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Sustainability: Taking care of our environment

Taking care of our environment

The Museum is committed to the conservation of natural resources through ongoing improvements to its energy management program and the implementation of a number of other initiatives aimed at minimising environmental impact from its operations.

The Museum’s Environmental Management System (EMS) incorporates guidelines for all Museum activities to reduce its impact on the environment. It also promotes the management of energy, waste and water on all Museum sites. The EMS complies with ISO14001:1996 ‘Environmental management systems – specification with guidance for use’ and can be accessed on the Museum’s intranet.

The Environmental Management Policy highlights the Museum’s commitment to operate within the principles of ecologically sustainable development wherever possible. The Museum’s activities have the potential to affect the environment through consumption of energy, waste production, and the impact on local waterways, flora and fauna. A number of ongoing strategies have been put in place to reduce the Museum’s environmental impact.

These include:

  • reducing energy consumption in high consumption areas, such as the building’s thermal plant and environmental systems
  • increasing waste recycling and actively tracking recycling and landfill quantities
  • decreasing water use via water management and metering systems
  • using more environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals, including water-based cleaning products.

Monitoring and reviewing performance are integral to the Museum’s EMS. Ongoing reviews are carried out on targets and objectives to ensure the Museum’s operations continue to meet changing government requirements.

Environmental initiatives

During the year the Museum implemented the following measures to minimise the environmental impact of its operations.

Reduction of energy consumption

The Museum continues to purchase 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and, in addition, has worked to reduce overall energy consumption through:

  • a continuing program of energy management works, including improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and the mechanical operating plant
  • provision of improved control strategies for thermal heating and cooling systems and operation of the HVAC plant
  • installation of oxygen/CO2 control systems for boilers to reduce gas consumption to maximise efficiency
  • continued assessment and replacement of existing light fittings with energy efficient LED lighting.

The Museum’s recently completed administration and cafe extensions were built using energy efficient materials and finishes. The administration extension was built to meet the equivalent of a 4.5 star NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System).

Recycling

The Museum continues to recycle paper, cardboard, toner cartridges, and glass and plastic bottles from the administration areas, and encourages visitors to the Museum to recycle.

Waste

The Museum monitors and reports on the amount of waste to landfill, as a percentage of its total waste. In 2012–13 the Museum sent 90 per cent of its waste to landfill, exceeding the target of 80 per cent. The figures will be used as a baseline for measuring improvements in future years.

Water use

Water usage has been reduced through the installation of hybrid, semi-waterless urinals in high-use public toilets, as well as dual-flush toilets and water-saving showerheads in leasehold buildings. The Museum uses meters installed in critical areas, such as cooling towers and the cafe, to monitor water consumption.

Environmentally friendly cleaning practices

The Museum continues to use a new range of environmentally friendly cleaning products that feature readily biodegradable components, have very low or no toxicity, ultra-low volatile organic compounds, no phosphates or bleach, and concentrated formulas to reduce waste in both packaging and transport. The Museum also continues to use toilet paper and paper handtowels made from 100 per cent recycled material. These products are Australian made and certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA).

Greenfleet

The Museum continued its membership of this non-profit organisation that plants trees in forests to offset carbon emissions from its vehicle fleet.