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Big Ben to Become a Sun Dial? Parliament Mulls Installing Solar Panels on Famous Clock Face.

The House of Commons is mulling plans to install solar panels on the clock face of Big Ben as part of a wide ranging effort to curb the carbon footprint of the historic parliamentary estate.


Parliamentary passholders were last month asked to submit ideas on how the estate could hit a target to improve energy efficiency by 34% by the end of the decade.

One passholder suggested putting solar panels on the clock face of Big Ben, which in 2012 was renamed Elizabeth Tower.

“These ideas will now be discussed, reviewed and prioritised by the Environment Team with a programme of initiatives to be developed in future months,” a spokesman for the House of Commons confirmed to BusinessGreen.

He added that the House Service was also planning to insulate parts of the Palace of Westminster roof with sheep’s wool next year, following a trial with Leeds University which found the material significantly reduced heat loss. Sheep’s wool is water tolerant so could also help to guard against leaks and prevent condensation from building up.

In addition, the House plans to install solar panels on some flat roofs next year as part of a renovation project to repair the cast-iron roof of the Houses of Parliament.

“The project is expected to ensure that the roof remains serviceable for another 150 years, and will give us the opportunity to improve our environmental performance ratings and fire safety systems,” the spokesman said.

He added that the House is carrying out a number of other green measures this year, including installing voltage optimisation technology to reduce energy wastage, exploring energy efficiency improvements for all buildings, and replacing lights with low energy LEDs.

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