ISO 14001 for Custom House

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Background

We place a high emphasis on environmental performance and achieved the ISO 14001 international accreditation standard for the Custom House in 2003. The ISO 14000 series of international standards have been developed for incorporating environmental aspects into operations and product standards. The ISO 14001 requires implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) in accordance with defined internationally recognised standards (as set out in the ISO 14001 specification). The ISO 14001 standard specifies requirements for:

  • Establishing an environmental policy
  • Determining environmental aspects and impacts products/activities/services
  • Planning environmental objectives and measurable targets
  • Implementation and operation of programs to meet targets and objectives
  • Checking and corrective action
  • Management review

AN EMS is designed to help an organisation manage the environmental aspects of its activities. This is achieved by reviewing, through audits, the full range of its activities, identifying how each one impacts upon the environment and pursuing a structured programme to secure on-going improvements in environmental performance. The environmental aspects for the Custom House were established following a review of all activities carried out within the building.

The EMS has been put in place as part of the Department’s commitment to achieving ongoing improvements in standards and it complements commitments in the Department’s Statement of Strategy to advance the sustainable development agenda.

What are the benefits of having ISO 14001 accreditation ?

There is an improved perception of the key environmental issues by  employees and a better (greener) public image of the organisation.  Savings can be made by an increase in the efficiency and use of energy and raw materials coupled with the production of less waste for disposal. Where before there was a dependence on the experience and capabilities of the individual(s) to manage the environmental function of an organisation now there is a control system that can be used for guidance. By adhering to the standard the organisation is now in a better position to comply with environmental regulations.

The implementation of the Custom House EMS has had great benefits in real terms in reducing the environmental impacts of the Department’s activities in the following areas:

  • Waste Management
  • Energy Use/Air Emissions
  • Procurement (stationery, electrical equipment, services)
  • Transport
  • Water Emissions

Actions taken include:

Waste Management

  • Recycling of all non-confidential paper waste, newspapers, magazines, toner cartridges, used batteries, plastic bottles, glass, aluminium drink cans, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones etc
  • Used battery collection points for staff
  • LED lamp CFL collection points for staff
  • Household Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) collection point for staff
  • Segregation of organic kitchen waste from our main restaurant in the Custom House for composting 
  • Used cooking oil from the restaurant is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner
  • All our IT equipment is collected by a reputable firm and recycled or disposed of in a proper way

Energy Use / Emissions

  • Use of a number of energy saving devices such as energy efficient lights, the powersave function on electrical office equipment and photocopiers with duplex facilities 
  • A Building Energy Management System (BEMS) is in place in the Custom House which is connected to the heating system enabling more efficient heating management.  Thermostatic valves were installed where possible on radiators. 
  • Timer switches were placed on equipment such as water coolers/ boilers and photocopiers etc. These items were usually left powered up overnight so with timer switches they automatically shut down overnight and come back on early each morning.
  • We are monitoring energy and water consumption usage
  • Boilers are tested for efficiency and emissions on a six monthly basis
  • We are participating in the  ‘Power of One’ campaign
  • All filament bulbs in the Custom House were replaced with energy efficient lamps

Procurement (stationery, electrical equipment, services)

  • All the paper we use for photocopiers, printers etc is made from 100% post consumer waste based products
  • Only photocopiers, printers and PCs with duplex and/or sleep facilities are purchased. All tenders specify that environmentally friendly products and recycled or recyclable packaging should be used with materials/ services provided to us

Transport

  • We promote the annual travel pass scheme within the Department
  • Improved facilities for cyclists are in place, including showers, lockers etc.
  • We encourage the Cycle-to-Work scheme within the Department
  • We emphasise the use of public transport for official business.

Water Emissions

  • Water efficient spring loaded taps are in place
  • Water saving devices have been installed in some of the cisterns

Awareness

  • We regularly inform staff through our newsletter and display notices as to how they could make energy savings in the office and at home.
  • Notices were also sent to all sections asking them to be mindful of the amounts (reports, bulletins etc.) actually needed when placing orders with outside printers.
  • Most of our publications are available online.
  • Participating in the OPW’s ‘Optimising Power at Work’, Staff Energy Awareness Campaign.  Providing information to increase awareness and to enable staff to make the changes in office culture and implement best environmental management practice.
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