Letter: Turn down the glare and save energy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Karen Bakker ("Light fantastic that will snuff out the stars", 12 August) has rightly drawn attention to the increasing problem of light pollution in the UK. What needs to be said in addition is that this trend runs counter to government policy to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions. It is particularly worrying that the Millennium Commission should be encouraging this development. In case it should be thought that carbon emissions attributable to lighting are of little consequence it should be noted that lighting already accounts for the highest energy cost in the commercial buildings sector.

It is government policy to realise a substantial reduction in energy consumption within its own buildings, though it still has a considerable way to go to achieve its goal. In the light of this policy, should not the Millennium Commission be required to demand evidence of energy saving in all the construction enterprises it supports? As a first step, all bidders should be required to submit projects to the Government's own Energy Design Advice Scheme, funded by the DTI. This would at least ensure that projects met reasonable energy conservation criteria in basic design terms.

Professor PETER F SMITH

Chairman, Environment and Energy Committee

Royal Institute of British Architects

London W1

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