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Thursday, 17 October 1985
Page: 1404

Senator COOK —Can the Minister for Resources and Energy comment on progress with the energy conservation program in Commonwealth buildings? Are worthwhile savings being made which justify the Commonwealth's continued involvement in this area?

Senator Chaney —Good question.

Senator GARETH EVANS —It is a good question and it has a very good answer, too, which I am sure those opposite will be interested in listening to. The Commonwealth has been active in the pursuit of good energy management in buildings it owns or leases. Through the Commonwealth energy management program, otherwise known as CEMP, retrofit works have been undertaken to Commonwealth buildings to improve energy efficiency and demonstrate the rewards of responsible energy management to other sectors of the community. Savings through this program have been substantial and I would like to give some information to the Senate to demonstrate that fact. Minor mechanical and electrical works costing $1,000 at the Commonwealth's Cameron-Benjamin office complex in Canberra have produced savings in the use of energy worth $200,000 a year. The works included such simple steps as resetting air conditioning and lighting controls. It was also found that heating was being provided to areas such as some storerooms which did not need it. That was stopped. A separate action to reduce air conditioning fan speeds in the complex, with a once only cost of $11,000, has produced additional energy savings of $33,000.

I notice that Senator Sir John Carrick is nodding with very considerable interest because he shares my concern and pre-occupation with these matters.

Senator Sir John Carrick —I introduced it.

Senator GARETH EVANS —Well, he did, and he is to be congratulated for doing so. He is showing a lot more sensible interest in these matters than are his colleagues. That is very welcome and very much to be applauded. In the Edmund Barton building, also in Canberra, the modification of lift controls to automatically shut down the lift motors when their services are not required cost nothing but will save $21,000 per annum. Overhaul and modification of the controls in the air conditioning system in the same building has yielded a yearly saving of $40,000 for an outlay of $10,000.

In the Commonwealth's offices in the King William Tower in Adelaide, which I know that Senator Vanstone will have an acute interest in, work costing $7,000 on air conditioning controls, plant operating hours, thermostats and lighting levels has produced savings of $18,000 per annum. There has been an incidental benefit of the energy audit of the Cameron-Benjamin complex, but I will not burden the Senate with any further details of this matter. Perhaps it is not a matter of burdening them but rather of sharing information. I think enough has been said to make the point that it is a very successful program. I will have considerable pleasure in making further details of that successful program publicly available later today.