Solar edges Bendigo closer to net zero

La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus is well on track to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2022, with construction starting this week on a series of solar carports.

The carports will cover close to 200 parking spaces and add more than 1500 solar panels to the campus’ infrastructure.

The project is expected to significantly reduce the campus’ running costs and carbon emissions, edging the University closer to achieving its ambitious goal of net zero carbon emissions on its regional campuses by 2022, and on all campuses by 2029.

The carports are part of a suite of measures the University is implementing to meet its target, including thousands of roof-top solar panels and high-efficiency LED lights, and large-scale organic waste composters.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said projects like this prove the University is serious about sustainability.

“We made a pledge 12 months ago to achieve net zero emissions by 2029, and we are well on track to achieving that,” Professor Dewar said.

“Reducing our carbon emissions is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good economic sense. We expect to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long term through the steps we are taking now.”

Professor Dewar said the University’s regional campuses are playing a major role in reaching Net Zero.

“By the end of 2020 all four regional campuses will have more than 90 per cent of their lighting converted to low-energy LEDs, and a significant proportion of daytime energy use supplied by onsite renewables,” Professor Dewar said.

“Across the University, these measures are reducing our carbon emissions by thousands of tonnes each year – a major investment in our renewable energy future.”

La Trobe students and staff are now using the La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform software developed at the University to monitor energy production and identify further energy efficiency improvements.

La Trobe is internationally recognised for its commitment making the world a better place, ranking fourth in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

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

Regional campus breakdown

Bendigo

  • By the end of 2020 will have 3,318 solar panels with almost 30 per cent of the campus’ electricity generated from onsite renewables.
  • Harvests around two million litres of rainwater per year, used to flush toilets and for irrigation.
  • Had 6,500 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed in 2019.
  • When the campus re-opens for face-to-face teaching, will have a large-scale composter, capable of converting the equivalent of 100kg of organic waste into 20kg of nutrient rich, eco-friendly fertiliser for campus gardens and grounds every day.

Albury-Wodonga

  • By the end of 2020 will have 1,650 solar panels with 40 per cent of the campus’ electricity generated from onsite renewables.
  • Had 1,600 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed in 2019.
  • Has an organics pick-up and processing system, which benefits local farmers.

Shepparton

  • Has 114 solar panels.
  • Had 807 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed in 2019.
  • Has an organics pick-up and processing system, which benefits local farmers.

Mildura

  • Has 340 solar panels.
  • Had 800 high efficiency low-cost LED light fittings installed in 2019.

Image: La Trobe Bendigo Acting Head of Campus, Dr Melanie Bish, and Bendigo Sustainability Group's Mr Colin Lambie.

Media Contact: Kate O’Connor, 0436 189 629, k.o’connor@latrobe.edu.au

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