Thursday, July 31, 2008

UN goes green cuts on air-conditioning

The culture of stiff collar and smart suits in summer might be over at the United Nations as it ratchets up thermostat on weeks days and completely shuts down the air-conditioning during weekends to help reduce greenhouse gas emission and save $1 million.
Unveiling the 'Cool UN' initiative, the world body advised diplomats, staff and journalist to wear lighter clothes as the air conditioning temperature would be raised from 22 to 25 degrees centigrade from August 1. The UN could save $1 million annually if the experiment is successful.

No air-conditioning in UN on weekends
If the one month trial is successful, the United Nations intends to reduce the heating temperature also which would make the headquarters comparatively cooler in winter. Asked for their comment, diplomats demurred but said they would accept the higher temperature. "We have succeeded in moving climate change to the top of the international agenda for action, and this means that the UN must take action itself," said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The one-month-long trial during August is expected to cut the UN's carbon dioxide emissions by 300 tons, a 10 per cent reduction in energy consumption for the air conditioning systems. This will also result in savings of more than $100,000 by cutting back on the use of steam by over 4,000 million pounds. The headquarters system uses steam provided by local energy company for both air-conditioning in summer and heating in winter.
As part of 'Cool UN,' the Secretary-General is encouraging both personnel and delegates to dress less formally, including by having men leave their ties off.
"Let us have some fun while at the same time we make a contribution to reducing global emissions," Ban said.
Officials said Ban too would wear lighter clothes to give a lead to his staff . "We estimate that the monthly winter reduction would be somewhat larger than the monthly summer reduction," Michael Adlerstein, executive director of the capital master plan, told reporters. He said that the initiative 'Cool UN' will only go into effect in New York, given that climate conditions vary from duty station to duty station, according to Janos Pasztor, Director of Ban's Climate Change Support Team.
The UN's Nairobi offices are not air-conditioned, while Geneva's offices are cooled for only a few days out of the year, he said.
Pasztor said that negotiations to conclude a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol must continue, "but we also need to reflect on our lifestyles and the way we live and the way we work."

No comments: