Consulate Sydney Lowers Carbon Footprint, Slashes Electricity Usage

Posted by Andy Ball
April 22, 2011
U.S. Consulate Sydney's Green Committee Poses for a Photo

U.S. Consulate Sydney's Green Committee focuses on reducing electricity use in the offices and homes of employees. We established metrics to judge success, informed employees on their energy consumption and how they could reduce their carbon footprint, and tracked and celebrated green achievements.

First, we established a baseline of consumption by reviewing electric bills for the past 12 months, and continuously monitoring new bills.

Next, we educated our staff and families. As part of our “Turn it Off” campaign, every employee in the Consulate received a personal visit from a Green Committee member. We identified the locations of all on/off switches for electrical appliances in each work area and placed “Turn it Off” stickers on printers, copiers, scanners, TVs and computer screens. The Committee put “Keep Me On” stickers on essential equipment.

For consulate-provided housing, we sent everyone their home electric bills highlighting their annual electricity consumption and included a comparison to the U.S. and Australian households. On average, Aussies use 30 percent less electricity than Americans. The letter included tips on how family members could reduce their energy consumption at home.

Finally we celebrate successes, and encourage further savings. Consulate Sydney presents three energy conservation awards, called the Guman Awards (an Aboriginal word meaning green). One award is given to the household with the overall lowest energy consumption; another to the household with the lowest per capita energy use. The third award is presented to the 'biggest loser' who has the largest reduction in their household energy consumption. Two of our households dropped their electricity consumption by 50 percent and 40 percent in the first quarter of our campaign, cutting costs and reducing their carbon footprints with their efforts. With Sydney's electricity rates slated to rise nearly 18 percent this year, these savings will continue to accumulate over time.

Live Green, Work Green!

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