South Australia: cremation, burial and memorial services
Centennial Park Cemetery Authority is located in Pasadena, SA. It is owned jointly by the Cities of Mitcham and Unley (the Constituent Councils), and covers an area of 40 hectares. It is South Australia’s largest provider of funeral services. The cemetery was established in 1936 with its first burial in 1938. Cremation services commenced in 1955.
Staff and operations: The organisation employs approximately 54 staff. Employees work in the areas of Operations, Chapel Services, Memorial Sales, Finance and Administration. Operations employ the greatest number for activities involving cremations, burials, infrastructure and grounds maintenance. Indoor staff comprise the Memorial Sales team, finance and administrative support. Jubilee Complex staff is employed on a casual basis to meet with service demand.
Environmental Management Plan
Centennial Park has already put steps in place for ongoing sustainable development. An Environmental Management Plan with 6 key ecological objectives is a guide for the medium to long term:
- Focusing on ecologically sustainable development across the organisation.
- Managing waste sustainably: minimising waste and implementing resource recovery.
- Actively addressing climate change through low energy use.
- Managing and using water resources sustainably.
- Conserving and enhancing existing natural resources effectively.
- Actively supporting third party suppliers with demonstrated environmentally sustainable practices.
The organisation prides itself on innovation and proactive approaches to environmental management. It is recognised as a leader within the cemetery industry, both nationally and internationally. Centennial Park is committed to responsible corporate citizenship. Minimal environmental impact is one way the organisation feels it is demonstrating that commitment.
At the community level, Centennial Park is a regional subsidiary of Local Government and a provider of community services. It plays a key role in ecologically sustainable development and environmental management by being part of a general change in mindset within its community. The organisation and its staff lead by example.
Despite Centennial Park’s positive environmental track record, many challenges still exist. The organisation has addressed these in the Environmental Management Plan.
Core sustainability solutions
Measuring emissions: Centennial Park’s first step was to measure the environmental impact from the cemetery’s operations. Pangolin Associates conducts annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions assessments and helps identify reduction opportunities.
Important to Centennial Park, Pangolin’s auditors are accredited with the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Regulator. They are registered Greenhouse and Energy Auditors (Category 1 and Category 2), under 75A of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007. These accreditations ensured the organisation complies with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) if required.
Offsetting emissions: Pangolin Associates also purchases and manages certified carbon credits on Centennial Park’s behalf. The carbon credits offset emissions the organisation cannot eliminate.
Energy efficiencies: Centennial Park has implemented energy efficiencies, lowering costs and reducing electricity consumption by as much as 15 to 20%. Efficiencies include:
- Changing light fittings from T8s to T5s, incandescent to CFL, and 50w halogen lighting to CFL
- Installing motion sensors to turn lights on in areas that staff come and go, such as toilets and the photocopier room
- Introducing voltage optimisation equipment to reduce electricity usage across most of Centennial’s operations
- Installing a building Management System in both the Jubilee Complex and Administration Building to better manage and monitor the efficient operation of air conditioning
- Development of a new operations complex to remove the duplication of facilities.
Water efficiencies: The organisation has also implemented practical water efficiency solutions. This includes:
- Reducing the number of water taps in the gardens
- Reducing unnecessary water flow through pressure reduction devices within buildings
- Installing dual flush cisterns where appropriate
- Installing waterless urinals
- Using low water use plants in garden developments
- Installing subsurface irrigation wherever possible.
The new operations complex provides for the capture of rainwater to supplement irrigations needs. Further opportunities to capture and reuse storm water remain under investigation.
Waste: Implementation of simple, effective measures has reduced waste going to landfill by nearly 95%. This also represents a substantial cost reduction at a time when waste disposal fees are escalating. Measures include:
- Implementing green waste bins around the facility with multilingual signage
- Increasing internal recycling facilities for all forms of waste.
Update 2013: renewable energy
The cemetery is installing two 30 kW systems and more than 240 solar panels in December 2013. Read more: South Australia’s solar-powered cemetery (Sustainability Matters).
Education at Centennial Park
The staff understands clearly their impact on the environment. Centennial Park has set up an environment committee and an intranet home page where green actions can be communicated to others. Through education innovative changes continue to develop, providing greener solutions to many activities.
“Centennial Park has been working in partnership with Pangolin Associates to progressively reduce the carbon emissions of the organisation. Without proper measurement there is no opportunity to manage the outcome and drive sustainable changes. The expertise of Pangolin continues to help us measure and improve our business with expert knowledge and experience.”
Bryan Elliott, CEO, Centennial Park Cemetery Authority