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Environmental sustainability and performance

The Department of Education is committed to ecologically sustainable development, and reports on its activities under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Environmental management in the department is focused on reducing negative impacts from energy consumption, waste, water consumption, vehicle fleet, air travel, paper consumption and procurement practices and policies.

Table 3.6 summarises the department’s main environmental impacts in 2017–18 and 2018–19.

Table 1.1: Table 3.6: Summary of environmental performance, 2017–18 and 2018–19

Indicator

2017–18

2018–19

% change

Office/building energy usea

Office tenant light and power energy use per FTE (MJ/FTE)

4,208.22

5,013.24

+19.1%

Office tenant light and power energy use per square metre

(MJ/m2)

202.98

193.16

–4.8%

Greenhouse emissions attributed to office tenant light and power energy use (tonnes CO2)

1,461.32

1,769.47

+21.1%

Green power purchased as a percentage of total electricity consumption

10.0%

10.0%

0.00%

Vehicle fleet

Total number of fleet vehicles

10

7

–30.0%

Average green vehicle rating of fleetb

13.7

N/A

N/A

Average fuel consumption of vehicle fleet (litres/100 km)

8.32

9.62

+15.6%

Total direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes CO2)

4.83

3.40

–29.6%

Air travel

Total distance of flights (km)

5,394,817

5,674,812

+5.2%

Greenhouse emissions attributed to flights (tonnes CO2)c

492.07

541.77

+10.1%

Resource efficiency and wastea

Office paper purchased per FTE (A4 reams/FTE)

8.35

9.36

+12.1%

Percentage of paper purchased with recycled content

69.7

29.0

–58.4%

Office paper recycled (kilograms per FTE)

74.49

53.0

+28.9%

Total landfill waste produced (kilograms per FTE)

41.52

31.0

–25.3%

Total comingled recycling (kilograms per FTE)

14.49

13.0

–10.3%

Total organic recycling (kilograms per FTE)

11.08

12.0

+8.3%

ICT sustainability

Desktop devices per end user

1.25

1.54

+23.2%

Desktop computers to printer ratio

17:1

19:1

+11.8%

FTE = full-time equivalent; MJ = megajoule: ICT = information and communications technology.

a Energy use, waste and recycling data is for the 50 Marcus Clarke Street tenancy in Canberra.

b Vehicles are no longer accorded a ‘green vehicle’ rating.

c A data entry error meant that the recorded data for 2017–18 was incorrectly reported. The entry has now been corrected.

Office and building energy use

The department’s headquarters building at 50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra, retains excellent environmental ratings, and occupancy is being maximised through subleasing and more efficient use of space, leading to cost and energy savings.

Vehicle fleet and air travel

Greenhouse emissions from the vehicle fleet decreased by 30 per cent, due to a reduction in the number of vehicles and a reduction of just under 45 per cent in kilometres travelled, from 27,484 km in 2017–18 to 15,224 km in 2018–19.

An increase in overall travel-related emissions is due to the increase in international air travel, which is attributed to greater international business requirements during 2018–19.

Resource efficiency and waste

A total of 18.64 tonnes of organic material was diverted from landfill to vermiculture, reducing our emissions and producing beneficial worm castings and compost. This is an increase of 8 per cent on the 2017–18 figure of 17.26 tonnes.