La Trobe University and the Carbon Tax
La Trobe University has calculated it is about quarter of a million dollars better off under the new carbon tax regime because it produces energy for its Melbourne campus from its own gas-fired cogeneration plant.
‘More importantly, our carbon emissions would be much higher if we were to rely on brown coal generators that supply most of the rest of Victoria,’ says Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) Professor Carol Adams.
‘So the Carbon Pricing Mechanism highlights our efforts in acting responsibly and looking after the interests of today’s students and those of future generations.’
La Trobe University’s co-generation plant produces electricity along with hot water and heating from the one natural gas energy source. It has operated for nearly two decades and is twice as carbon efficient as brown coal power generation.
With some 25,000 staff and students on the Melbourne campus, the plant serves a population the size of a small city.
‘La Trobe is the only university on the carbon tax list because we produce so much of our own energy, sometimes even selling it back into the State grid. But it’s much cleaner and less polluting energy than that produced by other fossil fuels,’ says Professor Adams.
La Trobe continually monitors its sustainability performance, a process which involves contributions from more than 100 people from all areas of the University.
‘We publish this data annually and are one of the few universities in the world to prepare such a thorough report,’ she says. ‘Our report is verified by external assurers and uses the Global Reporting Initiative at A+ application level.’
The report outlines La Trobe’s environmental, social and economic impact as well as the work it is doing through education, research and community engagement.
‘While we have plans in place to achieve long-term targets, our performance in energy and water consumption, as well as emissions resulting from staff business travel, leave room for improvement.’
To help achieve its energy use target by 2020, La Trobe has joined Victoria’s ‘Greener Government Building Program.
Read more about the full range of sustainability activity at La Trobe here: www.latrobe.edu.au/sustainability
The latest annual report, ‘Creating Futures’ is available for here: www.latrobe.edu.au/sustainability/report
La Trobe’s previous report, ‘Responsible Futures’ won the 'Best First Time' sustainability report award from ‘corporateregister.com global’, the world’s largest directory of non-financial reports comprising almost 40,000 reports from 160 countries, read more: www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2011/article/sustainability-efforts-awarded