Shepparton in Vic Net Zero target first

La Trobe University’s Shepparton campus is part of an ambitious project announced today for La Trobe to become Victoria’s first zero-emissions University.

A $75 million initiative combining 20 separate projects will ensure La Trobe will have Net Zero emissions by 2029.

The Shepparton campus is already playing its part, with 115 solar panels installed and now supplying 36 per cent of the campus’ daytime power usage when running at the peak of solar efficiency.

As part of the new project officially launched by Professor Dewar and University Chancellor John Brumby in Melbourne today, the campus will have 900 high-efficiency low cost LED lights installed across the campus in coming months.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the University was committed to making real change for long-term benefit.

“La Trobe recognises the social, environmental and economic importance of reducing our carbon footprint. That’s why we have set an ambitious target to become the first University in Victoria to meet this important goal.

“Not only is reducing our carbon emissions the right thing to do, it also makes good economic and environmental sense. Rather than simply buy carbon credits, we’ve got a clear plan for action and we are making genuine, local changes to become more efficient and make a deliberate switch to renewables.

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In excess of 3 300 solar panels have already been installed on rooftops at regional campuses in Mildura, Shepparton, Bendigo and Albury Wodonga.

More than 50 000 high-efficiency low cost LED lights will also be progressively installed in and around University buildings to permanently reduce overall power consumption.

The University is also harnessing the University’s in-house research and technology expertise to reduce emissions. World class data analytics researchers and their students are designing and implementing the La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP) – not only monitoring energy consumption in up to 50 smart buildings, but also making lighting, heating and cooling adjustments in real time to reduce energy consumption.

La Trobe is Victoria’s only state-wide University, with significant landholdings right across the state, and not just on its campuses at Mildura, Bendigo, Shepparton and Albury-Wodonga.  The University is present in different climate zones throughout Victoria, including areas of the state which receive high levels of sunshine year-round.  This means the University is also in the early stages of investigation with industry and government to assess the viability of solar farms on University land that will not only create clean energy, but also provide an opportunity for research and innovation.

Vice President Strategy and Development Natalie MacDonald said this initiative was the obvious next step in the University’s long-term sustainability plan.

“Our Net Zero commitment builds on the great sustainability work already underway. A diverse eco-corridor runs through our Melbourne campus. We were the first Australian University to commit to divestment of fossil fuel intensive investments in 2016. We are the first University nationally to receive a six star rating for sustainable large-scale developments and our University City of the Future plan is embracing best practice green building practices,” she said.

La Trobe University is Victoria’s third oldest University and continues to sit in the top 400 universities in the world in all three major global rankings – the QS, Times Higher Education and Academic Ranking of World Universities.

More information the Net Zero plan can be found at the University’s website.

Regional campus breakdown

Shepparton

· Already has 115 solar panels, which, at peak efficiency, supply 36 per cent of the campus’ daytime energy use. That’s the equivalent of 200 metres of panels laid end-to-end, or eight home solar systems.

· By the end of 2019 will have 900 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed, covering 100 per cent of the campus’ lighting.

· Already has an organics pick-up and processing system, which benefits local farmers.

Bendigo

· Already has 1,400 solar panels, which, at peak efficiency, supply more than half of the campus’ daytime energy use. That’s the equivalent of 3kms of panels laid end-to-end, or 95 home solar systems.

· Already harvests around two million litres of rainwater per year, used to flush toilets and for irrigation.

· By the end of 2019 will have 9,000 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed, covering 100 per cent of the campus’ lighting.

· By the end of 2019 will have a large-scale composter, which can each day turn the equivalent of 100kg of organic waste into 20kg of nutrient rich, eco-friendly fertiliser for campus gardens and grounds.

Albury-Wodonga

· Already has 1380 solar panels, which, at peak efficiency, supply almost 90 per cent of the campus’ daytime energy use. That’s the equivalent of 3kms of panels laid end-to-end, or 95 home solar systems.

· Already has an organics pick-up and processing system, which benefits local farms.

· By the end of 2019 will have high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed, covering 100 per cent of the campus’ lighting.

Mildura

· Already has 340 solar panels, which, at peak efficiency, supply 100 per cent of the campus’ daytime energy use. That’s the equivalent of 600 metres of panels, laid end-to-end, or 24 home solar systems.

· By the end of 2019 will have 700 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed, covering 100 per cent of the campus’ lighting.

Media Contact | Claire Bowers, 0437 279 903, c.bowers@latrobe.edu.au

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