Wakefield One council office could become 'Smart' building with new sensors

The Wakefield One building opened in 2012.
The Wakefield One building opened in 2012.

Sensors could be fitted to one of Wakefield Council's main office blocks, indicating how many people are in the building at any one time.

The Wakefield One building, which accommodates hundreds of local authority staff and the city's library, may soon be kitted out with the new "smart" technology.

The building accommodates hundreds of council staff, as well as the city's library.

The building accommodates hundreds of council staff, as well as the city's library.

The council says the move would help them make better use of the building and make it more energy efficient, with more employees potentially working out of the office.

The idea was revealed in a scrutiny meeting on Monday morning, as councillors discussed ways to reduce Wakefield's carbon footprint.

Kevin Fisher, from the council's estates team, said: "We are looking at things like Smart buildings.

"So for example with Wakefield One we're looking at fitting sensor technology that tells you how many people are in the building at any one time.

"The idea is we can use the space more efficiently, and that can in turn reduce our carbon footprint."

Although one Labour councillor expressed concerns that the tool could be used to "cram" more staff into the Wakefield One office, the authority suggested the technology would have the opposite effect.

Coun Kevin Swift, who represents Wakefield West, said: "I'm far from certain that cramming more people into Wakefield One is that more efficient, and I'm certain that it doesn't make for good working conditions.

"Actually I'd have hoped that in the context of climate change, we'd be hearing about a greater degree of decentralisation, so that we are travelling out to people in their communities.

"Staff wouldn't have to travel as far, and the public wouldn't have to travel as far."

Mr Fisher replied: "It's absolutely not our intention to make the building more crowded.

"Staff will be more agile, and they will be able to get out and about delivering services."

"It's about having a more out-and-about approach in the district, and making sure people have the right IT equipment, so that maybe they don't have to come back to the office all the time."

The Wakefield One building opened in November 2012.

Local Democracy Reporting Service