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Wednesday, 28 March 2001
Page: 23200

The PRESIDENT (3:01 PM) —On 27 March, Senator Brown raised with me questions relating to greenhouse gas emissions from Parliament House. I have previously referred to the record of Parliament House relating to energy consumption. With the leave of the Senate, I will incorporate the answer to the question in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows


(Senate Hansard 27 March 2001 p.23028)

On 27 March 2001, Senator Brown raised with me questions concerning the recent Commonwealth Government Greenhouse Office advertising program promoting ways to reduce greenhouse emissions and its application to Parliament House.

As I have previously advised the Senate, Parliament House—through JHD—has a proud record in the field of minimising electricity and gas consumption, and consequently reducing greenhouse emissions.

During the 2000 calendar year, Parliament House won two major awards—one awarded by Greenhouse Office and one awarded by the Institute of Engineers Australia—to recognise major energy and greenhouse emission reductions. Since 1988, energy consumption at Parliament House has been reduced by 52% and greenhouse emissions by 46.6%.

In order to build on the above achievements, JHD recently advertised for an Energy Manager for Parliament House, and that position will be filled from early April 2001.

Part of the role of the position will be to address the matters raised in the Greenhouse Office advertising program and consider their applicability to Parliament House.

In addition to the Energy Manager position, JHD has many other major initiatives being implemented to build on its proud record, such as:

· progressive introduction of automated sleep mode by the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff for computers in Parliament to save some 80% of consumption if units are not turned off:

· utilisation of waste heat from the main computer room to heat the swimming pool;

· upgrading airconditioning controls in a further 400 suites to reduce energy consumption;

· replacement of electric steam generators with natural gas-fired units leading to significant greenhouse gas emission reduction;

· lighting control upgrades to reduce energy consumption;

· progressive installation of control mechanisms on continuous hot water boiling units (some 400 in Parliament House).

I believe the information supplied is a more-than-adequate response by JHD on behalf of the Parliament to further improving the Parliament's record in reducing greenhouse emissions.

In relation to specific questions asked by Senator Brown, which will be further addressed by the Parliament House Energy Manager, I provide the following information.

Q. Is it true that there are some 500 television sets which could be turned off at the wall each night in Parliament House but which may not be?

A. There are approximately 1 000 television tuners in Parliament House.

The Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff advises that the parliamentary units consume 3-5 watts in stand-by mode compared to 60-80 watts when operating. Utilisation of stand-by gives constant temperature and leads to a 200% increase in the life of units—which reduces the need for energy consumed in manufacturing replacement units.

Q. Are there 300 shower heads in Parliament which are not AAA shower heads?

A. There are approximately 300 full flow shower heads installed during construction of Parliament House which are not AAA.

The Joint House Department has an evaluation of replacement shower heads under way.

Q. Are there 500 or more fridges in Parliament House which could be turned up one degree, which, according to the advertising, would save 50 kilograms of greenhouse gases for each fridge? That is about 25 000 kilograms of greenhouse gases per annum?

A. There are approximately 440 fridges in Parliament House. The great majority are small office fridges with high energy efficiency ratings. The Energy Manager will be further addressing this issue.