Environmental performance

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Departmental activities

This section describes the environmental performance of the department, in accordance with government policy. Environmental impacts are managed by engineering and administrative controls. The department uses a range of signage, intranet messages and induction content
to support employees to mitigate environmental impacts.

Table 4 summarises the department’s environmental performance in 2015–16 against the previous year.The 2015–16 readings for office energy use per square metre and potable water consumption are lower as a result of a temporary increase in square metres occupied. The increase occurred because the department concurrently occupied both new (One Canberra Avenue) and old office tenancies while consolidating its accommodation.

Office energy use

The department reduces its consumption of office energy wherever possible, including using automated light switching and the power management features of ICT equipment. In the department’s primary tenancy, One Canberra Avenue, Finance uses 10 per cent Greenpower, which is sourced through a cooperative government arrangement. (This arrangement was also in place at several tenancies in Canberra that were vacated during 2015–16, including the John Gorton Building, the Treasury Building and Hume.) Finance expects to realise more energy savings from the new building than it did under the previous accommodation arrangements.


Finance employees are authorised to travel only when there is a demonstrated business need and when alternative communication tools, such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, are an ineffective option. The co-location of the majority of Finance staff at One Canberra Avenue should also reduce the need for inter-office travel.

The Finance vehicle fleet is made up of departmental pool vehicles and executive vehicles. A subscription to Greenfleet offsets the associated vehicle emissions.

Resource efficiency and waste

Finance provides a number of recycling streams (including co-mingled, cardboard and paper recycling) in all of its tenancies.

The Finance printing system is designed to purge print jobs that are not completed within a set timeframe. Print jobs totalling 531,463 pages of paper were automatically purged in 2015–16. The printer fleet’s default settings automatically print in grayscale on both sides of the page
and all spent printer cartridges are recycled.

Depending on site requirements, Finance uses a mix of different types of flow restriction and water-efficient dual-flush toilets to minimise water use across its tenancies.

Non-defence domestic property portfolio

Finance manages a diverse portfolio of some 170 non-defence Commonwealth-owned properties across Australia, including office buildings, law courts and other special purpose facilities, heritage assets, vacant land and contaminated sites. Finance manages this portfolio in accordance with the legislative framework for environment and heritage matters, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The portfolio is managed in accordance with the principles of environmentally sustainable development, and Finance considers potential environmental and heritage impacts when making decisions about each property, including maintenance, retention and divestment.

To improve the environmental performance of the portfolio and in accordance with relevant asset management plans, Finance targets energy efficiency works in the buildings it manages. Finance carries out works to improve environmental performance, including upgrades to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, building management systems, and lighting controls in various buildings.

Table 4: Environmental performance summary, 2014–15 and 2015–16

Indicator 2014-15 2015-16
Office energy use
Total office tenant light and power energy consumption (kWh) 2,161,094 1,870,210
Total office tenant light and power energy consumption (MJ) 7,779,938 6,732,756
Office tenant light and power energy use per full-time equivalent (MJ/FTE) 5,011 4,391
Office tenant light and power use per square metre (MJ/m2) 380 244
Base/central building energy consumption (MJ) 51,510,760 46,045,104
Base/central building energy consumption per square metre (MJ/m2) 504 450
Greenhouse emissions attributed to office tenant light and power and base/central building energy use (tonnes CO2-e) 10,675 9,787
Green power purchased (kWh) 924,558 877,347
Non-office energy use
Greenhouse emissions attributed to non-office energy use (computer centres, other properties and uses) (tonnes CO2-e) 2,536 1,832
Vehicle fleeta,b
Total number of fleet vehicles 41 31
Total fuel purchased (litres) 46,559 34,907
Total distance travelled (kilometres)c 441,980 327,938
Average fuel consumption of fleet vehicles (litres/100 kilometres)c 11 11
Total direct greenhouse emissions of fleet (tonnes CO2-e) 109 82
Greenhouse emissions
Total greenhouse emissions (tonnes CO2-e) 13,320 11,702
Total greenhouse emissions per full-time equivalent (tonnes CO2-e/FTE) 8.5 7.6
Air travelb
Total number of flights 7,006 4,986
Total distance of flights (kilometres) 6,565,470 4,850,176
Portable water consumptiond
Total potable water use (kilolitres) 13,299 16,377
Potable water use per full-time equivalent (kilolitres/FTE) 8.566 10.682
Potable water use per square metre (kilolitres/m2) 0.649 0.593
Resource efficiency and waste
Total office paper purchased by full-time equivalent (A4 reams/FTE) 9.8 8.5
Percentage of office paper purchased with recycled content 94.5% 86.1%
Office paper recycled (tonnes) 87.3 99.8
Total waste produced (tonnes) 242.1 254.6
Total waste produced per full-time equivalent (kilograms/FTE) 155.9 166
Percentage of waste diverted from landfill 51% 50.9%

kWh = kilowatt hour; MJ = megajoule; CO2-e = carbon dioxide equivalent.
a Finance vehicle fleet only (excludes the COMCAR fleet).
b The fleet and air travel data are for the period 1 April to 31 March in each year.
c The kilometre data includes estimates for vehicles where the data was considered unreliable. Vehicles with reliable kilometre data were utilised to develop figures for departmental average litres per 100 kilometres, and this average was used for each reporting period to estimate kilometres travelled for vehicles with unreliable data. This approach was used to adjust the 2014–15 kilometre data from the 2014–15 annual report (reported as 414,796 kilometres when the average fuel use was not utilised to include vehicles with unreliable kilometre data).
d The water consumption reported only applies to Finance-occupied office buildings. Tenancy-specific water metering is not available in shared buildings, resulting in the use of estimates based on pro rata calculations. Two office tenancies containing approximately 18 per cent of Finance’s full-time equivalents could not provide water consumption details. The water data is adjusted on a pro rata basis to account for the unavailable information.

Cross-government activities

Finance contributes to the environmental outcomes of a number of additional areas in line with government policy and relevant legislation. These activities include managing the COMCAR vehicle fleet and providing electorate office accommodation for parliamentarians. These activities are in addition to those listed in Table 4.


In 2015–16, COMCAR continued to deliver on its strategy of ensuring an environmentally responsible fleet of vehicles. As at 30 June 2016, COMCAR had 146 LPG and two petrolpowered sedans in its fleet of 159 vehicles. The LPG vehicles burn fuel more efficiently, improving fuel consumption and contributing to reductions in CO2 output of up to 15 per cent per vehicle. All COMCAR petrol-powered vehicles use E10 fuel, where available.

More than 60 per cent of the COMCAR fleet is regularly washed using harvested rainwater, which helps to minimise potable water use.


Last updated: 24 October 2016