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New policy limits carbon excess

Knowing where energy is being used is the secret to making carbon management an exercise in profitability rather than just compliance says Coffey Environments, a sustainability engineering service offering advice for companies complying with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Act.

The company, which assesses and analyses carbon footprints for businesses, will attend and is sponsoring the expects attendees at the Carbon Reduction & Trading Expo in Melbourneo.

Coffey Environments expects companies who attend the Expo will be in “information gathering mode” regarding the new NGER Act.

The company’s manager of sustainable engineering, Kirsty Gregory, says it is clear that Australian businesses are interested in reducing their carbon footprints — especially since 11,521 people visited the Expo last year, which ran in conjunction with Safety In Action and Melbourne Materials Handling in April.

Gregory says changes to the Australian government’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting requirements and the imminent introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has encouraged companies to actively explore how their obligations will be met.

“The number of companies now approaching Coffey Environments to undertake carbon footprint assessments shows industry is beginning to appreciate the broad implications of the Act,” she said.

“The starting point is to understand your carbon footprint. Without measuring it, your organisation won’t know whether it is required to report under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Act.”

The NGER Act came into effect on 1st July 2008, with corporations that exceed 500 terajoules (TJ) or have facilities that use more than 100 TJ of energy now required to report their 2008/09 emissions by 31st October this year. The federal government anticipates around 1,000 Australian businesses will be affected, with many more caught under far lower thresholds the following year.

“The good news is that this is not just an exercise in red tape in determining a company’s carbon footprint. Coffey can also undertake an energy audit that will, for most businesses, identify plenty of energy savings that can be achieved with a payback period of less than three years,” said Gregory.

“The important aspect of a carbon footprint isn’t the size. It’s far more important to know where the energy is consumed because this allows Coffey Environments to identify where savings can be made. Often these are low-cost initiatives: the ‘low-hanging fruit’.”

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