents the amount of energy that flows into a building through the meter. For gas it is the amount of energy that is used and we read this information off the meter. Monetary cost is calculated using the costs per 'unit' for each utility in the building.
The carbon impact is measured in kg of CO2e (the e stands for equivalent) which takes other climate-affecting gasses into account besides carbon dioxide.
The graphs above show detailed information on energy consumption.
How much does Parliament Buildings pay for its energy?
Prices come from the latest energy bills for Parliament Buildings, these are of course subject to change, and will be updated as tariffs are revised. See 'energy costs' graphs above.
Can you show data from the transport emissions of staff from Parliament Buildings?
We are currently working on our business travel carbon emissions and also our carbon emissions from staff travelling to and from work. We hope to have these available shortly.
What measures have been taken to improve energy efficiency in Parliament Buildings?
The Assembly Commission has developed an Environmental Management System which gained ISO14001:2004 Accreditation in September 2011.
In order to achieve such recognition, the Assembly has been working hard to continually improve environmental performance and has set challenging objectives and targets in relation to energy efficiency. Staff engagement has been key to driving forward a reduction in energy consumption. Mandatory awareness sessions were completed for staff and building users. Most recently we have enlisted staff volunteers from across the building to act as Environmental Champions. Champions have a key role to play in raising awareness of environmental issues among colleagues and, ultimately, helping to increase energy efficiency and recycling in Parliament Buildings.
Is the electricity procured for Parliament Buildings from renewable sources?
Parliament Buildings is part of the wider Stormont Estate contract for electricity procured by the Department of Finance. Electricity is supplied to Parliament Buildings from 100% renewable sources such as offshore wind farms.
What is the average daily energy consumption?
Taking September 2020 as an example, the average daily consumption for electricity and gas combined was 8,846kWh.
Why was there such a major cost reduction between 2008-2009 and 2009-2010?
In 2009, a detailed review of energy consumption over the past four years, covering 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-2010, was undertaken in order to establish the total energy consumption, energy costs and CO2 emissions of Parliament Buildings.
The data was then used to help to identify measures to reduce energy consumption, such as increasing awareness of energy conservation among staff and Members, the replacement of inefficient equipment and fittings, and the completion of specialised energy surveys to identify further opportunities to reduce energy consumption. Since the introduction of energy conservation measures, namely the energy awareness campaign in 2009-2010, total energy consumption decreased by 3·5%, energy costs by 31% and CO2 emissions by 4% compared to 2008-09 baseline levels.
The reduction in energy costs is affected by reductions in wholesale energy prices. The installation of an effective monitoring and targeting system to reduce unnecessary consumption, the replacement of inefficient equipment, and structured, formal staff awareness campaigns are expected to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 5% over the next three years. In addition to this it is within the Environmental Management System to achieve a yearly 2.5% reduction in energy consumption for electricity and gas.
How have we achieved the reduction to date?
The Assembly Commission recognises the need to reduce the Assembly’s impact on the environment. The amount of energy used within the Assembly has been identified as an area where improvements have to be made.
Since the start of the current mandate the Commission has sought to proactively reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency. For example, detailed energy surveys have been carried out throughout Parliament Buildings as part of the wider Sustainable Development Strategy. The aim of the surveys was to identify a series of measures to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. In addition, environmental awareness training has been provided to Assembly Secretariat staff and Party Support Staff to increase awareness of energy consumption and to suggest steps that they can take to improve energy efficiency.
Actual improvements in energy efficiency include a decrease in electricity consumption in 2011/12 by 7.7% and 14% in gas consumption compared to the 2008/09 levels. Plans to further improve energy efficiency include the installation of an effective monitoring and targeting system, the replacement of inefficient equipment and to assess the feasibility of installing greener technologies.
All of these changes will not only result in improvements to energy efficiency, it will also result in a financial saving.