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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Facilities management > Facilities for government > Office Accommodation Management Framework > Guideline 4: Occupancy > 9.0 Sustainability

 9.0 Sustainability

The incorporation of ecological sustainability objectives and practices into office accommodation design and construction can deliver a healthy and ecologically sustainable workplace with reduced environmental risks. However, the scope of ecological sustainability, in office accommodation terms, also includes the ongoing use of the workplace as well as later changes to the fitout and to its final removal and disposal.

The key sustainability issues that apply to the delivery of the fitout and to the ongoing occupancy of the workplace are:

  • conservation of resources and heritage
  • emission abatement for health protection.

An ecologically responsible approach to workplace occupancy and use involves:

  • identifying the key factors that support ecological sustainability
  • defining a sustainability policy containing a set of objectives
  • developing a management system to implement the policy
  • reviewing success against objectives and criteria.

In practical terms, sustainability in the workplace can be supported in the following ways:

  • Selection of appropriate materials and products. Additional fitout materials (including furniture) introduced into the workplace should be selected for minimum ecological impact. Office equipment such as computers, photocopiers, printers, facsimile machines and appliances should be selected based on sound ecological selection criteria including embodied energy, operational energy efficiency, durability and ability to be disassembled and recycled. Consumable products such as stationery, toner cartridges and general office supplies should be purchased according to their eco-friendliness.
  • Effective waste management and recycling. An ecologically sustainable approach involves ‘reducing, reusing and recycling’. This means reducing the amount of goods used, reusing in other ways what is available, and recycling as much as possible. This approach will minimise waste, and in conjunction with appropriate selection of goods, can also minimise the ecological impact of waste.
  • Positive ecological behaviour. Ecologically-appropriate behaviour will contribute to energy and water conservation. Protocols such as switching off idle equipment and lighting save energy and cost and can prolong equipment life. The responsible consumption of water is ecologically beneficial and cost-effective. The efficient use of work vehicles saves resources and minimises emissions. After hours working is generally very resource-demanding compared with the number of staff working and should be managed appropriately.
  • Responsible maintenance and cleaning regimes. Contractor selection should include criteria such as a stated commitment to ecological sustainability and demonstrated performance. Materials used for maintenance and cleaning should be ecologically appropriate.

Workers should also consider transport to and from the workplace in ecological sustainability terms.

The Department of Housing and Public Works has also developed a Waste Management Strategic Plan Guideline and an Ecologically Sustainable Office Fitout Guideline and is the lead agency for the Strategic Asset Management guidelines initiative. Further information and expert advice is available from the Department of Housing and Public Works.

9.1 Sustainability policies

The Department of Housing and Public Works has developed a number of new policies and documents relating to sustainability for use in all Government Office Buildings under the government’s ClimateSmart 2050 initiative including the Sustainable Office Building rating policy (PDF, 205KB).


This document outlines the Department of Housing and Public Works sustainable building rating systems for environmental assessment, benchmarking of targets for energy, water and natural resource conservation to be used when designing, developing and managing the office building portfolio.

Carbon emissions reporting

Government requirements to provide annual greenhouse gas emission information for all office building for both landlords and tenants.

Additional information and links concerning these initiatives have been incorporated into the Building user guide (BUG) (PDF, 182KB).



Last updated 30 January 2013    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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