Waste of energy

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It was fascinating to read the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) ­director Andy Kerr’s advice (Friends of The Scotsman, 23 April) on how more prudent use of energy can help to save the planet – “As a society we waste vast quantities of energy” – highlighting the need to reduce greenhouse emissions and proposing “issues of equity, justice and fairness” as the way forward.

This voicing of social concern alongside technological innovation is commendable to those of us who look forward to a more equitable, just and fair society.

I am one of Mr Kerr’s neighbours in a somewhat beleaguered community close to the ECCI. We have been subjected for the past several months to an excruciating electrical humming worthy of use by CIA interrogators, 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

We have been given several vague and unsatisfactory explanations by the university’s Estates and Buildings Department for the source of the noise, and why it needs to be on, regardless of whether or not anyone is in the building. Explanations change ­almost daily.

The City of Edinburgh’s “noise team” has measured the sound inside my flat and decreed the university is in breach of the planning conditions attached to the ECCI building.

We have been given various bits of flannel about how the ­offending machinery, possibly an extractor fan or air conditioning, is linked by computer to other machinery and therefore has to remain on (this in a building devoted to energy-saving technological innovation), ­incidentally casting a blight on our lives.

Those of us who have lived in Edinburgh’s Southside for many years are familiar with the university’s breathtaking social ­arrogance toward and disregard of the needs of the local community, many of whom are classified by social services as ­vulnerable.

I wonder if Mr Kerr would care to comment, in the light of his avowed concern for a) the planet and b) the community.

John Reiach

High School Yards

Edinburgh