ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell

The ACT government has released a framework for achieving carbon neutrality in its operations by 2020, Environment Minister Simon Corbell has announced, with a wide-ranging buildings audit the first step.

“The ACT Government contributes five per cent of the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions and we intend to lead by example, reducing our emissions and achieving carbon neutrality across all government operations and services by 2020,” Mr Corbell said.

The first step in the framework is to track government building energy performance by measuring, monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions through the ACT Government Enterprise Sustainability Platform.

“We will also minimise our carbon footprint by implementing mitigation measures with a focus on increasing energy efficiency,” Mr Corbell said.

Two energy efficiency officers have been employed to assist directorates in reducing building energy consumption. One example is a HVAC control upgrade at Belconnen Library, which reduced electricity consumption by 29 per cent and natural gas by 30 per cent.

The ACTSmart Government Energy and Water Program, which provides tailored energy and water efficiency advice and assistance, is also helping to meet the 2020 carbon neutrality goal, with 107,000 square metres of space across 53 sites having been assessed as of June this year.

The government also has plans to make the whole territory carbon neutral by 2060, with a major part being a 90 per cent renewable target by 2020, which was legislated last November.

“We understand the importance of leadership on carbon neutrality,” Mr Corbell said. “However, making Canberra a carbon neutral city by 2060 will also require a collaborative effort with the community.”