Carbon Neutral Government newsletter

Did you know the ACT Government has committed to achieve net zero greenhouse emissions in its own operations by 2020 to help tackle climate change? This is one of the most ambitious plans of any state or territory in Australia. The ACT leads by example!

Every year directorates set a target for energy usage and report each quarter on progress. A revolving fund helps get projects off the ground such as LED lighting upgrades and converting gas equipment to electric.



        Canberra’s electrifying new buses

        Blue bus on a road

        Transport Canberra is in the process of conducting a trial involving one hybrid (electric/diesel) and two electric buses on regular routes across its bus network during 2018. The ACT Government is committed to investigating new bus technologies with the aim of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving public transport in Canberra.

        E-bike fleet travels 4,500 kilometres

        Two people preparing to ride e-bikes

        The ACT Government is undertaking a trial of e-bikes for staff work travel to encourage active travel, support the Healthy Weight Initiative, and reduce transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

        The e-bikes are available for use by staff of Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, Transport Canberra and City Services, Education Directorate, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate and Health Directorate, at locations including Dickson, Civic and Woden. Over 200 people have been inducted in the use of the e-bikes, and the fleet has now travelled more than 4,500 kilometres.

        Our e-bike fleet is also expanding to the off-road variety. ACT Parks and Conservation Service recently acquired their own set of bright red mountain e-bikes to allow the team to travel around Canberra’s parks and reserves.

        Find out more about how to access your directorate’s e-bike fleet and book an induction by visiting your team intranet.

        Coffee cup challenge

        Person drinking coffee from a reusable cup

        In the ACT, some takeaway coffee cups can be recycled. However to avoid unnecessary waste, the best thing you can do is to bring your own cup!

        Last year ACT NoWaste asked employees to take the coffee cup challenge to reduce use of disposable cups. Over 500 cups were distributed to staff who took the challenge and completed a survey on their café habits.

        Key findings from the survey indicated that the Transport Canberra City Services team generally consume 5 takeaway coffees a week, most of which was consumed at desks. Respondents indicated that they were motivated to bring their own cup if they received a discount from their café, kept a reuseable cup on hand, or had been offered a free keep cup and been reminded by a colleague to use it.

        Nara Centre sustainable upgrades

        Staff membersin front of a sign at the Nara CentreThe Nara Building Management Committee has been working to deliver a series of sustainable upgrades. The group has improved energy efficiency by installing LED lighting and sensor lighting, fine-tuning the energy used for heating and cooling, and using solar for hot water system to reduce gas heating. Over the last five years (from 2013 to 2017), the upgrades have contributed to a 31% reduction in energy use, which equates to approximately 184 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

        Savings head north

        Canberra Museum and Gallery buildingA $650,000 loan under the Carbon Neutral Government Fund has enabled a major upgrade to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at North Building (which houses the Canberra Museum and Gallery in Civic) from a gas-fired system to an electric system. This will reduce ACT greenhouse gas emissions by 263 tonnes and reduce costs.

        North Ainslie Primary double glazing upgrades

        Primary school building with glass wall with a few students sitting on the grass outside and walking byA recent glazing upgrade of a North Ainslie Primary School open plan classroom demonstrates that with good foundations, significant gains in both comfort and energy efficiency can be achieved. The project saw double glazing replace a north facing wall in a large collaborative teaching space. When compared to 2016, the upgrade has contributed to a 4% reduction in energy over the July to December 2017 period.

        Rolling bike facilities for ACT schools

        Bike racks at a schoolThe Education Directorate is committed to investing in the upgrade and construction of new bicycle facilities to encourage staff and students to use active transport to and from school. A recent upgrade at Hughes Primary School demonstrated ‘if you build it, they will come’ with 100 students using the new facility on opening day.

        New additions to fleet

        Red carTransport Canberra and City Services added an electric vehicle, four plug-in electric hybrid and six hybrid vehicles to their fleet in 2017. Other sustainable additions across government include five new hybrid vehicles for the Education Directorate and two hybrids for Justice and Community Safety Directorate.

        Expansion of landfill gas recovery system

        Container being lifted by crane at a landfill siteDid you know gas from our rubbish can be converted to energy? Last year, work commenced to expand the landfill gas recovery system at the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre. Following completion, Mugga Lane and West Belconnen Resource Management Centres will generate enough green electricity per year to power the equivalent of 3,800 homes.