Nicholas Hare Architects' evening debate - part of Open City's Green Sky Thinking Week - titled "When Will the Lights go out?" was a big success.
Graeme Nicholson (Director of Oil and Gas at Rexel) set the scene, noting the different drivers of energy consumption around the world. Energy demand has tended to flatline in the west because although products are more energy efficient, consumers effectively use more in maintaining lifestyles. The USA is on line to be self-sufficient in energy. Leadership is needed to temper demand.
David Clark (Global Sustainability Partner at Cundall) highlighted some of the ridiculous consequences of blindly relying on established energy assessment systems to 'rate' buildings, while being ignorant of the actual energy consumption. The science of what is or is not included in true sustainability assessment is complex.
Ashley Bateson (Sustainability Group Partner at Hoare Lea) believed that we need sensible legislation to temper consumption. He warned of 'eco-evangelists'. Also, legislators need to keep on top of the economic models resulting from their own legislation. A case in point is how cheaply carbon offsets can be purchased, because they are currently based on calculations at a time when the economy was booming.
Graeme thought the lights will be kept on, David thought they should be turned off to consume less energy, and Ashley believed they should be dimmed.