Mitigation measures and methods for reviewing effectiveness
Office and building efficiency
The department improved its energy performance in 2014–15, achieving a 3 percent reduction in total energy use (comprised of a 2 percent reduction in stationary energy and a 22 percent reduction in transport energy) and surpassing the EEGO Policy per capita energy intensity target for tenant light and power (TLP) of 7,500 MJ/person/annum by 22 percent, reporting 4,017 MJ/person/annum. This was achieved through the rationalisation of the property portfolio into fewer, more efficient tenancies and by integrating energy-efficient features into building fit-out designs. The department does not currently report against the central services (CS) target of 400 MJ per metre squared per annum, as it does not currently have any properties in this end use category. A significant reduction in energy intensity was reported for the department's laboratories and computer centres at 1,154MJ/m2 (22 percent decrease) and 21,865MJ/m2 (15 percent decrease) respectively, as evidenced in the table above.
The energy performance of the property portfolio is rated using the National Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) for offices. The department strives to occupy office buildings and tenancies that are designed to achieve the EEGO policy’s minimum energy performance standard of at least 4.5 stars. NABERS office energy ratings (without green power) for the department's main tenancies currently include:
- 2 Philip Law St, Canberra: 5.5 stars Tenancy | Base building currently being rated
- 10 Binara St, Canberra: 3 stars Tenancy | 5 stars Base building
- 341 George St Sydney: 5 stars Tenancy | 4 stars Base building.
The property at 2 Philip Law St, Canberra has also achieved an outstanding Green Star Office Design v3 and Office As Built v3 ratings of 6 Stars, which represents ‘world leadership' in environmentally sustainable building practices.
To ensure that the department's larger tenancies operate at the required level of energy efficiency, inline with EEGO minimum energy performance standards, landlord and tenant obligations are managed under Green Lease Schedules by implementing site-based energy management plans, quarterly Building Management Committee meetings and separate metering.
The department purchased 5,390 GJ of green power from electricity services in NSW and the Australian Capital Territory, procured through the whole-of-government electricity contract.
The department participates in Earth Hour to promote greenhouse emission awareness and to review lighting system operations.
The department continues to enhance governance processes to review and report on its environmental performance. The table above outlines the department’s performance against the EEGO Policy and ICT sustainability plan targets over time.
The department is committed to the reduction of waste sent to landfill and more efficient use of operational resources through the implementation of a waste management plan that supports the waste hierarchy of waste avoidance and recovery over waste disposal.
The department actively works with waste contractors to improve rates of recycling across sites. Signage, bins and bags are progressively being upgraded to meet Australian standard AS 4123.7-2006 AMDT 1 2008 Mobile waste containers—Colours, markings, and designation requirements and support ongoing behaviour change.
Where possible, obsolete ICT desktop equipment is re-used or sold rather than being disposed of or recycled and all toner cartridges are recycled with zero waste to landfill.
ICT sustainability plan and ICT Policy: energy and carbon management
The department's ICT sustainability plan and ICT Policy is aligned with whole-of government ICT sustainability guidelines, and supports the goal of lowering the department's carbon emissions by providing a framework to review and report on ICT practices, including efficient use of energy, energy star ratings and measures for the reduction of hazardous substances. The department has exceeded the ICT sustainability plan target for desktop devices to end users of 1.2:1 with a ratio of 1.05:1 in 2014/15. It is expected that this ratio will be maintained or reduced with the implementation of the Flexible Workplace Project and other initiatives.
Throughout 2014/15, energy efficiencies were made through the consolidation of ICT infrastructure within the department’s data centres. As a result the overall PUE has dropped from 2.0 in 2013–2014, to 1.715 in 2014–2015. The continued use of virtualisation technology to consolidate and reduce the amount of physical ICT infrastructure enabled the department to run multiple servers on a single piece of infrastructure, therefore reducing data centre energy usage. This technology underpins most of the department’s ICT infrastructure and supports the efficient and effective delivery of ICT operational services. The department also utilises a virtual desktop environment, which reduced desktop power consumption by replacing conventional PC’s with low power thin client devices. Virtual desktops support the department’s flexible working arrangements, enabling staff to work remotely using bring your own device (BYOD) capabilities. Offsite flexible working arrangements reduce the reliance and use of thin client devices, further reducing power usage.
Increased video conferencing capability in 2014–15 has enhanced connectivity between state and regional offices, reducing travel requirements and subsequently travel-related carbon emissions (refer to key performance indicator table above). The positive uptake of video conferencing technology by staff throughout the department in 2014–15 is demonstrated by a 112% increase in equipment usage (minutes in use) and a 133% increase in VC capability (units deployed) since 2013–14, indicating that many staff now use this technology over travel.
The department continues to minimise the use of printers through mandating multi-function devices (MFDs) with a 'follow-me' printing capability enabled and default to double-sided printing, to optimise paper and toner cartridge use. In addition, the MFDs have automatic sleep function enabled, which also reduces energy consumption.
Performance of public buildings: Questacon
Questacon manages the impacts of its operational activities through an Environmental Management System certified to ISO 14001:2004.
Questacon installed in excess of 300 solar panels at its Parkes site and implemented a changeover of incandescent external lights to LED to gain further power efficiencies.
Questacon currently recycles all waste from office areas including organic waste. Questacon recycles cardboard weighing more than 16,000kg pa, metal from workshop, batteries, pallets and all clean paper products.
Questacon exhibitions are designed with regard to the environmental impact of construction, operation and disposal. Increasing use of computer-aided design technology is assisting in the reduction of waste during the production stage.
Procurement of goods and services
In line with the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, the department considers environmental sustainability as part of its value for money assessment. The department's procurement and grants toolkit provides guidance to staff on both the Sustainable procurement guide and the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015.
In line with the requirements of the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015, general use office copy paper purchased by the department must contain 100% post-consumer recycled content.
The department utilises the whole-of-government Desktop Equipment Panel, which includes environmental criteria in the selection process, to source ICT desktop equipment.
National Measurement Institute (NMI) laboratories
NMI's laboratories are accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia, and its operations are conducted in accordance with relevant standards and regulatory environmental requirements (including National Environment Protection Measures relating to hazardous goods storage, waste and discharges).