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Environmental Audit Tool Assignment

Sydney Opera House

Part 1 Design a comprehensive environmental audit tool that could be used to undertake an environmental audit

Part 2 Write a 2000-word rationale that explains why your group has designed the audit in the way that you have.



Environmental Audit Tool: Sydney Opera House

One of the world's most famous performing arts center located at Sydney Harbor in Sydney, Australia, the Sydney Opera House is an architectural marvel. Formally inaugurated on October 20, 1973, this distinctive building was designed by JørnUtzon, a Danish architect. Although from its name it may seem that it is a single venue opera house, the reality is it has multiple venues for performances. It can host over 1500 performances in a year and can accommodate at least 10.9 million people attending those events. Sydney Opera House has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 28, 2007 (Sydney Opera House website).

The performance venues of the Sydney Opera House are namely Concert Hall, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Drama Theatre, Playhouse, Studio,Utzon Room, Recording Studio, Outdoor Forecourt. Besides, the house has facilities like bars, restaurants, cafes, and retail outlets (Sydney Opera House website).


The Sydney Opera House is a masterpiece of human creative genius. The building has a sustainability story behind it. The architect JørnUtzonwas inspired by nature, its forms, functions and colors. He saw the systems underlying the nature and transformed them into something marvelous. He was fascinated by the efficacy of the natural systems and realized that efficiency is beauty. Utzon achieved his architectural intent to have building that is sculptural, inspired by nature, and that plays with light. The design of Utzon is now considered as sustainable design as sustainability is found inherent in his design philosophy. For example, the air-conditioning system that is used to cool this building uses sea water from the harbor, rather than fresh water (Sydney Opera House website).

The estimated cost of the building construction was calculated to be $7 million, which escalated to $102 million by the end of its completion and the amount was mostly financed by a State Lottery. Its conduction plan was to complete the building within four years that got stretched to 14 years and involved 10,000 construction workers. The house was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on 20th October 1973.

The purpose of the Opera House is to become "unmissable" in terms of "creativity, engagement and entertainment". The organization believes in the values like creativity, excellence, collaboration, accountability, and safety (Sydney Opera House website). One of the objectives of the organization is to "Challenge ourselves to be the best we can, valuing and embracing excellence and sustainability" (Sydney Opera House website).

Sustainability goals

The sustainability goals of the House are as follows:
• Attainrecycling rate of 80% for renewal project construction;
• Accomplish 60% recycling of operational waste within a 3-year plan;
• Advance the rate of sustainable transport use by members of staff;
• Increase sustainability awareness and the rate of reporting of environmental hazards and minor incidents; and
• Organize four Ideas at the House events per year based on sustainability themes (Environmental Sustainability Report, 2017).

Sustainability targets






Make best use of energy and

ensure operational savings


14% saving from

revised baseline by


  • Metering and monitoring upgrades aspart of the BMCS project (Yr 1)
  • Heating Ventilation and AirConditioning (HVAC) projects andtuning (Yr 1-2)
  • Measure and verify energy savings fromupgrade projects (Yr 2)
  • Energy efficiency targets in eachRenewal Project (Yr 1-3)
  • Energy audit after HVAC projects arefully implemented (Yr 3)
  • Seek ways to share information onenergy use and savings with staff,venue hirers, patrons and visitors(Yr 1-2)
  • Energy star ratings for fitouts andequipment equal or above NSWGovernment Resource EfficiencyPolicy (Yr 1-3)
  • Peak energy strategy developed (Yr 1)

Yr 1-3


Work to understand

water use to

develop actions

towards greater


Detailed water audit

Detailed water audit including amenities,kitchens, monitoring, fire systems, andrainwater reuse opportunities. The auditwill include improvement projects and

recommended ways to measure and

achieve best practice water efficiency.

Yr 1


Implement at least

two actions from

the water audit

  • Implement high priority actionsfrom the water audit
  • Water efficiency ratings for fitoutsequal or above NSW GovernmentResource Efficiency Policy (Yr 1-3)

Yr 2-3


Review of

water targets

Continue to refine measurement

and benchmarks for best practice

water management on site using attendance data

Yr 2


Work towards best

practice operational

waste recycling

and reporting

Operations waste

recycling targets

by weight:

Yr 1: 50%

Yr 2: 55%

Yr 3: 60%

  • New waste contract implementation
  • Organic waste recycling implementation, review and continualimprovement



Yr 1-3

Food and beverage education, incentives and contractual operations embedded to reduce waste and improve recycling performance


Achieve Gold Standard Better Buildings Partnership Operational Waste Guidelines Part E: Waste data integrity rating protocol

  • Work with cleaning and waste contractors to improve waste reporting reliability in line with Better Building Partnership Guidelines
  • Achieve silver standard data integrity (Yr 1) gold standard (Yr 3)

Yr 3

Best practice recycling in construction and refurbishment

80% recycling rate for renewal project construction

Renewal scope and contracts for construction to include industry best practice recycling targets

Yr 3

60% recycling by weight of waste from other refurbishment and minor works projects

  • Include reduction of demolition waste at end-of-life interior fitout as part of interior-design brief contracts
  • Refurbishment waste-management plan approved
  • Contract clauses relating to waste from refurbishment reviewed and implemented
  • Collect waste data from all construction projects

Yr 1-3

Responsible disposal of classified waste

One audit per year of classified waste management and disposal from building projects

  • Ensure responsible management and disposal of classified waste is included in all building contracts.
  • Implement a schedule of project audits involving classified waste disposal management

Yr 1-3

Expand recycling services

Large and irregular item reuse and recycling initiatives at least once per year

  • Regular large/bulky/unusual recycling collections implemented at least once per year
  • Develop links and partnerships to find innovative strategies to donate reusable items to benefit community and not for profit organizations


Material and Procurements

Work within existing procurement frameworks to embed efficient and responsible resource use

A sustainable procurement framework approved by Procurement Review Panel

Create an integrated framework for sustainable procurement that promotes positive social, environmental and economic impacts, and encourages innovation to promote greater shared value

Yr 1

Implement the framework principles in three key consumable materials contracts

Review consumable contracts and identify three contracts with significant environmental or social opportunities/ impacts that will be reviewed or modified within the three-year period. Implement the sustainable procurement framework in these contracts

Yr 2-3

Implement framework principles in three key building projects or contracts

  • Review building contracts and identify three contracts with significant environmental or social opportunities/ impacts. Implement the sustainable procurement framework in these contracts
  • Engage and share ideas with existing large contractors and partners on their implementation of sustainable procurement principles
  • Develop and approve a sustainable heritage materials sourcing strategy

Yr 2-3

10% reduction in office and marketing paper use*

  • Implement paperless workflow software (Yr 1)
  • New printing contract to provide paper saving technology (Yr 1)
  • Staff-engagement opportunities to reduce paper use (Yr 1-3)
  • Review hard-copy archive management, to reduce costs and resources from paper storage (Yr 2)
  • Implement paperless workflow software (Yr 1)
  • New printing contract to provide paper saving technology (Yr 1)
  • Staff-engagement opportunities to reduce paper use (Yr 1-3)
  • Review hard-copy archive management, to reduce costs and resources from paper storage (Yr 2)

Yr 1

90% office paper with at least 50% recycled content

Review paper purchase at time of printing contract

Yr 2

5% reduction in single use plastic within the Opera House precinct

  • Develop 'no plastic bag' policy to avoid impacts on our marine environment (Yr 1)
  • Engage with retail, partnership and events to implement policy across the precinct (Yr 2)
  • Survey single use plastic on site to develop a baseline (Yr 1)
  • Work with food and beverage partners to consider opportunities to reduce single use packaging and monitor progress against baseline (Yr 2-3)
  • Staff behavior change initiatives to reduce single use packaging

Yr 1-3


Seek opportunities to encourage sustainable transport choices for staff and visitors

One best-practice sustainable transport initiative for staff and/or visitors per year

  • Sustainable transport plan initiatives that support the renewal transport plan and health and wellbeing initiatives
  • Sustainable transport initiatives to take away barriers to choosing alternatives to single passenger car transport

Yr 3


Improve rate of sustainable transport use by staff

  • Choice of transport measured through transport survey (Yr 1 and Yr 3)
  • Undertake staff-engagement initiatives to encourage transport other than single-passenger cars

Yr 1-3


Best-practice bike parking included in Renewal

Best-practice bike parking requirements included in scope for delivery of Renewal

Yr 1

Climate Change

Achieve National Government targets on climate change

7% reduction in carbon footprint by 2019 in line with National Target

Measure, verify and report publicly on our carbon footprint every year

Yr 1-3

Plan for carbon neutral 2023

Carbon reduction strategy towards being carbon neutral by 2023

Carbon reduction strategy to assess least cost, maximum shared benefit method to reduce and offset greenhouse emissions towards being carbon neutral by 2023 (Yr 1) Seek innovative means and partners to support the Opera House achieving carbon neutrality in line with the National Carbon Offset Standard by 2023 (Yr 2-3)

Yr 1

Increase preparedness and resilience to climate change impacts

Climate change resilience Strategy

Develop risk-assessment and risk-management strategy to address long-term impacts of climate change on building and business Identify and seek funding for additional studies required Embed resilience and factor in NSW Government climate change policies and forecasts in Renewal projects

Yr 2

Compiled from Environmental Sustainability Report, 2017


Sustainability achievements
Since 2010 till 2016the House has achieved many milestones of which the most significant ones are as follows:
• 4 Green Star Performance by Green Building Council of Australia.
• Saved 75% in energy use and improved performance and safety through innovative lighting upgrade.
• Staff planted 1000 trees.
• Recycling rate rose from 20% to 65%.
• Food recycling introduced to reduce waste.
• Edible food donation initiated.
• Received accreditation of environmental management processes 2016 (Environmental Sustainability Report, 2017).

The Environmental AuditTools (Checklist)
• Energy efficiency: To commemorate its 50th year, the Sydney Opera House released its Environmental Sustainability Plan in 2016, which intended to decrease the total energy consumptionof the building by 20 per cent. The plan also set a target of accomplishinga five-star Green Star rating within next seven years.In the first three-year plan, which included the period 2017-19, the Sydney Opera House committed to reduceits carbon footprint by seven per centby 2019 (Brittlebank, 2016).
• Waste management: Recycling construction wastes, e-waste, paper and cardboard, container, and other operations related wastes. Discouraging use of plastic, using disposable takeaway packaging, straws, sauce sachet, coffee cups, and bags.
• Water management:Adopting measures of water efficiency, conducting water quality testing and monitoring.
• Responsible sourcing: Sustainable purchasingpolicy
• Sustainable infrastructure: Ecologically sustainable buildings, ecologically sustainable designs, 4 Star Green Star Performance Rating from
• the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)
• Environmental Financial Audit
• Environmental Performance Audit: health and safety audit, site audit, activity audit, and process audit

The Rationale Behind the Audit Checklist

Environmental audit is a set of management toolsthat areefficient, well-documented, regular, and objective-oriented used to evaluate the performance of organizations, their managements and equipment to protect the environment by implementing management practices of control andassessmentcompliance with the policies of the company including requirements mandated by regulatory authorities and applicable standards (Patriarca, Gravio, Constantino, and Tronci, 2017).

The objectives of environmental audit are manifolds. First, it determines and documents compliance status. Second, it improves environment performance. Third, it helps in management of facilities. Fourth, it increases the overall awareness about environment and the need for its protection. Fifth, it endures development of environmental control management system. Sixth, it improves risk management system. Seventh, it safeguards organizations from potential liabilities and litigations. Lastly, it develops a basis for optimizing environmental resources (Ali and Mostafa, 2015).

Environmental audit is directly linked to the measures of sustainability, which means maneuvering the human behaviors in relation to production and consumption in such a way that it not only ensures wellbeing of the present generation but also leaves enough resource and energy for the future generationsto grow and flourish.

Sydney Opera House is a center of entertainment and creativity, yet the organization is deeply committed to sustainability. The tools of environmental audit for this organizations must address the issues related to its use of resources in its course of business. The tools must also encompass issues that are threatening the environment and its elements. The objective of environmental audit of Sydney Opera House will be to assess how well the organization is conducting itself to fulfil its mission.

Energy efficiency
From this perspective, the first issue that have been included in the checklist is energy and its efficient usage together with endeavors towards green energy or renewable energy sources.This tool will evaluate the amount of energy the organization is saving in its bid to reduce carbon footprint by seven percent by 2019, which is in line with Australian National Target of a reduction of 26-28 per cent by 2030 from the level of 2005 (Brittlebank, 2016).

The Opera House has already made significant progress in this direction with a saving of AU $1 million, which is approx. £592,000, in costs of electricity since 2010. It has reduced its energy consumption by 75 per cent in the same year ((Brittlebank, 2016).

The rationale behind selecting this tool is the fact that the world is heavily dependent on fossil fuel-based energy, production of which is causing maximum amount of pollution of the environment. There is a global concern that this fossilfuel-based growth may not be sustainable because of two prime reasons. First, the supply of fossil fuel is limited, and it is approaching its end. Given the dependence of the worldwide growth on fossil fuel, the termination of supply of fossil fuel will have a devastating effect on the entire human civilization. Therefore, it is high time to look for alternative sustainable energy sources and use them judiciously. Second, energy generated from fossil fuel cause tremendous pollution. It pollutes the air, water, and land. Lowering the reliance on this kind of energy will reduce the pollution level and help the environment breath easy. Using energy efficiently and limiting its wastage are other ways of preventing increasing pollution levels (May,Stahl, and Taisch, 2016).

Waste management
The next tool has been waste management, which is a burning issue for all the organizations as it is the industry produced wastes and their mismanagement that are polluting the environment the most and damaging it almost irrevocably.Nature has its own system of absorbing wastes and convert them into something useful (Nehrenheim, 2014) But the wastes created by human activities are such that they cannot be absorbed by the earth or transformed into useful substances. These are wastes in the true sense of the term that create problems for all the living creatures of the earth. Moreover, the earth has a restricted absorption capacity. The amount of wastes generated by the progress of human civilization along with theirdivers nature are so enormous that it is feared that they will surpass the carrying capacity of the earth. The planet may not bear the burden and will collapse (Miezah et al., 2015). Hence, it is of utmost importance to evaluate the waste management strategies and efforts of organizations.

Sydney Opera House too has its fair share of problems with waste and its management for which the organization has a well-developed strategy of waste recycling and its excellent implementation. This tool will evaluate how efficient these strategies have been. As per the sustainability report 2017-19, the organization has amplified waste recycling from 20 per cent in 2010 to 65 per cent in 2017. It has also adopted ways to responsible disposal of classified wastes and expanding the recycling services.


Water management
The third in the list is water management. Water is turning out to be one of the scarcest resources of the world. Many parts of the world are fighting over access to water resources and people are travelling miles after miles to fetch a pail of safe drinking water. That is why it becomes the responsibility of water abundant countries to stop wasting water and manage water in the best possible ways (Levidow, et al., 2014).The environment audit of Sydney Opera Housewill evaluate the water management strategies of theHouse to gaugeefficiency of the methods they are applying to manage the increasing need of water at the House and ensuring its quality.

Responsible sourcing
The output of any business operation largely depends onwhat input they procure and how they procure.The practices of the suppliers determine the quality of the inputs, and if the suppliers are following unsustainable business practices them it is likely to impact the business and its profitability. Therefore, most businesses in their pursuit of sustainability are ensuring that their purchasing policies also include aspects of sustainability (Guo, 2016). They are compelling the suppliers to follow environment friendly practices and maintain prescribed standards so that they themselves are not affected indirectly by mismanagement of resources by the suppliers. In recent business environment thus purchasing policy have become highly significant. Similarly, what the businesses are producing and how they are producing are very important. Organizations are ensuring that their processes of production are not creating hazard for the environment (Nestle, 2019).

The responsible sourcing tool will assess this aspect of the Opera House. It will examine the purchasing policy of the organization to see whether it is making it mandatory for its suppliers to follow sustainability as their core practice. Similarly, the audit will investigate the food items prepared in the cafeteria and food joints inside the House are using environmentfriendly practices and materials for customer service. The food they offer are of standard quality or not; whether they are taking the health of the customers in consideration while selecting ingredients for the preparations. Another point that is to be investigated under this tool is how fresh are the food ingredients and how the company is ensuring that.

Sustainable infrastructure
Infrastructure refers to the set of structural fundamentals that support the dailyoperation andimpacts the course of human civilization. Sustainable infrastructure indicates the planning, designing, building, and functioning of these structural basics in ways that do not weaken the economic, social, and ecological processes essentialfor maintaining human justice andmultiplicity, and undisturbed functioning of natural systems (CRCResearch, 2019).

For sustainable community development infrastructure is critical.The well-being and the regular lives of individuals across the globe depends on the kind of infrastructure they receive.Similarly, businesses also depend on their infrastructure (IDB, 2018). However, it is no more buildings and machineries that form infrastructure for businesses. In a planet stressed with climate change, the there are other things that include infrastructure which are needed for sustainability of the business. These areas are knowledge, technology, transport, hygiene, and maintenance (Montgomery, 2015). The sustainability of the infrastructure will indicate that the other operations of the business are also aligned with the core values of sustainability.

The sustainable infrastructure tool will scrutinize the physical infrastructure of the Opera House, their environment friendly design,transport, behavior of the employees towards sustainaibility, use of technology, and any accreditation form recognizedauthority.The aim of this tool is the find whether and how well the organization has developed its infrastructure in sync with needs of sustainability.


Environmental Financial Audit
The environmental financial audit evaluates the reflection of the sustainability measures of the organization on their financial statements. It has been observed that environmental matters affect the financial statements. Therefore, it is important to examine the financial statements of the Opera House with respect to International Auditing Practices Statements 1010 (Chiang and Lightbody, 2004). This tool also investigates if the organization is violating any laws or causing damage to the resourcesthat it is suing for running its business processes.

Environmental Performance Audit
The environmental performance audit aims at assessing whether the organization is fulfilling its environmental objectivesand producing in an environmentally safe manner. This includesexamining the health and safety measures of the employees, site inspection, monitoring the activities, and checking the processes for their suitability to the norms of sustainability and environment friendliness (Prasad, 2018).

The environmental audit tools are used to examine different environmental aspects of the operation of the Syndey Opera House. The rationale of selecting these tools are varied depending on which aspects of the environment the business is affecting through their operation. It can be the assessing the physical aspects of the business or the financial and performance side of it. Whatever be the tool used, the ultimate objective is to examine how the Opera House is working toward maintain its commitment to conservation of resources and ensure sustainability. Environmental auditing has many benefits attached to it. It protects the environment and the natural resources the business uses for its operation.

The audit ensures that the companies conform to the law relating to environment both domestic and international. It helps of understand the risks that the company faces if it continues with its current course of actions and fail to change itself in face of the changing environmental threats. That is to say, the company can identify its deficiency points where it needs to work on to ensure sustainability. With the help of environmental audit, companies can recognize the need for training for people whose lack of skills may be creating pollutions and other environmental hazards. The company can view the scope of improvement in their processes that can make them more environment friendly and sustainable.

Participating in environmental audit a company expresses its commitment towards environmental sustainability, safety and health security of its employees and the consumers and the government. It helps build a positive public image and brand awareness that creates a good reputation for the company. A company with great reputation always gets an advantageous position when it comes to securing investment and other facilities. The audit process generally involves internal audits, cross audits, and external audits. The disadvantages of environmental audit are that they can be very expensive, and highly disruptive.


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