Monitoring and Reducing the Carbon Footprint by the Department of Foreign Affairs

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 1023

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 19 OF 20 JUNE 2008

DR R RABINOWITZ (IFP) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

  1. Whether she will ensure that her department (a) monitors and (b) reduces its carbon footprint with immediate effect; if so, how will this be done; 
  1. whether this will include the phasing out of glossy publications from all agencies or councils reporting to her; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details;
  1. (a)  What is the estimate cost of all such (i) reports and (ii) publications per annum in the case of these agencies and all other working documents of her department and (b) what kinds of (i) energy are being used in the offices of her department and (ii) energy saving measures being implemented in these offices?

REPLY:

1.
Whether she will ensure that her department (a) monitors and (b) reduces its carbon footprint with immediate effect; if so, how will this be done;

The nature of the Department’s business has a direct bearing on its carbon footprint.  The Department does not manufacture products and its carbon footprint thus mainly relates to its use of energy.  The Department has performed an audit of its energy consumption and has identified opportunities to reduce same.  Opportunities identified are listed in par 3(b) ii below.

2. Whether this will include the phasing out of glossy publications from all agencies or councils reporting to her; if not, what is the position in this regard:

The Department does not have agencies / councils reporting to it. With regards to its own glossy publications the Department is working to reduce its carbon footprint by using recyclable paper for publications.

3(a) What is the estimated cost of all such (i) reports

i) Annual Report R200 000   per annum

Strategic Plan R50 000 per annum

 and (ii) publications

ii) Newsletter R50 000 per annum (issued 11 times per year), Budget Vote speech booklet R30 000 (once off), AU/NEPAD report-back booklet R60 000 per annum (issued 2 x per year), DFA activities booklet R50 000 (once per year).

(b)  What kinds of (i) energy are being used in the offices of her department and (ii) energy saving measures being implemented in these offices?

i) The Department mainly uses fluorescent lighting, which is regarded as being energy efficient, for its normal operations.  In areas where non fluorescent lighting is required, the Department is, where possible, in the process of changing such lights with energy saving lights.

ii)  Lighting system shutdown takes place at 20:00 daily, circumstances permitted.  (In some of the rented buildings occupied by the Department, central control of lights makes it impossible to switch off lights in unoccupied offices whilst allowing officials to work in other offices).

In addition to the above, a general circular has been issued to all staff at head office with additional energy efficiency measures to be implemented immediately.  These measures include –

  • All geysers to be switched off permanently since normal daily activities do not require the use of hot water.
  • Kitchen equipment, excluding refrigerators, will be switched off when not in use
  • Offices/areas with individually controlled light switches will be switched off when office/area is not occupied, even during day time when office/areas are not occupied/used for an extensive period of time.  Similarly, loose standing electrical equipment i.e.:  fans, air-conditioning units, heaters must also be switched off when office/area is not in use, or where the offices/areas are empty for an extended period of time.
  • Lighting in outside parking areas must be switched off at sunrise, and must only be switched on at sunset.
  • Light bulbs are to be replaced with energy saving light bulbs.
  • Lighting in offices/areas should, where possible, be reduced by removing some florescent light tubes or reducing lux levels.
  • Air-conditioning systems plants are switched off at 20h00 and switched on at 06h00.
  • It is also being considered whether computer equipment i.e. desk-tops and printers could be switched during week-ends.

The above energy saving measures have been consolidated into an energy saving plan that was implemented on 1 April 2008, and the Department is currently developing a more comprehensive strategy on energy utilisation.



 

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