Legco urged to see the light on energy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 August, 2006, 12:00am

The Legislative Council building's archaic air conditioners are not energy-efficient and should be replaced, environmental group Clear the Air claims.

Replacing the old manual switches with an automatic system could shave 30 per cent off the electricity bill for the building, where lawmakers often debate the future of the city's environment.

The assessment was made last week by the lobby group after a visit to Legco to study the energy efficiency of the building.

Engineer Mark Hunter, of Clear the Air, said the system was inefficient as there appeared to be no centralised and automatic systems controlling the air-conditioning.

Unlike automatic systems which can detect when a room is occupied and adjust accordingly, staff and council members have to switch off the air-conditioning after use.

The old-style, wall-mounted control units also do not show the temperatures, making it impossible to keep the room at the government-recommended 25.5 degrees Celsius.

They also found that in many instances inefficient incandescent light bulbs were still being used.

Replacing each one with longer-lasting fluorescent ones would save HK$530 over the 8,000 to 20,000 hours of each bulb.

The group said replacing all the light bulbs in Legco's dining room, where there are eight chandeliers with 10 bulbs each, would alone save HK$35,000.

Because the lobby was not allowed to survey Legco's restricted areas, they were unable to say how much a refit would cost.

But chairwoman Annelise Connell said the cost of installing environmentally friendly systems and lighting would be covered after 18 months because of the energy savings.

Clear the Air has drafted a set of recommendations that are expected to be adopted by DAB legislator Choy So-yuk, who is concerned about the energy wastage at the building, for submission to the council.

'Sometimes it gets so cold in Legco chambers that if I wear short-sleeved shirts I have to go back home to fetch a light coat,' she said.