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Appendix C: Environmental management

Environmental management
DPS reports annually on its environmental performance consistent with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

In 2020–21 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 54: Monitored water and energy use, emissions and waste 2018–21

Indicator

2018–19

2019–20

2020-21

Building energy use

Energy Consumption—Parliament House building (GJ)

142,451

145,529

140,959

Energy Consumption—

25 National Circuit (GJ)

679

606

583

Vehicle use

Total number of fleet vehicles

2

2

2

Total fuel purchased (litres)

1,166

1,726

1744

Total distance travelled (kms)

6,549

16,512

14,638

Direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes CO2-e)

3.34

4.94

4.96

Fuel and gas

Landscape fuel—diesel (litres)

6,127

6,595

7,448

Landscape fuel—petrol (litres)

2,255

2,426

2,327

LPG (litres)

3,205

3,357

2,969

Boilers—diesel (litres)

4,389

3,052

01

Generators—diesel (litres)

9,420

5,620

14,500

Greenhouse emmissions (tonnes CO2-e)

Scope 1—emissions at the source of activity that DPS has direct responsibility

2,862

3,702

3,955

Scope 2—emissions generated elsewhere that DPS has direct responsibility

20,084

19,610

19,177

Scope 3—indirect emissions that DPS has little control over

3,146

3,191

2,922

Water consumption

Building water consumption (kl)

121,200

152,303

201,557

Landscape water consumption (kl)

120,626

107,594

69,794

Resource efficiency and waste

Total office paper purchased (kg)

Not reported

23,919

23,164

Percentage of office paper purchased with recycled content or carbon neutral certified (%)

Not reported

98%

99%

Office paper recycled (tonnes)

170

138

100

Total waste produced (tonnes)

1,051

980

1,076

Percentage of waste diverted from landfill (%)

64%

62%

66%

Note: 1. The boilers consume diesel when they are switched over from gas during testing of auxiliary power generators. This did not take place during the year due to the Auxiliary Power Upgrade project.

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 2020–21 include the upgrade of all 42 lifts in the building with new mechanical components that will use 30 per cent less energy. Works were completed in February 2021. The replacement of diesel boilers has reduced diesel fuel use.

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 December 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 use 40 per cent less water and 55 per cent less energy. The last phase of the project is currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2021.

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 2020–21 total general waste (excluding construction waste) sent to landfill was 358 tonnes. Measures undertaken to slow the spread of COVID-19 during 2020–21, including fewer events, remote working arrangements and better hygiene practices, have impacted recycling and waste rates.

Table 55: Breakdown of waste streams (recycling and non-recycling) in 2020–21

Waste type

Tonnes

(2020–21)

%

total

Waste sent to landfill (non-recycling)

358

33%

Paper and cardboard

100

9%

Landscape waste

385

36%

Co-mingled recycling

31

3%

Food organics

109

10%

Kitchen grease

48.5

5%

Scrap metal

34

3%

E-waste

5

0%

Clinical waste (including face masks - new waste stream)

.0728

0%

Other recycling (printer cartridges, lamps etc)

5.912

1%

Total

1076

100

Figure 24: Breakdown of main waste types (recycling and non-recycling) in 2020-21 This graph describes the waste produced by type and percentage.

Ozone-depleting substances
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 wastewater). 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 2020–21 there were no significant spills of chemicals, oils or fuels from Parliament House.