There were complaints about the same issue in 2018 and there were complaints last summer when Lys Kernow, formerly the New County Hall, in Truro was pictured with all the lights on past midnight both inside and outside.
A council spokesman admitted it was an error and said that staff would receive training to ensure the lights were switched off.
“Following an investigation, we can confirm the atrium lights at Chy Trevail were left switched on accidentally on this occasion,” they said.
“Training will be given to ensure this is an isolated incident. Cornwall Council is committed to reducing its energy use and has taken many steps to do so, including the installation of solar panels at both County Hall in Truro and at Chy Trevail.
“A new lighting control system has also been installed in Truro to ensure the amount of time lights are left switched on is minimised.”
Building’s eco-friendly credentials
Chy Trevail includes a central atrium for the main reception and public facilities, as well as open-plan flexible workspaces over three floors.
The building has “a highly energy efficient design driven by a challenging DEC [display energy certificate] rating and incorporates 200kw photovoltaics to generate on-site renewable energy, low energy LED lighting, improved insulation, air-tightness and measures to reduce water consumption”.
Cornwall Council previously declared a climate emergency and hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030. The local authority has invested in LED lighting at Lys Kernow and uses renewably-sourced energy to power the building, including solar energy from panels installed on the roof.
Other councils leaving lights on
This is not the first time that councils have been criticised for leaving the lights on. Last year, Leicester City Council was accused of “completely wasting money” after 17 street lights in the city’s Green Dragon Square were left on around the clock.
Stuart Towers, the owner of the nearby Market Tavern Pub, said that the lights were not switched off once for three weeks, which the council blamed on a technical issue.
In 2020, Milton Keynes City Council was criticised after its civic offices and neighbouring library were pictured lit up in the middle of the night. Officials said that the lights were on only at reception for security staff and the rest of the building was operated by light sensors.