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How green is the Australian Greenhouse Office? John Gorton Building managers report

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull, answering written questions from Labor MP Kate Ellis in the Federal House of Representatives on 11 September 2007, said the John Gorton Building had utilised 100 per cent Greenpower since 2003, which ensured that the equivalent power used by the building was sourced from renewable energy sources.

Initiatives to minimise environmental impacts: “Renewable energy is energy derived from sources that cannot be depleted or can be replaced such as solar, wind, biomass (waste), wave or hydro,” Turnbull said. “Clean, renewable sources don’t produce greenhouse pollution. In addition to purchasing Green Power the department (in 2005-06) used approximately 30 per cent less energy than the current Energy Efficiency in Government Operations target of 7,500 MJ/person/annum. Initiatives implemented to minimise the Department’s adverse environmental impacts include:

• as part of the refurbishment of the John Gorton Building in 1998, the distribution, configuration and illumination provided by lighting systems was revised to minimise the number of fluorescent and other lights;

• the environmental awareness training which forms part of the Department’s Environment Management System (EMS) encourages staff to use power saving options on computers and printers, switch off lights in conference rooms when not in use, and observe proper waste disposal and recycling practices. These awareness training presentations have been ongoing since 2003;

• where possible, printers are set to duplex printing as default. This was implemented as part of a wholesale refresh of IT systems in 2005;

• the Department has been a participant in the Greenhouse Challenge Program (GHC) since 1997. GHC requires the Department to report annually against agreed carbon emission targets. A new GHC is being negotiated in 2007.

• the Department has reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by developing its recycling infrastructure. A 3-bin waste management system has been in use in the John Gorton Building since 1998, following a major building refurbishment, to encourage the recycling of plastics, paper and organics. Currently, around 75 per cent of waste from the 3-bin system is recycled, a saving of around 128 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions;

• the Department also recycles chemical waste, including fluorescent lights, mobile phones and printer cartridges. Currently, 100 per cent of fluorescent lights are recycled;

• the Department first introduced fuel efficient hybrid (Toyota Prius) vehicles into its pool vehicle fleet in 2003, and now has 5 hybrid vehicles. With the exception of special purpose vehicles, 100 per cent of the fleet has a Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) rating of >10.5, which confirms that CO2 emissions and other pollution as a result of pool vehicle use is minimised;

• since 2003, the Department has subscribed to GreenFleet, whose tree planting program offsets 4.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide for each of the 36 vehicle pool and SES vehicle fleet, totalling 150 tonnes of CO2 per annum;

• since 2004, the Department has also subscribed to BP Global Choice for its Senior Executive Service vehicle fleet, which operates a number of certified Green House Friendly emission reduction initiatives; and

• a grey water system was installed as part of the building refurbishment in 1998. The amount of water generated by the system varies depending on the use of water in basins and showers but averages in the order of 2,800 litres of water each day, used for irrigation of garden beds and lawn areas around John Gorton Building.”

Lighting details: “The number of lights in the Department’s tenancy of the John Gorton Building is approx 2,500. The John Gorton Building is primarily fitted out with standard or compact fluorescent lights and a total of 12 halogen down lights (located in conference rooms). With the exception of emergency lighting, there are no incandescent light bulbs in use. As part of a building refurbishment in 1998, lower lighting levels were set in walkways and corridors, motion detectors introduced in conference rooms and in the centre wings of the building, and light diffusers applied to the panels of lights to enable an appropriate reduction of lighting levels on sunny days.”

Solar cells: “The John Gorton Building does not have photovoltaic (solar) cells installed onsite nor does it actively source power from a solar–generated source. However, as indicated in part (a) of the answer, the John Gorton Building does source 100 per cent of its electricity from accredited Green Power renewable energy sources which may include solar energy.”

Solar hot water: “The John Gorton Building has a solar hot water system that provides all the hot water for the Australian Greenhouse Office area, equivalent to around 25 per cent of all the hot water generated in the entire building (including the Department of Finance and Administration tenancy).”

Air conditioning: “As a tenant in the John Gorton Building, with a net lease whereby the owner carries the cost of heating and cooling systems, the Department does not have direct access to information on the energy efficiency rating of the air conditioning system.”

Table of light and power used: “Total tenant light and power for the John Gorton Building tenancies used by the Department:

Year Energy

*Includes subsumed Australia Greenhouse Office office (basement) area.
** MJ/person/year amounts based on all of the departments Canberra office space at the time (Edmond Barton Building and the John Gorton Building).”

Reference: Kate Ellis, Member for Adelaide, Australian Labor Party, House of Representatives, Commonwealth, Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Member for Wentworth, Liberal Party of Australia, House of Representatives, Commonwealth, 11 September 2007.

Erisk Net, 11/9/2007

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