Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance
This appendix summarises Austrade’s performance with respect to the requirements of section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Austrade reported energy consumption in its Australian operations as required by the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy. The Energy use in the Australian Government’s operations report 2007–08, released in December 2009, outlines the levels of energy usage and emissions for the Australian Government, at both whole-of-government and individual agency levels.
During 2013–14, Austrade’s energy consumption again decreased, with total electrical energy consumption as a tenant at 775,732 kilowatt hours, a reduction of 282,978 kilowatt hours on the 2009–10 baseline data. Austrade has continued with existing approaches to minimise its environmental impact. Austrade’s investment in green energy for 2013–14 included the purchase of 121,329 kilowatt hours for the computer centres in its Canberra office. Table F1 shows Austrade’s energy consumption for the last five years, and the amount this has decreased from the 2009–10 baseline measurement.
During 2013–14, Austrade invested in new data centre facilities with significantly improved energy efficiency. Servers in the data centre facilities have been designed to achieve the Department of Finance’s server utilisation target of a 70 per cent monthly peak. The power usage effectiveness (PUE) is between 1.4 and 1.3 and is trending downward. This is well within the Department of Finance’s PUE targets to be reached by July 2015 of 1.7 to 2.2, and is less than half the average Australian Government pre-2008 PUE of 3. This equates to a saving of approximately 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Austrade’s global videoconferencing facilities provide significant energy efficiencies through reduced travel for Austrade staff and for staff of other government agencies who are authorised to use the facility. In 2013–14, Austrade performed approximately 37,000 videoconferences with approximately 43,000 hours of calls, from 104 end points.
The printer replacement project, completed in late 2013, provided a reduction in the number of printers in Austrade’s global network from 207 to 142. This has provided superior energy efficiency through lower power consumption and standby mode, and a reduction in printing costs due to improved black and white to colour print ratio.
Austrade provided staff with advice on how they could participate in Earth Hour 2014, both personally and through office activity, and coordinated the participation of Austrade offices across Australia and overseas. Where practicable, six national and 16 international Austrade offices switched off lights, printers and photocopiers for the weekend of 29–30 March 2014.
Austrade continued to develop approaches for minimising its environmental impact and reducing waste, including setting duplex printing and copying as the default option and establishing recycling systems for a range of office supplies, consumables and general waste from workspaces and staff kitchens.
Improved metering on printer usage has also enabled better management of consumables. Building managers throughout the Austrade network continue to work with building owners to identify mechanisms to reduce waste and implement better practice initiatives.
Water consumption is difficult for Austrade to measure on a broad scale as most of its tenancies are not separately metered for water consumption. Austrade’s facility and property managers continue to work with building owners, where possible, to improve water consumption and introduce water-saving measures, such as waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and flow restrictors on taps.
The efficient water cooling in Austrade’s new data centre facilities will contribute to a saving of more than 4,000,000 litres of clean drinking water annually.
Austrade’s head office in Sydney
During 2013, Austrade’s environmental sustainability activities related to carpet care and maintenance in its head office in Sydney saved 5,989 litres of water, 838 megajoules of energy and 0.29 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This equates to a total saving of 55,279 litres of water, 7,737 megajoules of energy and 2.71 tonnes of carbon dioxide for the eight years from 2005 to 2013.
Building management advised Austrade in March 2014 that the National Australian Built Environment Rating System rating for the building had increased from a 4.5 to a 5-star rating.
Principles of ecologically sustainable development
Austrade operates under the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 and administers the Export Market Development Grants scheme pursuant to the Export Market Development Grants Act 1997. While neither Act makes specific reference to ecologically sustainable development or sustainability principles, Austrade continues to adhere to government policy and ministerial directives on sustainability.
Table F2 provides five-year trend information on Austrade’s energy efficiency performance.
kWh = kilowatt hours
(a) Estimate based on calculating kilometres travelled multiplied by fuel consumption rating.
Note: Due to Austrade being a tenant, some of the performance indicators listed on www.environment.gov.au/esd in relation to waste and water are not directly measured, so they have not been included in the table. Austrade works with building managers to ensure environmental initiatives are in place where possible. Austrade recycles waste paper, and encourages the use of recycled paper.