ACT Government Operations
Loan facility for energy efficiency projects in Government facilities: The 2012-2013 ACT Budget provided $5 million to establish the Carbon Neutral Government Fund - a loan facility accessible to ACT Government agencies to implement energy saving and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. This new Fund absorbs the Resource Management Fund (an existing loan facility of $1.9 million).
The ACT Government is committed to achieving carbon neutrality1 in its own operations by 2020, demonstrating leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the achievement of the Territory’s legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets.
In August 2012, the Government endorsed the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework. The purpose of the Framework is to enable and coordinate a whole-of-government approach to achieving carbon neutrality in a cost-effective manner by 2020. By implementing the Framework and reducing its carbon footprint, the ACT Government can build its resilience to rising energy prices and the impacts of climate change.
Achieving carbon neutrality is the collective responsibility of all ACT Government Directorates. Three steps are identified to deliver on the target of carbon neutrality:
Step 1. Measure, monitor and report emissions:
- Define the boundary (operations and services) and scope (type) of emission to include in the carbon footprint.
- Employ a comprehensive data management and reporting system.
- Use carbon budgets to promote accountability.
Step 2. Minimise the carbon footprint by implementing mitigation measures:
- Improve environmental performance.
- Reduce emissions, in particular from use of electricity and gas, in key areas including:
- data centres;
- education; and
- street lighting.
- Use sustainable transport.
- Manage waste sustainably.
- Promote sustainable procurement.
- Promote and encourage sustainable work practises.
Step 3. Source credible emission reductions to offset residual emissions.
Implementing mitigation measures
Implementing greenhouse gas reduction measures will focus on avoiding and reducing emissions from Government in the first instance, as well as switching to lower emission energy sources. There are significant opportunities to mitigate rising energy costs, through investments in energy efficiency and improved energy management.
The major source of ACT Government greenhouse gas emissions is the use of energy in Government buildings. The Government occupies a diverse range of facilities and offers a wide range of services to the public. Using energy more wisely will include some low cost actions that avoid unnecessary energy use (such as adjusting settings to turn off equipment when it is not required). For energy efficiency projects that require upfront funding, ACT Government agencies can seek loan funding from the Carbon Neutral Government Fund.
Mitigation measures and offsets hierarchy:
The Government is establishing a Sustainability Data Management System (SDMS) to provide accurate, whole-of-Government data on energy and water use. This will form a basis for future reporting and support facility managers across the Government to more actively monitor and manage energy usage and identify opportunities to implement energy saving measures. The SDMS will underpin the completion of an ACT Government greenhouse gas inventory.
Under the ACTSmart Energy and Water Program, an Assessor is available to conduct onsite assessments of facilities and provide advice on energy and water savings opportunities.
Resource Management Plans
All Directorates are required to develop Resource Management Plans to identify cost saving opportunities, help in monitoring energy and water use, monitor and manage waste production and reduce overall environmental impacts.
Implementation of the Framework
The Government will commence implementation of the ACT Government Carbon Neutral Framework in September 2012. The Framework will be available publicly in 2013 in conjunction with the release of the Government’s own greenhouse gas inventory.
Carbon offsets in 2020
Through Weathering the Change: Action Plan 2, the Government has developed the ACT Carbon Offsets Policy which will guide how carbon offsets can be used to meet ACT emissions reduction targets. Carbon offsets will be used by Government as a last resort, following the implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.
Further information can be obtained from the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1The ACT Government aims to become carbon neutral on a ‘net’ basis. This means that while some residual emissions may be produced each year, they will be fully balanced by the purchase of carbon offsets, which are projects that reduce emissions.
Carbon neutrality = zero GHG emissions = GHG emissions - GHG offsets