La Trobe University is committed to being sustainable for today and tomorrow. We will become carbon neutral by 2029 and our regional campuses are set to become carbon neutral by 2022.
The goals of our Net Zero program are to:
- Develop, fund and deliver the university wide program
- Fast track our net zero emissions
- Ensure security, reliability, cost-certainty of supply
- Deliver projects to exceed environmental, financial and community targets
- Prepare and plan for our University City of the Future transformation
- Focus on the benefits for our students, faculty and the wider community
Our Net Zero strategy is expected to deliver a number of benefits and opportunities:
- Our regional campuses will become Net Zero by 2022
- La Trobe University will become carbon neutral by 2029
- A University developed energy analytics platform (LEAP), to provide learning, teaching and economic benefits and operate as a “Living Lab”
- Opportunity for La Trobe University to become a leader in sustainability
As part of our $75 million investment, we’re rolling out a number of projects to help us reach our goal.
Current and ongoing projects
La Trobe solar farm
We’re creating a 3.5 hectare solar farm at our Bundoora Campus - the largest urban solar farm in Victoria.
Around 4,300 solar panels will generate enough renewable energy to reduce total University emissions by 15 per cent and eliminate household emissions for the equivalent of the entire neighbouring suburb of Kingsbury.
The project includes a 2.9 megawatt solar energy system and a 2.5 megawatt battery energy store system, taking total solar generation at the Bundoora campus to 5.8 megawatts.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, we’ll be planting over 40,000 plants and over 600 trees to improve the biodiversity of the site, with a focus on locally indigenous species.
The project commences in October 2023 and will be completed by December 2024.
Using our La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP), we continue to look at ways we can optimise our Building Management System (BMS) to improve our air-conditioning, electricity and gas consumption rates.
Biological Sciences 2 Building Mechanical Upgrade – Melbourne Campus
Our Biological Sciences 2 (BS2) building has become the University’s first mechanically optimised building following a series of energy efficiency upgrades as part of the Net Zero program. The project was funded by the Victorian Government’s Business Recovery Energy Efficiency Fund (BREEF), which supports businesses to reduce their energy use.
A detailed study of the building’s consumption led to a range of energy conservation measures being implemented since June 2021 in an effort to make the building run more efficiently, including:
- Upgrades to the air handling units
- Optimisation of the cooling system
- Upgrades to the pumps used to pump hot and chilled water around the building for heating and cooling
- Installation of sensors that can be used to control lighting so that lights switch off when the building isn’t in use
A 12-month measurement and validation process is now underway, which will help academics and students from the University to use the La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP) to track improvements to the building’s energy consumption.
Through this project, it’s anticipated that our carbon emissions will decrease by 300 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent.
The Biological Sciences 2 Building Mechanical Upgrade is supported by the Victorian Government through the Business Recovery Energy Efficiency Fund Capital Works stream, supporting the installation of energy saving equipment.
La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP)
We’ve been working with La Trobe academics and students from the Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition to create the La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP) - an energy analysis platform that monitors consumption patterns and building performance, enabling us to create actionable insights to reduce our energy consumption across our campuses.
La Trobe University recently won TEFMA's Clever Campus Innovation Award for its work in designing, developing and deploying LEAP. Read more about how the team collaborated with Microsoft experts to develop the LEAP platform.
LED lighting upgrade
We’ve upgraded to energy efficient LED lighting solutions across all our campuses to reduce power consumption, improve quality of light and reduce waste as LEDs last longer with up to 50,000 hours of life.
Stage 1 of this project was completed in 2020, with 24,000 energy efficient LED lights installed across all campuses, reducing our lighting energy consumption by more than 50% in over 100 buildings.
Stage 2 of the project concluded in March 2022 and included the replacement of approximately 19,000 lights in more than 40 buildings across our campuses.
The University now has over 40,000 LED lights fitted throughout the university in total, reducing our total emissions by over 15% within 12 months.
Pictured: New LED lights were installed in the lecture theatre at the Mildura Campus.
Renewable energy - Melbourne Campus rooftop solar
We’ve installed over 7,500 solar panels on more than 25 buildings at the Melbourne Campus – the equivalent of 17 kms of solar panels end to end – or the distance between our Melbourne (Bundoora) and City campuses.
The new solar system will generate 2.5 Mw of renewable power – the equivalent of 500 household solar systems. At the peak of solar efficiency, the panels supply over 50% of the campus’ daytime power usage during peak periods.
The new solar system will also decrease La Trobe’s CO2 emissions by 4,000 tonnes per year, reducing our impact on climate change. Read more about the launch of our new solar system and see how it's helping us reach Net Zero:
Our Melbourne Campus solar system is in addition to the 3,300 solar panels already in place at our regional campuses. These generate more than 1.1 Mw of renewable power across the regions, making up more than 18% of all regional consumption and contributing to a 14% electricity reduction at Bendigo and 2 21% electricity reduction at Albury-Wodonga.
Pictured: An aerial view of some of the 7,500 rooftop solar panels at the Melbourne Campus.
Waste reduction and organic recycling
We were the first university in Australia to utilise the SoilFood concept – an on-site composting unit based at our Melbourne and Bendigo Campuses that diverts organic waste from landfill and will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%.
Our composting unit can turn the equivalent of 100kg of organic waste into 20kg of a nutrient rich, eco-friendly fertiliser, generated cost-free and re-used on campus gardens and grounds. Learn more about the program:
Regional Solar Carports and Rooftops
The Regional Solar Carports and Rooftops project was completed in January 2021 and will help to reduce carbon emissions across all regional campuses by more than 20% - a significant step towards these campuses reaching the 2022 net zero target.
- In Bendigo, solar carports were constructed in Car Parks 1 and 2, including almost 1,500 solar panels covering close to 200 parking spaces. Rooftop solar panels were also installed on the GDP, SSC and ED buildings. These works see a combined total of more than 1,900 solar panels and 800kw added to the campus, which is the equivalent of 160 household systems. More than 30% of total electricity consumption at Bendigo is now being generated by on-site renewables.
- A second solar carport was built at the Albury-Wodonga Campus with around 270 panels. This will produce almost 110kw – roughly the equivalent of over 25 household systems and with more than 40% of total electricity consumption at Albury-Wodonga now being generated by on-site renewables.
Read more about the project in Bendigo see one of the solar carports at the campus come to life:
Rooftop Solar - Mildura Campus
In 2021, we installed completed the installation of a 130kw rooftop solar system at the campus - enough to power 25 houses. At peak efficiency, the solar system supplies more than 100% of the campus’ daytime energy use.
The renewable energy generated from our rooftop solar is also stored on site via our Tesla Power Wall Battery System so that it can continue to serve us in the future.
HHS1 Electrification - Bendigo Campus
The HHS1 building at our Bendigo Campus is the first building to transition from gas to electric as part of our Net Zero program. End of life gas boilers and gas hot water services have been removed and replaced with an electric heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) solution. The new HVAC system is more sustainable and renewable, improving thermal comfort for students and staff. The project was completed in 2022.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Chargers
We’ve installed a total of 76 electric vehicle (EV) chargers across our Melbourne (Bundoora), Bendigo and Albury Wodonga campuses as part of our Net Zero journey. EV charging is available for staff, students, visitors and the general public to use, along with our passenger fleet vehicles. We’re making the switch to electric vehicles across our campuses, replacing our entire passenger fleet over the coming years. We’ll eliminate 200,000 kilograms of CO2 each year once we’ve transitioned to a fully electric fleet.
Charging stations are ready to use at Melbourne (Bundoora), Bendigo and Albury Wodonga campuses. We’ll be installing chargers at our Mildura and Shepparton campuses into 2024, in line with our work programs.
For information on impacts and outages related to the Net Zero program, visit www.latrobe.edu.au/io/impacts-and-outages