Bright lights, big city, big energy waste

Why do so many of London’s offices and shops leave the lights on all night? That was the question tackled by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee this week. It is […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Why do so many of London’s offices and shops leave the lights on all night?

That was the question tackled by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee this week.

It is estimated that lighting up the capital’s workplaces accounts for 8% all London’s carbon emissions, equating to 3.52m tonnes a year.

The Carbon Trust also estimates that lighting bills could be cut by 15% by only using lights when and where they are really needed.

The committee has launched an investigation into why lights are left on and what can be done to promote energy-saving policies.

Chairman of the committee Darren Johnson said: “When you are out in London at night, you will see buildings all across the capital with their lights blazing. Is this necessary?

“Turning off lights saves energy and money. So we want to understand why so many workplaces leave lights on overnight.

“We also want to see if there is more that the GLA and the Mayor could be doing to enable and encourage workplace lights to be switched off when they aren’t needed.”

For its investigation, the committee is seeking views and information from businesses, relevant organisations and the public.People can share their views and experiences via www.london.gov.uk/lights-out. The committee will hold a public meeting next month and publish a report in early 2011.