The lights stay on at some federal authorities buildings in Canada’s capital area, although most civil servants have been working at dwelling for practically a 12 months to cease the unfold of COVID-19.
Responding to images taken by CBC News displaying lit-up workplace towers earlier than daybreak, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) mentioned that whereas occupancy ranges are at present lowered, federal buildings stay operational.
“As part of its commitment to energy savings, Public Services and Procurement Canada turns off non-essential lighting where possible during non-working hours,” reads an announcement from the division, which runs and maintains federal buildings.
“During the pandemic (lower occupancy rate than usual), as general guidelines, lights remained off during working hours with the exception of lighting needed in occupied areas, to support cleaning staff or for security purposes.”
No price financial savings
But any efforts to cut back vitality use has not resulted in any financial savings for the federal government.
“While details are not yet finalized, consumption data for the year 2020 showed that the total utility costs have remained stable when compared to pre-pandemic values, due to buildings remaining operational and maintenance continuing on normal schedules,” mentioned Public Services spokesperson Michèle LaRose.
Reacting to photographs of a authorities complicated illuminated early one morning this week, Conservative Treasury Board critic Luc Berthold mentioned he’s involved the Liberal authorities is not following by way of by itself commitments to enhance vitality effectivity in authorities buildings.
“The Liberals need to explain why they are keeping the lights on in these buildings while public servants are working from home,” he mentioned.
Burak Gunay, an assistant professor of constructing science at Carleton University, mentioned a certain quantity of lighting should stay on for security causes, and likewise to adjust to constructing codes.
“While vacancy-off lighting controls with motion detectors are now standard practice for lighting automation systems in office buildings and it is in the energy code, these are fairly old buildings without a centralized lighting automation system,” he mentioned.
NDP atmosphere critic Laurel Collins repeated her occasion’s name for making giant buildings extra vitality environment friendly.
“It’s disappointing to see that the government isn’t even taking basic energy-saving measures, like turning off lights in government buildings when no one is there.”
Former Green Party chief Elizabeth May remarked that the scenario presents an ideal opening line for query interval: “Lights on, but nobody’s home!”
May says it units a poor instance to depart the lights on all night time.
“During COVID with so many people working from home, the message is even worse,” she instructed CBC News.
Slated for improve
Last December, Public Services posted a discover on its web site detailing plans to renovate the Terraces de la Chaudiere, a authorities workplace complicated in Gatineau, Que., throughout the river from Parliament Hill.
Many key areas are slated for updates, together with the constructing’s automation and lighting techniques.
Public Services mentioned the brand new techniques will likely be extra trendy and use vitality extra effectively.
“Our overall target is for the building to have net-zero carbon emissions.”
The division mentioned these renovations are scheduled to start this fall.