B.9 Ecologically Sustainable Development

The ACT Government is committed to reducing energy and water consumption and improving the thermal comfort of student learning and teaching spaces. The Directorate's strategic priorities for ecologically sustainable development, outlined in the Resource Management Plan, align with the ACT Government's commitments to waste minimisation, water efficiency, transport efficiency, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. The Directorate's priorities are informed by the strategic pathway outlined in AP2: A new climate change strategy and action plan for the Australian Capital Territory and the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework. The Directorate continues to pursue initiatives aimed at delivering the ACT Government's aspirational target for all ACT public schools to be carbon neutral by 2017.

School-based sustainability

Information on operational consumption of resources for 2013-14 and 2014-15 for all public schools is summarised in Table B 9.1.

Table B 9.1: School-based sustainable development performance 2013-14 and 2014-15
Indicator as at 30 June
Agency staff and area
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Occupancy - students and staffb FTE 44,517 45,798 2.88
Area school spacec Area (m2) 594,215 599,620 0.91
Indicator as at 30 June
Stationary energy usage
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Electricity use Kilowatt hours 26,069,569 24,963,621 -4.24
Renewable electricity used Kilowatt hours n/a n/a n/a
Natural gas use Megajoules 120,393,320 132,423,468 9.99
Indicator as at 30 June
Water usage
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Water use Kilolitres 358,694 337,471e -5.92
Indicator as at 30 June
Greenhouse gas emissions
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Emissions from stationary energy use Tonnes CO2-e 35,354 28,513f -19.35
Emissions from transport Tonnes CO2-e n/a n/a n/a
Total emissions Tonnes CO2-e 35,354 28,513 -19.35

Source: Enterprise Sustainability Platform (as at 25 August 2015)/ Strategic Finance Branch
a. The Enterprise Sustainability Platform was used to provide historical data for the previous FY column (2013-14) in this Annual Report. This will account for data different to that originally published in the 2013-14 report, as more complete data is now available.
b. Student figures from February census of students. Preschool students taken as 0.5 FTE. Staff in schools figures based on 2015-16 Budget Paper No. 3. The 2013-14 FTE figure has been restated for comparative purposes to reflect improved FTE data collection.
c. 2014-15 area school space figure is based on a different database to that used in 2013-14. The 2013-14 figure has been restated for comparative purposes.
d. ACT Property Group purchased 7,700 MWh (Mega Watt hours) of GreenPower on behalf of the ACT Government, representing an indicative 5% of the ACT Government's energy consumption for 2014-15.
e. As water billing is provided quarterly, the water data reported in the current FY column (2014-15) is for the 12 months from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015 and represents the best available data at the time of publishing.
f. Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity consumption have been calculated using an emissions factor of 0.802 kilogram (kg) CO2-e / kilowatt hour (kWh) or 0.802 tonne (t) CO2-e / megawatt hour (MWh). This lower emissions factor (Scope 2 plus Scope 3) is specific to the ACT and reflects the contribution of renewable electricity generated under the ACT's 90% Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Energy consumption and GHG Emissions

Electricity consumption totalled 24.9 million kilowatt hours. This is a decrease of 4.24 percent. Gas consumption totalled 132 million megajoules (MJ) and is an increase of 9.99 percent from 2013-14.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the reporting year were 28,513 tonnes of CO2-e. This is a decrease of 19.35 percent from 2013-14.

Factors influencing the increased gas consumption in 2014-15 include:

  • completion of the new Canberra College Cares building during the 2014-15 year;
  • inclusion of Taylor Primary School winter usage in 2014-15; and
  • a milder winter season in 2013-14 compared to 2014-15, based on advice published by the Bureau of Meteorology.

A new Whole of Government contract for natural gas to small-scale sites was implemented in the 2014-15 year. As part of this contract, energy audits were conducted at ten priority sites (Lyons and Southern Cross Early Childhood Schools, Duffy and Turner Primary Schools, Malkara School, Mount Stromlo High School, Amaroo School - junior and preschool facilities, Canberra, Erindale and Gungahlin Colleges and the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning). The audits provided recommendations for energy conservation measures for the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Water consumption

Water consumption across all public schools in 2014-15 totalled 337,471 kilolitres which was a decrease of 5.92 percent.

In addition, during the reporting period, the Directorate entered Memorandums of Understanding with the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate for the supply of non-potable water from the inner north waterway system to supply grounds irrigation at Lyneham Primary School, Lyneham High School and Dickson College. There was no consumption of non-potable water across these schools during 2014-15 as the reticulation system is still to be activated.

Waste Management

To support waste removal and recycling programs at public schools, bin enclosures were completed at three schools during the reporting year (Duffy, Majura and Wanniassa Hills Primary Schools). Bin lifters were also purchased for two schools (Majura and Macgregor Primary Schools) to mitigate workplace health and safety risks relating to the emptying of bins.

Transport

The Ride or Walk to School program is an initiative managed by the Health Directorate which aims to encourage active travel to ACT schools and reduce transport related GHG emissions. Twenty three public schools signed up to the program in the reporting year bringing the total number of participating public schools to 42. To support the uptake of active travel to school, a learn to ride facility was constructed at Franklin Early Childhood School and a bicycle skills track at Charnwood-Dunlop Primary School.

Photovoltaic (Solar Panel) systems

The installation of 70kW roof mounted photovoltaic [(PV), (solar)] systems was completed in 2014-15 at Franklin Early Childhood School and Neville Bonner Primary School with a 30kW system also installed at Canberra College as part of the Canberra College Cares facility project.

The installation of a 100kW system at the new primary school in Coombs was also commenced during the reporting period. Feasibility studies to expand systems were completed at 13 school sites.

Feed-in-Tariff

Public schools receive the maximum tariff rate (45.7 cents/kWh) under the ACT Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme for small-scale systems. The collective size of solar panel installations at public schools approved under this scheme was 1,200kW1. All ACT public schools generated FiT income for the entire reporting year.
1. Audit conducted in the reporting year found that Evatt Primary School has a 10kW system, not 2kW as previously reported

In 2014-15, schools re-invested their FiT income into further environmentally sustainable initiatives such as insulating window film, window coverings, solar powered roof ventilation fans, air locks and external door replacements and shade sails. These further contributed to improving the thermal comfort of schools and reducing their energy use.

A total of 1,813 MWh of solar energy was generated in 2014-15 resulting in approximately $829,000 of income for all ACT public schools. Schools' annual solar production results in 1,454.6 tCO2-e of avoided emissions in the national electricity grid.

Pulse (Smart) meters

All ACT public schools are now equipped with the technology to monitor resource usage through the installation of smart meters. These meters track electricity, gas and water usage and solar energy generation and the results are published on a public website allowing both the schools and the local community to track performance.

The web-based interface is publicly accessible at www.watergroup.com.au/actschools.

The installation and commissioning of pulse meters capturing gas usage was completed at 61 schools in the 2014-15 reporting year, bringing the total number of completed schools to 86.

Four workshops on the smart meter technology were delivered for school-based staff (business managers, teachers and building services officers). Additional workshop sessions are planned for the 2015-16 reporting year.

Carbon Neutral Schools

Stage 1 of the Carbon Neutral Schools project continued to be rolled out by the Directorate in 2014-15. Installation of LED lights were completed at Canberra High School and Arawang and Theodore Primary Schools during the reporting period.

Detailed architectural investigations completed in 2013-14 identified four schools for potential ceiling insulation upgrades. A trial was completed at North Ainslie Primary School in the 2014-15 reporting year.

Carbon Neutral Government Loan Fund

To date, 22 ACT public schools have received a total of $2,423,168 from the Carbon Neutral Government Fund for LED lamp upgrades. During the 2014-15 reporting year, works were completed at 21 schools (Aranda, Gordon, Maribyrnong, Miles Franklin, Ngunnawal, Red Hill, Turner and Wanniassa Hills Primary Schools, Calwell, Campbell, Lanyon, Lyneham and Melrose High Schools, University of Canberra High School Kaleen, Gold Creek School, Melba Copland Secondary School (Copland campus), and Canberra, Dickson, Erindale, Hawker and Narrabundah Colleges). These works completed this phase of the program

Design, documentation and installation of solar hot water systems funded through the Fund were completed during the reporting period at Black Mountain and Cranleigh Schools.

Water refill stations

This initiative is linked to the ACT Government's Towards Zero Growth: Healthy Weight Action Plan. Water refill stations were installed at all remaining ACT public schools in the 2014-15 year, promoting water as the drink of choice following the phasing out of the sale of sugary drinks from all ACT public schools at the end of the 2014 school year. Each student was provided with a re-usable water bottle to encourage tap water as the drink of choice and to reduce plastic waste.

Power Factor Correction

The Directorate installed power factor correction equipment at five ACT public schools (Maribyrnong Primary School, Belconnen High School, Lake Tuggeranong and Narrabundah Colleges and University of Canberra Secondary College Lake Ginninderra) during the 2014-15 year. Repairs were made to existing equipment at three ACT public schools (Erindale College, Wanniassa School senior campus and Melba Copland Secondary School Copland campus). This equipment improves how efficiently a facility uses the electricity it draws from the electricity grid and reduces electricity operating costs.

Environmentally sustainable landscapes

In 2014-15, environmentally sustainable landscapes were completed at Lyneham High School, Telopea Park School, Narrabundah College and Charnwood-Dunlop Primary School (dirt bike skills track planting). These environmentally sustainable landscapes are designed to increase stormwater infiltration, reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, reduce trip hazards, minimise irrigation demands, use drought tolerant plant species and increase biodiversity. This approach to school landscape design is incorporated into all new school designs as well as general landscapes, outdoor learning areas and high school frontage improvement works, as reported in Section C3.

Green Star

The application for 5 Star Green Star - Education Design v1 certification for Namadgi School was progressed during the 2014-15 reporting period. A final outcome on the application is with the Green Building Council of Australia and is expected to be received in the 2015-16 reporting period.

Canberra High School was registered for the Green Star Performance Tool (pilot) in the 2013-14 reporting year. This tool focuses on identifying and implementing best practices in the daily operation and maintenance of a facility to reduce the environmental impact of the asset. The application process was progressed during the reporting period and is expected to be completed in the 2015-16 reporting period.

ACTSmart Schools

The Directorate continues to work in close partnership with ActSmart Schools. ActSmart Schools is a school sustainability program managed by the Environment and Planning Directorate. The aim of the program is for all schools to reduce their environmental impact and embed sustainable management practices into everyday school operations.

As at 30 June 2015, a total of 40 public schools had been awarded ActSmart Schools accreditation for the sustainable management of energy, 46 for sustainable management of water, 37 for sustainable waste management, 18 for biodiversity and schools grounds management, and three for sustainability in curriculum.

Professional development and training was provided to school-based staff, including business managers, building services officers and teachers. Workshops on improving energy efficiency, waste and recycling practices, sustainable school grounds and establishing and maintaining food gardens were delivered in 2014-15. The network for teachers working in school environmental learning centres was also maintained during the reporting year, with quarterly meetings planned.

Other initiatives

As capital works are undertaken at ACT public schools, including new facilities, building upgrades and refurbishments, opportunities are taken to improve the energy efficiency and water conservation of these spaces. This includes solar passive design, natural ventilation and thermal comfort, lighting upgrades, solar tubes and roof insulation. Details of capital works completed in 2014-15 are found in Section C3.

Office-based sustainability

Information on operational consumption of resources for the two main central office sites (Braddon and Stirling) is provided in Table B 9.2. Costs for the smaller Lyons and Maribyrnong sites are met by the schools, therefore these sites are not reported in Table B 9.2.

Energy consumption and GHG Emissions

During the reporting year, electricity consumption at the two central office sites decreased by 8.81 percent and gas consumption decreased by 12.13 percent. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary energy were 984 tonnes of CO2-e. This is a decrease of 28.22 percent from 2013-14.

Installation of a 176kW solar panel system at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning in Stirling commenced in 2013-14 and was completed in the 2014-15 reporting year. Technical feasibility studies indicate that this system will provide 27 percent of the site's annual energy requirement.

Water onsumption

Water consumption totalled 1,379 kilolitres which is a decrease of 32.2 percent from the 2013-14 reporting period.

Waste Management

The Directorate's Braddon and Stirling sites are accredited recyclers under the ACT SmartOffice recycling program. Commitment to the program has increased the levels of recycling and increased the accuracy of measuring waste to landfill, paper recycling, co-mingled and organic waste.

Transport

A Nissan Leaf electric vehicle was added to the Directorate's fleet. This initiative contributes to the ACT Government's commitment in 2013 to introduce ten electric vehicles across the ACT Government fleet. Investigations into MyWay cards and bikes have taken place and will meet the ACT Government's commitment to reducing vehicle usage.

Resource Management Plan

Work to update the Directorate's Resource Management Plan was progressed during the reporting period and will be completed early in the 2015-16 period.

Table B 9.2: Office-based sustainable development performance 2013-14 and 2014-15
Indicator as at 30 June
Agency staff and area
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Agency staffb FTE 490 469 -4.29
Workplace floor area Area (m2) 7,226 7,226 nil
Indicator as at 30 June
Stationary energy usage
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Electricity use Kilowatt hours 1,101,809 1,004,731 -8.81
Renewable electricity usec Kilowatt hours n/a n/a n/a
Natural gas use Megajoules 3,161,454 2,778,046 -12.13
Indicator as at 30 June
Transport fuel usage
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Total number of vehicles Number 18 18 nil
Total kilometres travelled Kilometres 202,160 178,853 -11.53
Fuel use - Petrol Kilolitres 2.17 1.4 -35.48
Fuel use - Diesel Kilolitres 12.6 10.41 -17.38
Fuel use - Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Kilolitres 0 n/a n/a
Fuel use - Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Kilolitres 0 n/a n/a
Indicator as at 30 June
Water usage
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Water use Kilolitres 2,034 1,379d -32.2
Indicator as at 30 June
Resource efficiency and waste
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Reams of paper purchased Reams 7,725 8,534 10.47
Recycled content of paper purchased Percentage 100 100 nil
Waste to landfill Litres 216,000 156,000 -27.78
Co-mingled material recycled Litres 56,520 59,580 5.41
Paper & Cardboard recycled (incl. secure paper) Litres 198,640 208,320 4.87
Organic material recycled Litres 1,548 1,653 6.78
Indicator as at 30 June
Greenhouse gas emissions
Unit 2013-14a 2014-15 Percentage change
Emissions from stationary energy use Tonnes CO2-e 1,371 984e -28.22
Emissions from transport Tonnes CO2-e 42.00 33.88 -19.33
Total emissions Tonnes CO2-e 1,413 1,018 -27.95

Source: Enterprise Sustainability Platform (as of 24 August 2015)/Strategic Finance Branch, Education and Training Directorate.
a. The Enterprise Sustainability Platform was used to provide historical data for the previous FY column (2013-14) in this Annual Report. This will account for data different to that originally published in the 2013-14 report, as more complete data is now available.
b. Staff figure based on 2015-16 Budget Paper No. 3. The 2013-14 FTE figure has been restated for comparative purposes to reflect improved FTE data collection.
c. ACT Property Group purchased 7,700 MWh (Mega Watt hours) of GreenPower on behalf of the ACT Government, representing an indicative 5% of the ACT Government's energy consumption for 2014-15.
d. As water billing is provided quarterly, the water data reported in the current FY column (2014-15) if for the 12 months from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015 and represents the best available data at the time of publishing.
e. Greenhouse gas emissions for electricity consumption have been calculated using an emissions factor of 0.802 kilogram (kg) CO2-e / kilowatt hour (kWh) or 0.802 tonne (t) CO2-e / megawatt hour (MWh). This lower emissions factor (Scope 2 plus Scope 3) is specific to the ACT and reflects the contribution of renewable electricity generated under the ACT's 90% Renewable Energy Target (RET).

For further information contact
Director
Infrastructure and Capital Works
(02) 6205 3173