Lifestyle

The lifestyle we choose to lead has a huge impact on sustainability of our community. This is reflected in the emissions per head of population. At 5.34 tonnes CO2/person/year this is twice that of China and 5 times the world average. Australians have the highest emissions in the world. This is the result of our self indulgence with oversized homes, large inefficient cars, an electrical grid dominated by coal and gas generators and often a consumption pattern that is wasteful.

Chart showing Australia topp the emissions per person by a long way
Per capita emissions in the G20

This need not be the case. Technologies to reduce our emissions abound. We just have to adopt them. Actually, many households and businesses are already doing this. GADSA wants to acknowledge these and have developed a Sustainability Scorecard to do this. The Sustainability Scorecard is explained below.

The Sustainability Scorecard will have three impacts:

  • highlight methods to be considered and which if adopted have a positive impact,
  • the Score shows how a business or household has progressed along the sustainability path, and
  • successive assessments will show improvement over time as additional methods are adopted.

Specifically, the methods include:

  • using renewable energy and storage where possible,
  • moving existing transport fleets to more fuel-efficient vehicles through the adoption of highly efficient hybrid, electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles,
  • converting from gas use to electric or hydrogen derived energy sources,
  • improve energy efficiency by replacing appliances and lights with energy efficient alternatives,
  • reducing waste flow to landfills by diverting as much as possible to re-purpose, re-use and re-cycle materials,
  • reduce the use of ‘virgin’ materials in goods as this ‘saves’ the energy in the initial production of these materials, and reduces the ‘virgin’ materials needed, e.g. mineral, fibre or water,
  • protect the natural ecosystems, soils, land, water and biological, as these are all under threat from human activities.

The self-evaluation Sustainability Scorecard helps businesses and households assess how they are going along the sustainability route. The Sustainability Scorecard has benefited from feedback and input from both Gympie Regional Council and Gympie Chamber of Commerce. It enables anyone, not just businesses, to self-assess their sustainability. The Sustainability Scorecard also highlights areas where improvements can be targeted. Repeated assessments will also show the improvements over time. It is comprehensively described below. The small changes made by a business or individual may not seem important. But many small changes do mount up to be important.

The adoption of solar rooftop systems has shown how the accumulation of many small changes can cause very significant impacts. The electricity grid now has its emissions declining and the rooftop solar systems are the largest generator in the grid. GADSA hopes that the Sustainability Scorecard has a similar impact by many businesses and households making changes which when summed amount to a significant improvement to the community’s sustainability.

It is proposed that everyone use the Sustainability Scorecard as described below and the self-assessment scorecard spreadsheet to calculate a progress score for themselves. Please return the self-evaluation card to GADSA (info@gadsa.net). GADSA will print Certificates for these businesses to display and for those willing, highlight them at Envirotech Gympie.

1. Scorecard :

The scorecard is an Excel spreadsheet that uses information the user enters to calculate their score. Remember to save the information you enter; this is not automated.

It has a number of key Objectives. These are listed in order of their contribution to the national greenhouse gas emissions and our communities ability to impact the emission source or essential resources. Energy (electricity and stationary) 52.8%, Transport 18.3%, Agriculture 15.0%, Waste 2.8% and Water. Energy and transport impacts the sustainability of the whole economy; Agriculture the sustainability of the food we eat, Waste saves energy and natural resources if these materials are reused, repurposed or recycled, while Water is essential to sustain our community and should be used judiciously.

For each Objective, there are a number Methods to help achieve the Objective. The Methods are listed with easiest at the top and hardest at the bottom. Each of these Methods are then assessed as Applicable or otherwise for the business and scored in the four stages below (Consider, Plan, Implement and Result). Methods that can and should be taken now include:

  • Assess your energy efficiency (QCCI) and emissions in line with AS ISO 14064,
  • Avoid the use of gas, oil and coal fired energy by:
    • installation of Solar Rooftop energy systems,
    • purchase renewable energy from the energy suppliers,
    • adopt energy storage so that surplus renewable energy can be stored for use at other times,
    • change from gas, petroleum products or coal to electricity sourced from Renewable Energy.
  • Minimise energy use by:
    • adopting energy efficient appliances and LED lights,
    • using technologies that enable the use of electricity as an energy source rather than gas or oil products,
    • use rail for long distance goods transport, and
    • Insulating the buildings ceiling, walls and floors to improve the thermal envelope of the structure.
  • Reduce waste and conserve resources and energy used to make products by:
    • reuse, repurpose or recycling of anything you cannot use from your waste e.g. paper products, plastics, metals, appliances, E waste, Tyres, batteries, oils, etc. You name it, it can be diverted from landfill.
    • use recyclable or compostable products for packaging of goods and disposable items,
    • divert organic waste from landfill to alternative users, composting facilities, worm farms
    • install rainwater tanks, water saving taps and appliances,
    • acquiring local products for your use where possible.
  • Protect residual natural ecosystems by:
    • not destroying any of these on your land estate,
    • adopting best practice land management practices,
    • restoring native vegetation in areas not productive,
    • planting native rather than exotic species in gardens.

Some other Methods included in the Scorecare are likely to be feasible in the short term future.

Each row in the Scorecard could add up to 27 points. However, the final result is expressed as a score out of 100. Not all of the Methods will be applicable for everyone. Follow the instructions below to ensure your final score is reasonable and feasible. Repeat assessments will show how you have improved over time.

2. Assessment process:

The Scorecard is a self assessment process. It is not just assessing what you have already done; it also assesses what has not been done. You need to consider everything that could be undertaken, even if this would be difficult or costly. The Methods are scored in a 5-step assessment process: Applicable, Consider, Plan, Implementing, Result. Each step has a range of points so that organisations can be scored according to their progress and the score will reflect the progress achieved. Each of these steps are considered below.

Applicable: All of the suggested methods may not be applicable to a businesses. Determine which apply to your situation, and enter ‘y’ for yes or a ‘n’ for not applicable. The ‘y’s will be counted and used to calculate you final score. Do not enter other data in a row assessed as not applicable.

Consider: The organisation has discussed internally, considered outside expert advice, and decided to adopt or not the Method; Score 0 if it has not been considered, score 1 point if deciding not to proceed, 2 points for deciding to proceed.

Plan: The organisation has decided to go ahead but has not yet finalised the process; 3 to 5 points for when the plan is finalised and contracts are accepted,

Implement: The plans and deals are finalised, and the installation is going ahead, 6 to 10 points when the job is completed and fully functional and performing as planned.

Result: The project has been completed and it has resulted in xx% saving of energy, waste, land area etc. This is a Quantity score for the group where 1 is 10% of the item being assessed. If the group save 30 % of their waste stream then they score 3, If 100 % then they score 10. This result could be the saving in expenditure, the number of bins/skips filled etc. For repeat assessments, it would be useful to document how the result has been assessed for each method.

3. Certificate:

GADSA will design a printable Certificate showing the number of methods used in the assessment and the final Score. This Document could be displayed at the Business and if willing, at Envirotech Gympie. Print the scorecard with your assessment data and forward this to GADSA so the Certificate can be printed for your use.

If you have not already done so, download the Sustainability Scorecard here.