Houses of Parliament Go Green


The old girl has some life in her yet. The Palace of Westminster, built in 1835-65 is going to become a green building. Currently the building uses enough electricity to power 6,500 households but (secret) plans to slash its carbon footprint by almost a third are under study. A borehole is planned for drinking water and another will replace some air conditioning units which now cool the debating chambers. A 35 metre high wind turbine in a neighbouring garden and fifty 3 metre submerged turbines along the Thames are mentioned. Millions will be spent on double glazing the hundreds of leaded glass windows in the building. Miniature power stations in the cellar will make the palace off-grid. It should cost at least £20M. The Palace has set a target of reducing its CO2 by 8% by 2012.

But the glorious building is an important historical edifice, and is listed as a World Heritage Site. Opposition by heritage and planning groups will be strong and the negotiations will be very delicate to achieve this end. But as one MP said: "We can't afford to do nothing and that is exactly what parliament has done for too long." :: Guardian

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