Under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), government organisations must report annually on their ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and environmental performance. Comcare is committed to advancing the principles of ESD and practicing these principles in its everyday activities and long-term projects.
We recognise that day to day activities consume resources and create waste. This year we have continued several activities to reduce our environmental impact with a focus on information and communication technology (ICT) and building operations as the major consumers of energy and other resources.
In February 2017, Comcare achieved a 5 star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy Tenancy rating for levels 3 to 5, 121 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra in the ACT.
NABERS is a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes. NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.
Comcare continues to undertake activities to reduce our environmental impact including:
- using electronic workflows aimed to reduce the use of paper and the need to retain paper copies
- using the energy saving features of the Windows Operating System
- using server virtualisation to reduce both power consumption and computer hardware requirements
- using the power saving features of computer monitors and televisions
- participating in whole-of-government purchasing arrangements for electricity
- installing sensor lighting systems in all office fit outs
- participating in and promoting Earth Hour 2017
- providing end of trip facilities to encourage employees to cycle to work
- purchasing 50 per cent recycled A4 paper, 100 per cent recycling of paper waste and recycling of other stationery items.
Technology equipment upgrade
In 2016–17 Comcare increased the number of video conferencing units in its offices. Comcare encourages staff to use the video conferencing equipment to reduce domestic travel. The video conferencing units have been configured to be in sleep mode to save energy when not in use.
Comcare also rationalised its suite of MFDs (multi-function devices) reducing the number of MFDs in our offices which will help to reduce energy and paper consumption.
The MFDs have default duplex, black and white printing and standby times when not in use.
Waste and recycling
Comcare continues to participate in the ACT Government ACTSmart Office Recycling Program in its Canberra office. The Canberra office at 121 Marcus Clarke Street renewed its accreditation in February 2017 and currently sends 85 per cent of its waste to a recycling centre. Comcare provides recycling streams (including co-mingled, cardboard and paper recycling) in all of offices have waste and recycling systems in place.
Comcare recycles 100 per cent of toner cartridges and florescent light tubes and maintains a battery recycling facility in the Canberra office.
Externally, Comcare provides the ability to download publications from its website. This allows documents to be sent and stored electronically, reducing the impact of printing and distribution of hard copy material.
Performance in focus—results
Power consumption per person remained steady in 2016–17. Table 33 shows Comcare’s power consumption over the past four financial years.
Comcare measures paper consumption by purchases made during the financial year. In 2016–17, Comcare’s paper consumption decreased by 20 per cent from the previous year. Overall, Comcare’s paper consumption is trending down in accordance with our commitment to reduce our environmental impact.
Comcare only leases vehicles with 10.5 GVG rating in accordance with the Green Vehicle Guide
Table 33: Comcare’s environmental performance 2016–17
|Average power consumption per full-time equivalent employee (Mega joules/person/annum)||6526||5963||5636||5671|
|Paper consumption11 (reams of paper)||11,580||6538||8324||6577|
11 Amount purchased during the financial year