As outlined in our Corporate Sustainability Policy (PDF 176.0 kb), we continue to work towards more sustainable operations and the promotion of energy conservation through environmental, social and financial improvements. Through targeted initiatives and trials we are constantly implementing strategies designed to reduce our environmental footprint.
Our outlook includes a focus on building and maintaining partnerships to deliver environmental offsets; seeking environmental efficiencies to our fleet and property portfolio; continued implementation of our waste reduction and recycling plan and management of our carbon emissions.
We're switched onto recycling
We recognise the need to manage waste in a sustainable manner and are continually looking for ways to work more sustainably by saving precious resources and money. We aim to minimise waste through Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and treat any waste produced as a potential resource rather than rubbish. Our successful recycling efforts offer grant opportunities to support local community groups.
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Across Energex, we are working hard to manage our precious resources more sustainably. To help us keep up the good work, we have done extensive analysis of our waste streams and developed a comprehensive waste management framework to minimise waste ending up in landfill.
Reducing, reusing and recycling waste not only saves resources, energy and money it also provides opportunities for turning waste into revenue and community benefit through the Energex Community and Sustainability Fund.
Our recycling streams include:
Recycling out in the field
- Recycling of power poles. When we replace our timber power poles, the old poles and cross arms are taken to a specialised recycling facility that is able to process the treated elements of the poles and mill the remaining wood into beautiful timber for use in construction and cabinetry. Some Energex buildings, including our head office at Newstead, are fitted out with beautiful recycled Spotted Gum timber recuperated from old electricity poles.
- Metal recycling. Recycling of waste copper, aluminium, steel cables and transformers reduces our waste going to landfill. The metal recycling not only saves raw materials and energy in processing but is also sold to generate revenue for Energex.
- Other recycling streams. Other field recycling efforts include oil, batteries, fibreglass cross arms, ceramic and glass insulators, helmets, cardboard, street light bulbs and packaging. Vegetation waste is mulched. We are continually working to improve our overall recycling and introduce new streams of recyclable materials.
Recycling in the office
- Our office sites have facilities to recycle paper, cardboard, batteries, electronics and mixed recycling of cans, bottles, plastics, etc. and arrangements to recycle fluorescent light bulbs. Our head office even has a trial worm farm to recycle food waste into fertiliser. We also facilitate regular staff Recycling for Charity drives of eye glasses, mobile phones, towels, etc to donate to various community groups.
Funds from our recycling programs are used to support community groups through the Energex Community and Sustainability Fund. Since 2011, our fund has assisted over 250 community groups with more than $600,000 donated.
Energex buildings feature numerous energy and water saving initiatives and recycled building materials that are not only good for the environment but also save money. We have award-winning and green rated buildings that are designed to reduce our environmental footprint. We even use recycled power poles as timber features in some buildings.
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Our award winning head office in Newstead was designed to a Six Star Green Star rating; the property's environmental performance has earned it a prestigious 5.5 star NABERS Base Building Energy rating. Green features of this building include:
- On sunny days, photovoltaic cells on the roof provide a minimum of 10Kw peak renewable energy to the building
- Roof-harvest rainwater is stored below the building and used for grey-water purposes
- Water flows through beams in the building's structure to cool the office
- The need for lighting is reduced through an abundance of natural light
- Much of the wood used in the building are made from recycled power poles
All this leads to savings on electricity, air-conditioning and water as well as reduced carbon emissions.
The Energex Distribution Centre is the first industrial site in Australia to achieve a 4-star green star rating - industrial design v1 from the Green Building Council of Australia. Green features include efficient lighting and air-conditioning, double-glazing and alternate roofing materials.
Most of our field sites are fitted with water tanks and water-saving devices as well as electricity saving initiatives. Combined Energex sites and office have contributed to a corporate portfolio energy efficiency improvement of 36% (compared to a 2005/06 baseline).
These smart buildings are not only green but also significantly more cost effective to operate.
Greener on the road
Our crews and staff can travel thousands of kilometres each year servicing every corner of South East Queensland's electricity supply. Since 2007 we have undertaken numerous steps to reduce our fuel consumption. Our light fleet's greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 49% (compared to a base 2007/08). We are pleased that our green fleet initiatives are doing more than reducing our "carbon footprint", they are also providing real cost savings to the business.
Pollution prevention and contamination management
When we are conducting work to improve the electricity supply we are diligent in ensuring that work is conducted so that potentially polluting substances are contained and contaminants are prevented from entering water courses, soil and air. All our depot sites have detailed Site Environmental Management Plans which are reviewed and audited on a regular basis. When buying or selling property we conduct specific environmental assessments in an effort to minimise impacts on the environment.
Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions continue to decline; our carbon footprint has decreased by approximately 30% since 2007/08. We regularly report our emissions through the required government channels.
As part of our commitment to integrate renewable energy into South East Queensland’s network and to provide our customers more choice and control over their energy use we are conducting trials of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS).
The BESS trial will provide us with insights to help deliver solutions that offer our connected customers choice in their energy supply and minimise expenditure on the network. It is envisaged both of these outcomes would lead to savings for customers and a more efficient network.
For more information go to Energex Battery Energy Storage Systems Trial.
Empowering our people
We all have a responsibility to care for our environment and we encourage staff to contribute to improvements in our environmental performance.
- All Energex employees have regular environmental training varying with the requirements of their roles.
- Individuals and groups are celebrated for outstanding environmental initiatives through internal recognition and communications programs.
- At some sites, Energex environmental champions meet regularly to share ideas, create awareness and influence change around workplace environmental issues.
Do you want more information on the improved environment performance of Energex operations? Email our operational and environmental experts today.