C21 Ecologically sustainable development

Sustainable schools initiative

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) is a partnership between the Australian Government and States and Territories to help schools achieve a sustainable future. In the ACT, AuSSI is managed by the ACT Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water (DECCEW) and is supported by the Department and non-government schools. AuSSI is being implemented in 112 of the 127 ACT schools with 79 out of 83 public and 36 out of 44 non-government schools participating in the program.

A partnership has been developed between DECCEW and the Department to conduct water audits and provide water efficiency reports to all ACT public schools. Each school is provided with a report recommending water saving initiatives based on the findings.

The Department also works closely with AuSSI ACT to ensure that energy efficiency measures are implemented and encouraged in schools. Both parties are working together to create a sustainability handbook, to allow schools to identify opportunities to implement sustainable practices in their local environment.

Water consumption

Water restrictions in the ACT continued through 2009-10 and also applied to ACT public schools. Public schools worked in collaboration with the Department to achieve a reduction in water consumption during the reporting period. Water consumption data is reported in arrears. Data from 2006-07 to 2008-09 is the latest data available for reporting in this report. There was a significant decline in water consumption in public schools from 2006-07 to 2007-08 with consumption in 2008-09 reducing marginally.

Figure C21.1: Water consumption in public schools, 2006-07 to 2008-09

Water consumption in public schools, 2006-07 to 2008-09

Source: Schools Capital Works Branch, ACT Department of Education and Training

Water efficiency measures

Over the reporting period, a number of measures were taken to reduce water consumption within school buildings and on school grounds. Measures to improve water efficiency included: installation of rain water tanks that are plumbed into toilets; upgrades to water efficient fixtures and fittings; inclusion of water sensitive design principles; upgrades to toilets and bathrooms using water efficient appliances; and quick rectification of water leaks.

In 2009-10, water audits were undertaken at 15 public schools as part of AuSSI. Audit reports were sent to individual schools for water saving awareness and measures. The Department implemented the recommendations in the audit reports jointly with schools. The recommendations implemented in schools included: upgrading to efficient toilet and urinal systems, reduced flow and auto shut off taps, replacing taps beyond repair, and upgrading irrigation system controls and components. These recommendations were implemented into existing refurbishment and upgrade projects and targeted school specific needs.

The Department is currently investigating the installation of digital water meters at all schools so that data can be read remotely and integrated with a web-based software program. This will allow a greater ability to monitor water consumption in schools and identify water leaks using the water consumption data recorded out of hours.

Energy consumption

In consultation with DECCEW, the Department has been able to record and report more accurate information on energy consumption. The Department engaged an independent consultant to analyse energy consumption for this report. The results for previous years were also revised to reflect the change in data collection and recording. Like water consumption data, energy consumption data is reported in arrears. Data on energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2006-07 to 2008-09 are the latest data available.

From 2007-08 to 2008-09, there was a decrease of 1.8 percent (1,923 gigajoules) in total electricity consumption across ACT public schools. Green power has been purchased by the Department through the whole of government electricity supply contract, and comprised 23 percent of total electricity consumed. Green electricity consumption increased by 5.8 percent (1,386 gigajoules) from 2007-08 to 2008-09.

In 2008-09, gas consumption increased slightly by 0.5 percent (470 gigajoules), relative to 2007-08 levels. This can be attributed to a longer heating period, because August 2008 was considerably colder than August 2007.

Consumption of black electricity and gas contributes to the carbon footprint for public schools (Table C21.1). Total CO2 emissions decreased by three percent (944 tonnes) from 2007-08 to 2008-09. Total CO2 emissions per student (based on 38,280 students according to the February 2009 school census) in 2008-09 were 809 kilograms, compared with 835 kilograms in 2007-08 (based on 38,230 students as per the February 2008 census), thus decreasing by three percent from 2007-08 to 2008-09.

Table C21.1: Energy consumption and CO2 emissions in public schools, 2006-07 to 2008-09

 

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

 

Consumption (gigajoules)

CO2 emissions

Consumption (gigajoules)

CO2 emissions

Consumption (gigajoules)

CO2 emissions

Electricity (black)

80,429

23,682

85,862

25,282

82,553

24,307

Electricity (green)

31,442

0

23,741

0

25,127

0

Total electricity

111,871

23,682

109,603

25,282

107,680

24,307

Gas

112,853

7,448

100,523

6,635

100,993

6,666

Total

224,724

31,130

210,126

31,917

208,673

30,973

Source: Schools Capital Works Branch, ACT Department of Education and Training

Figure C21.2: Energy consumption and CO2 emissions in public schools, 2006-07 to 2008-09

consumption and CO2 emissions in public schools, 2006-07 to 2008-09

Source: Schools Capital Works Branch, ACT Department of Education and Training

Energy efficiency measures

The ACT Climate Change Strategy 2007-2025 requires schools to be carbon neutral by 2017, which presents significant challenges and opportunities. To accurately measure progress towards this goal, the Department started a program to undertake energy audits on all public schools, to assess priority areas to reduce energy consumption. These audits started in October 2009 and are due to be completed by December 2010.

Environmentally sustainable design (ESD) guidelines have been implemented to assist schools with the management of energy in their buildings. All new schools and significant capital works projects have been designed to incorporate sustainable principles. All of the Building the Education Revolution projects have been reviewed by an ESD consultant to incorporate best practice principles into their designs. The designs for Gungahlin College, P-10 school in Kambah and Harrison Secondary School all aim to achieve a 5 Green Star design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

The Department commenced the Solar Schools program in August 2009. The program aims to install photovoltaic (solar power) systems at all public schools over the next four years with the first system installed in June 2010. This program will help reduce CO2 emissions significantly, guarantee an ongoing source of income and provide schools with educational opportunities to learn about their energy production and consumption.

Office-based sustainability

The information on a range of sustainability indicators for 2009-10 from four central office sites (Braddon, Stirling, Fyshwick and Higgins) is given in Table C21.2. It does not include non-office (school) data.

The information in the table has been calculated using data provided by ActewAGL, ACT Department of Land and Property Services, SITA Environmental Solutions, sgfleet, Rhodium Asset Solutions, Recall, Thiess Services, Cleanaway and Corporate Express. The details for ‘Office greenhouse gas emissions’ and ‘Transport greenhouse gas emissions’ have been calculated with the assistance of the DECCEW.

Table C21.2: Information on office-based sustainability indicators as at 30 June 2010

 

Indicator as at 30 June

Unit

2009-101

 

General

A

Occupancy – office staff full-time equivalent (FTE)

Numeric (FTE)

354.4

 

Occupancy – total staff FTE (including non-office)

Numeric (FTE)

4652.8

B

Area office space – net lettable area

Square metres (m2)

7,206

 

Area non-office space – net lettable office area

Square metres (m2)

 

 

Stationary energy use

 

Electricity use (total)2

Kilowatt hours

 

X

Electricity use (office)

Kilowatt hours

1,472,507

Y

Renewable energy use (green power)

Kilowatt hours

211,995

 

Percentage of renewable energy used (Y/X x 100)

Percentage

14.4

 

Gas use (total)2

Megajoules

 

 

Gas use (office)

Megajoules

3,442,342

C

Total office energy use3

Megajoules

8,743,367

 

Intensities (office)

 

Energy intensity per office FTE (C/A)

Megajoules/FTE

24,671

 

Energy intensity per square metre (C/B)

Megajoules/m2

1,213

 

Transport energy

Office

Other4

D

Total number of vehicles2

Numeric

33

 

 

Transport fuel (petrol)

Kilolitres

27

 

 

Transport fuel (diesel)

Kilolitres

2

 

 

Transport fuel (liquefied petroleum gas)

Kilolitres

0

 

 

Transport fuel (compressed natural gas)

Kilolitres

0

 

 

Transport fuel (aviation)

Kilolitres

0

 

E

Total transport energy use

Gigajoules

970

 

 

Water consumption

 

Water use (total)2

Kilolitres

 

F

Water use (office)

Kilolitres

114,302

 

Intensities (office)

 

Water use per office FTE (F/A)

Kilolitres/FTE

323

 

Water use per square metre floor area (F/B)

Kilolitres/m2

16

 

Waste

 

Reams of paper purchased

Reams

11,114

 

Recycled content of paper purchased

Percentage

98%

 

Estimate of general waste (based on bins collected)

Litres

400,500

 

Estimate of comingled material recycled (based on bins collected)

Litres

5,000

 

Estimate of waste paper recycled (based on bins collected)

Litres

177,480

 

Estimate of secure paper recycled (based on bins collected)

Litres

79,200

 

Office greenhouse gas emissions5

 

Direct greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1)

Tonnes CO2-e

176.6

 

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 2)

Tonnes CO2-e

1,156.4

 

Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3)

Tonnes CO2-e

209.9

G

Total office greenhouse gas emissions (all scopes)

Tonnes CO2-e

1,542.9

 

Transport greenhouse gas emissions5

 

Direct greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1)

Tonnes CO2-e

76.1

 

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 2)

Tonnes CO2-e

n/a

 

Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3)

Tonnes CO2-e

5.8

H

Total transport greenhouse gas emissions (all scopes)

Tonnes CO2-e

81.9

 

Greenhouse gas intensities

 

Office greenhouse gas emissions per person (G/A)

Tonnes CO2-e/FTE

4.4

 

Office emissions per square metre (G/B)

Tonnes CO2-e/m2

0.21

 

Transport greenhouse gas emissions per person (H/A)

Tonnes CO2-e/FTE

0.23

Source: Corporate Support Section, ACT Department of Education and Training
Notes:

  1. Improvements in 2009-10 to sustainability measurement, monitoring and reporting techniques do not allow for comparable 2008-09 results.
  2. The complexity of ‘total’ Department sites includes 83 schools and co-mingled office spaces (at Lyons and Maribyrnong primary schools). The Department is developing improved systems for future reporting of ‘total’ usage and/or consumption measures.
  3. Where total energy use was required as a measure of overall office energy consumption, the electricity use (in kilowatts was converted to megajoules) and added to gas use for 2009-10.
  4. Reference to sites ‘other’ than office, does not include schools. In the Department’s context ‘other’ is interpreted as off-site office locations and/or units. For 2009-10, other sites have not been identified.
  5. Calculated from the information entered into Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting.

n/a not applicable.

For more information contact
Director
Schools Capital Works Branch
Telephone: (02) 6205 3173

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