DPS reports annually on its environmental performance in-line with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
It also reports under the National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Act 1998.
In 2019–20 the department monitored its environmental performance and implemented measures to improve the impact of its activities on the environment.
Activities at Parliament House including maintenance, engineering, landscaping, information and communications technology, catering and office-based services are those most likely to affect the environment.
Table 61: Monitored water and energy use, emissions and waste 2017-20
Building energy use
Energy Consumption – Parliament House building (GJ)
Energy Consumption – Minter Ellison building (GJ)
Total number of fleet vehicles
Total fuel purchased (litres)
Total distance travelled (klms)
Direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes CO2-e)
Fuel and gas
Landscape fuel – diesel (litres)
Landscape fuel – petrol (litres)
Boilers – diesel (litres)
Generators – diesel (litres)
Greenhouse emissions (tonnes CO2-e)
Scope 1 – emissions at the source of activity that DPS has direct responsibility
Scope 2 – emissions generated elsewhere that DPS has direct responsibility
Scope 3 – indirect emissions that DPS has little control over
Building water consumption (KL)
Landscape water consumption (KL)
Resource efficiency and waste
Total office paper purchased (Kilos)
Percentage of office paper purchased with recycled content or carbon neutral certified (%)
Office paper recycled (tonnes)
Total waste produced (tonnes)
Percentage of waste diverted from landfill (%)
Transport energy use
The department's vehicle fleet is used by Landscape Services. Other transport energy includes fuel used in onsite maintenance and loading dock vehicles, many of which operate on electric power to reduce emissions.
Energy use and energy-saving initiatives
Parliament House building energy use comprises:
natural gas for heating, general hot water and in kitchens
electricity to power office lighting, mechanical services, lifts, cooling and ICT equipment, and
diesel, mainly for testing emergency back-up generators.
Projects and energy-saving initiatives progressed in 2019–20 include upgrading:
all 42 lifts in the building with new mechanical components that will use 30 per cent less energy. Works are due to be completed by December 2020, and
upgrading the heating and cooling air systems. This will improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This project is currently in design stage with completion expected in 2021–22.
Air conditioning upgrade project
In May 2020 works commenced to replace Parliament House air conditioning units which are at end of life or that have refrigerants that contain ozone depleting substances. These works are scheduled to be finished in October 2021.
Kitchen upgrade project
In 2019 work commenced on the Parliament House kitchens to incorporate more energy and water-efficient equipment including new larger commercial dishwashers that will use 40 per cent less water and 55 per cent less energy. The works are due for completion in December 2020.
Recycling and waste management
Parliament House’s waste fluctuates throughout the year, depending on building occupancy, sitting patterns, construction projects, office refurbishments and election cycles.
In 2019–20 total general waste (excluding construction waste) sent to landfill was 375 tonnes. Measures undertaken to slow the spread of COVID-19 during 2019–20, including fewer events, remote working arrangements and better hygiene practices, have impacted recycling and waste rates.
Figure 27: Breakdown of waste streams (recycling and non-recycling) in 2019–20
% of total
Waste sent to landfill (non-recycling)
Paper and cardboard
Other recycling (printer cartridges, lamps etc,)
Chillers, air conditioning units, cool rooms and refrigerators at Parliament House use refrigerants that contain Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). DPS is reducing the requirement for ozone-depleting gases by replacing older cooling equipment with equipment that uses more environmentally friendly refrigerants.
Many cool rooms at Parliament House operate on a ‘glycol’ fluid which is an environmentally safer refrigerant. Over the coming years, DPS will upgrade many of the building’s smaller air conditioning units to ODS-free cooling units.
Discharges to water
Sewage from Parliament House is required—under a trade waste agreement—to be equivalent to domestic strength (a domestic equivalent is a concentration or level the same as would be found in household waste water).
To ensure these requirements are met, the following facilities are in place:
a grease trap on each kitchen drain
a coalescing plate filter on the vehicle wash-down bay to prevent oil from entering the sewer, and
a system to remove paint solids from paint brush washing facilities before waste enters the sewer.
Significant spills of chemicals, oils and fuels
In 2019–20 there were no significant spills of chemicals, oils or fuels from Parliament House.