A $75 million initiative combining 20 separate projects will ensure La Trobe will have Net Zero emissions by 2029.
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.
The initiative was officially launched by Professor Dewar and University Chancellor John Brumby today. It includes the installation of more than 7 000 solar panels on 27 buildings across the Melbourne campus, starting next month. That’s the equivalent of more than 17 kilometres of panels laid end to end or more than 400 home solar systems. At the peak of solar efficiency, the panels will supply up to half of the campus’ daytime power usage.
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.
As part of the plan, a large-scale composter has already been installed at the Melbourne campus. The unit can each day turn the equivalent of 100kg of organic waste into 20kg of nutrient rich, eco-friendly fertiliser for campus gardens and grounds. Ultimately 100 percent of campus organic waste will be diverted from landfill, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
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.
Picture: Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar, Ged Kearney MP, La Trobe student Tyler Barry, Chancellor John Brumby.
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