Holyrood among least efficient buildings in UK


By Rory Reynolds

THE SCOTTISH Parliament is among the least energy efficient buildings in the UK, according to an industry expert.

Administrators of the £414million building came under fire after it emerged that Holyrood uses more than twice the energy it claims to.

One industry leading energy consultant has described the parliament building as “among the most energy guzzling non-domestic buildings in the UK”.

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald discovered the discrepancy when a recent reading showed it was running at twice the forecast consumption.

The building’s energy performance certificate – which it is legally required to display – states that it uses 126 kilowatt hours per square metre of floor space.

However, a recent environmental report found that the figure was closer to 300kWh.


Professor David Strong, chief executive of the sustainable building consultancy Inbuilt, described Holyrood’s displayed rating of a B as “meaningless”.

He said: “If the Scottish Parliament was south of the border it would have to display its actual energy rating, but in Scotland it only needs to display the theoretical one, which is quite meaningless.

“Clearly the administrators of the Scottish Parliament can sit there and think, ‘we’re damn good’.

“When the reality is that the building is currently using twice the energy it should be – it’s using around 300kWh.

“It puts it among the most energy guzzling non-domestic buildings in the UK.”

Lowest ranking

Professor Strong said that without seeing the operational figures, he could not say what grading the parliament building actually is, but estimated that it is close to MP’s plush Portcullis House in London.

He added: “After the Scottish Parliament, Portcullis House in London is the next costliest public building – a snip at some £235million.

“In theory it is an A or a B, but it’s actually a G, the lowest ranking.

“The Scottish Parliament is the same, I would say it is around an E, maybe worse.”

Last week MacDonald lodged a formal question with the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to determine when the building will be reassessed.


She said: “The information we have uncovered appears to suggest the energy certificate was, as we suspected, very flattering.”

While yesterday Green leader Robin Harper urged administrators to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent this year.

Robin Harper MSP said: “The biggest problem at present is the validity of the energy performance certificate (EPC) system as it stands.

“Although possibly helpful to an extent, for purposes of comparison it is possible that many EPCs are not worth the paper they are written on.”