Environmental performance

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Our environmental performance is managed on the department’s behalf by the SSC. Due to the accommodation and operations of the department not being fully separated from those of the Department of Employment, for the operations of the SSC, aspects of this analysis is aggregated for both departments in 2014–15.

Environmental management is focused on reducing impacts from energy consumption, waste, water consumption, vehicle fleet, air travel, paper consumption and procurement policies and practices. The department’s progress is summarised in Table 15.

Table 15: Summary of environmental performance
Indicator 2013–14 2014–15 Change (%)
Office/building energy use
Total office tenant light and power electricity consumption (kWh) 6,863,055 6,652,138 -3.17%
Total office tenant light and power energy consumption (MJ) 24,706,998 23,947,696 -3.17%
Office tenant light and power energy use per full-time equivalent (MJ/FTE) 6,432.44 6,875.59 +6.89%
Office tenant light and power energy use per square metre (MJ/m2) 222.68 220.61 -0.93%
Greenhouse emissions attributed to office tenant light and power energy use (tonnes/CO 2-e) 6,087.30 5,230.90 -14.07%
Green power purchased (kWh) 418,287 611,769 +46.26%
Vehicle fleet
Total number of fleet vehicles 140 71 -49.29%
Average green vehicle rating of fleet 13.3 13.1 -1.50%
Total fuel purchased (kilolitres) 86.73 36.69 -57.70%
Total distance travelled (kilometres) 900,520 360,284 -59.99%
Average fuel consumption of vehicle fleet (litres/100 km) 9.63 10.18 +5.71%
Total direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes CO 2-e) 201.62 70.18 -67.19%
Greenhouse emissions
Total greenhouse emissions (tonnes CO 2-e) 6,288.92 5,301.08 -15.71%
Total greenhouse emissions per FTE (tonnes CO 2-e/FTE) 1.64 1.52 -7.32%
Air travel
Total number of flights 12,746 13,785 +8.15%
Total distance of flights (km) 10,026,378 10,571,562 +5.44%
Resource efficiency and waste a
Office paper purchased by FTE (A4 reams/FTE) 7.9 6.2 -21.52%
Percentage of paper purchased with recycled content 97.90% 82.49% -15.74%
Office paper recycled (tonnes) 122.12 185.20 +51.65%
Total waste produced (tonnes) 115.00 127.64 +10.99%
Total waste produced per FTE (kg/FTE) 61.43 57.95 -5.66%
Percentage of waste diverted from landfill 25.10 25.80 +2.71%
ICT sustainability
Desktop devices per end user (including laptops) 1.84 1.95 +6.0
Desktop computers to printer ratio 13:1 12:1 -7.7
Desktop computers off (or sleeping) after hours 93% 86% -7.5
Desktop energy per end user (kWh per annum, averaged across agency) 231 287 +24.2

CO2-e = carbon dioxide equivalent; kWh = kilowatt hour; MJ = megajoule; N/A = not available.

a Waste and recycling data is only available for tenancies across Canberra.

Effect of the department’s activities on the environment

The department constantly monitors and works to improve its performance across all aspects of our environmental impact, with an emphasis on energy and resource efficiency.

Office and building

In 2014–15, the department again surpassed the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy target of 7500 megajoules per person per year (MJ/FTE), at 6876 MJ/FTE. Compared with the previous financial year, energy intensity per person was a little higher but energy intensity per square meter of leased space and greenhouse gas emissions were slightly lower.

These variations reflect the significant recent changes to the department’s property portfolio and functions – particularly in state and regional operations – following a series of machinery of government changes. Overall, the environmental performance standards for offices from 2013–14 has been maintained.

Information and communications technology

Since the 2010 release of the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015, the department has reduced the running costs, resource consumption and environmental impacts of ICT operations through initiatives including the use of energy efficient monitors, virtual servers and print on demand for multifunction devices that default to duplex and black and white printing.

In 2014–15 there has been a moderate increase of desktop energy per end user (up from 231 kWh in 2013–14 to 287 kWh in 2014–15), a slight increase in the number of desktop devices per end user (up from 1.84 in 2013–14 to 1.95 in 2014–15), and a slight decrease in the ratio of desktop computers to printers (from 13:1 in 2013–14 to 12:1 in 2014–15).

These results are mainly attributed to approved business demand for additional dual monitor configurations, additional desktop computers for users and the provision of additional SES printers. The exemption of more desktop computers from power management has reduced the number of these devices powered off after hours from 93 per cent to 86 per cent.

Vehicle fleet and air travel

The average Green Vehicle Guide rating of the departments’ combined vehicle fleet has changed marginally from last financial year, but the size of the fleet has halved. This has led to a significant reduction in fuel consumption proportional to the reduction in the fleet size. Overall, previous standards of fleet efficiency have been maintained.

Total air kilometres travelled in 2014–15 were slightly higher than 2013–14, however the significant reduction from 2012–13 has been maintained.

Resource efficiency and waste

Paper use has fallen by 21.52 per cent in 2014–15 from 7.9 in 2013–14 to 6.2 reams per person, reflecting the department’s ongoing efforts to standardise on electronic filing only. Usage is now significantly below the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010–2015 target of 9 reams per person per annum by July 2015.

The department continues to purchase recycled stock for all standard A4 and A3 paper. In 2014–15 82.49 per cent of all paper purchased had some recycled content and 64.53 per cent was either carbon neutral or 100 per cent post-consumer recycled stock.

The waste management system in Canberra continued to achieve very good results, with 25.8 tonnes of organic material diverted from landfill to vermiculture—reducing emissions and producing beneficial worm castings and compost.

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