People often ask, “so, what environmental and energy initiatives do you do practice in your company?”. Do we walk the talk?
It is important that we do strive to minimise our environmental impact;
- for the direct environmental benefits,
- to remain well informed about the practicalities of energy efficiency and sustainability equipment and initiatives, and so be able better inform our clients.
- to assist us to innovate and fine-tune sustainability initiatives, improving performance and reducing costs.
Within our own organisation we:
- evaluate the life cycle environmental impact and operating costs of significant equipment purchases; this approach favours more efficient equipment even if the capital cost is not the lowest.
- encourage efficient transport to work (the usual method of getting to work for our staff is:
- public transport
- working from home (except for weekly team meetings and client visits).
- encourage efficient transport while at work (travel to and from the city is almost exclusively by train).
- evaluate travel by public transport for all projects (e.g. trips to and from Warrnambool, Mooroopna and Geelong for projects were by train).
- for travel which requires car travel (remote locations, heavy monitoring equipment, areas poorly served by public transport) we use the company car which is a Hyundai i30 turbo-diesel fitted with low rolling resistance tyres, which regularly returns an average fuel economy of less than 5 litres / 100 km.
- purchase electricity which is sourced entirely from hydro,
- recycle all materials which are accepted by the City of Stonnington (both kerbside and depot), including glass, paper, steel and aluminium, oil, batteries, and lamps
- reduce paper use (e.g. we have an automatic duplexing printer, we use both sides of paper including junk mail, we review documents on screen, and deliver most reports to customers via email)
- have paid for energy efficiency improvements in the office building (even though we rent the building) including ceiling, wall and floor insulation. See below.
In June 2012 we moved to 271 Burke Road, Glen Iris. This location was selected (in consultation with staff) mainly because of the range of sustainable transport options available. The new location is:
- 60 m from Gardiner railway station, which provides regular services to the city (18 minute transit time),
- near a tram stop (route 72),
- 250 m from the Gardiners Creek bike path which connects to the city and the main Yarra trail.
- is close to the geographic centre of greater Melbourne.
Environmental initiatives implemented so far include:
- reusing a 70 year old building,
- installing sensor controlled, high efficiency T5 fluorescent and LED lighting,
- ceiling insulation (two layers of polyester batts, with total R value of 4.5),
- insulating the double brick wall cavities, using pumped-in ‘eco-Foam’,
- insulating under the timber floor, using polyester batts,
- installing a 5 kW solar photovoltaic system,
- provision of under-cover bike parking, shower and locker facilities.
- re-‘gassing’ all air-conditioners with natural refrigerants which have a much lower global warming potential than man made refrigerants, and which reduce electricity consumption.
- installed high efficiency DC ceiling fans, to distribute warm air, reduce heating requirements (and improve comfort),
- painting walls white, to make the best use of daylight, improving the quality of the working environment and reducing electricity use (no electric lighting is required in any part of the building during the day).
- replacing all windows with double-glazing incorporating low-E coating, argon gas, and thermally broken framing.
- established a teleconferencing facility to reduce travel requirements.
We also intend to implement the following sustainability initiatives:
- installing a rainwater harvesting and stormwater peak detention system,
- improving water heating (currently gas storage — considering solar pre-heating, instantaneous gas or electric heat pump, and drain heat recovery).