Cool heads at council HQ

TENS of thousands of pounds could be trimmed off the cost of the council’s new or refurbished offices by consigning air conditioning to the dustbin.

It is estimated £15 million will be needed to fully restore Northgate House, including £2.3 million for electrical installations, new lifts and “comfort cooling”.

But according to the Calderdale Green Party, the council should do away with air conditioning and adopt new technologies which cost less and are more environmentally friendly.

Spokesman Charles Gate said: “Solar shading, appropriate ventilation, night-time cooling, phase-change materials, thermal mass or evaporative cooling technologies, should all be looked at.

“Avoiding air conditioning should also significantly reduce the whole-life cost of the building.”

Mr Gate said losing air conditioning would help the council comply with its new sustainable procurement strategy.

“The council seems unable to grasp the fact that office space could be cut significantly by removing the entitlement to a desk.

“Most staff could work anywhere with a notebook computer and office space would not need to be left heavily under-utilised when they are working elsewhere, which wastes energy, building costs and office running costs,” he said.

Calderdale Council’s civic offices at Northgate, Halifax, were built in the early 1980s. There is pressure from some quarters to demolish the building and put shops on the site while retaining the nearby central library.

The council’s deputy leader, Tim Swift (Lab, Town), said there was still a long way to go before the council could decide whether to refurbish or replace Northgate House but the aim would be to make it as carbon neutral as possible.

“It is likely to be the summer before we know exactly what accommodation we need and where, or if we can manage without, any new facilities at all.”

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