#Manchester Council goes at #carbon literacy with all… lights… blazing. #epicfail

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, what’s the worth of 500 employees being carbon literate if…

Someone recently left a comment that I’ve cherished ever since, comparing me to Woodward and Bernstein. Well, here’s another fine investigation, eh?

I gatecrashed the Carbon Literacy celebration today, btw (there appears to have been a little confusion over eligibility, stalls and the like. Nothing a FoIA won’t clear up though…) As you’d expect, SRL’s talk was of “engaging the hearts and minds of residents,” some warranted speculation about the connection to the storms and floods down sowf, and the inevitable mention of the Coop’s NOMA building (which also has its lights all a-blazing of an evening. Go figure). Hopefully he will blog about it. Lately (since Jan 9th) he’s gone uncharacteristically quiet. I do hope he is not imitating the Steering Group blog and putting up one new thing every six months or so?)

UPDATE: 6/2/2014 at 6.45am.  My ‘brain’ (cough cough) has brought it to my attention that I am being unfair to these 500 employees.  Clearly, the decision to leave all the lights on is not simply the aggregation 500 individual ones.  It is a decision made by someone higher up the pay-grades.  Perhaps an amused MCFly reader would like to find out who that person is, and what their rationale is.  In the meantime, perhaps the carbon literacy training should be replaced by carbon capability training…

carbon capability



About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in Campaign Update, Democratic deficit, Energy, humour, Manchester City Council, Mitigation, Polar Bear Facepalm, youtubes. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to #Manchester Council goes at #carbon literacy with all… lights… blazing. #epicfail

  1. Adam says:

    Answer to your lights question


    in particular;

    “As well as the roadwork issue, they also wanted to know ‘why the town hall extension lights were left on excessively over the Christmas period and whether the council is financially responsible for it’. After investigating, officers have confirmed that automatic energy-saving sensors designed to switch lights off after a certain period failed on 15pc of occasions over the festive break. That problem is being rectified and will cost contractors and not the council, they say.”

  2. Thanks Adam!!
    I hadn’t seen that – tbh now that the MEN is 60p a day I don’t always get it.
    I’d say there are three obvious statements here.
    What about, um, having someone go around and switch off the lights as and when they fail.
    We are no longer in the festive period – it’s February
    While the Council may charge the contractors for the cost of new energy-sensors, are they charging them for the leccy used and crucially – what about the unnecessary energy usage? That can’t be clawed back…

    There are more questions, but I am knackered and heading for my sick bed.

  3. Adam says:

    Hi Marc,

    happy to help in trying to solve any mysterys!

    I’m pretty sure somewhere in all the Town Hall Extension press bumf the Council has put out over the last couple of years, they said they were moving to more energy efficient sensor lighting? in which case they wouldnt be able to switch them off, as they’re wont be any light switches!

    If that is true it would also make sense why some (but not all) the lights are on in your video – as it may be people working through building and with the duff sensors in, they then stay on longer than they need to. – but thats just guess work on my part.

    February isnt that long since the festive period – especially since whoever is fixing it will need to identify the problems, solve it, replace and monitor. but if its still like that in a couple of months time then yes – they clearly havent pulled their finger out.

    I cant comment on if they can charge the contractors for the leccy usage but thats abit unfair if you’re blaming them on unnecessary usage if the equipment they bought in good faith as has failed!

    The Council could and should do better on a lot of things, but if the above is true (and my guess is as good as yours), then they shouldnt be knocked for trying. And yes while we all need to be taking big huge giant steps, the small steps the Council are taking are better than no steps at all!

    • Hi Adam,

      I think we shall have to agree to disagree on these things.

      To take your points in order. I have learnt the hard way, over a long period of time, to take press bumf from the Council with an amount of salt that would horrify my quack. I can supply links if you like.

      If (and we are both speculating) there are no light switches, then that is just the kind of crazed technophilia-in-the-absence-of-thinking-about-how-things might-go-wrong-and-need-a-manual-override that I would expect from the Council. I will look into it.

      It was 9 o’clock on a Wednesday evening. I had a good look at the windows, and I saw no-one moving around inside. There were a LOT of lights on, not “some”.

      February is plenty long after the “festive period.” Also – every time I have ever gone past that building in the evening I look at the lights. They are on. Before the Xmas period, during, and after. The “it’s a Xmas problem” meme is just the sort of spin and waffle and blandishment that I have come (again, from long experience) to expect of papers presented (I almost typed prevented) to ‘scrutiny’ committees.

      The Council is taking very very VERY small steps. Most of its ‘successes’ have come from “asset rationalisation” (selling off buildings they aren’t using). If you’ve been following Manchester Climate Fortnightly since 2008, or Manchester Climate Monthly since 2011, you will have many examples of spin and promises-made-and-not-kept.

      You appear to want to praise them for what they have done, while giving them an easy time on what they haven’t. You seem to be happy to give them the benefit of the doubt.
      I gave up on giving them the benefit of the doubt in about 2011, and that was after several “hmm, give them one more chance.”

      The thing that has changed now is that Kate Chappell has arrived in post. I have known her since early 2009. We certainly don’t always agree, but she is certainly very aware of this agenda, committed to doing everything she can, and is a phenomenal public-speaker. I hope that she can make real changes. If and when she does, we will report them!

      I invite you to sign the Open Letter to the Council, advocating 9 actions they can take.

      Best wishes

      Marc Hudson

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