Energy and Water
Energy, Emissions and Climate Change
La Trobe is a significant energy user, consuming around 260,000 Gigajoules of natural gas and 40,000,000 Kilowatt hours of grid-sourced electricity annually.
Our electricity use is equivalent to around 8,000 Victorian households. The majority of that is used to heat, cool and ventilate buildings and operate laboratory equipment.
Our gas use is equivalent to around 4,500 Victorian households. With the majority being used on our Melbourne Campus to generate high temperature hot water which is pumped around the campus and used to heat and cool buildings using heat exchangers and absorption chillers.
We’re dedicated to improving the energy efficiency of our operations and reducing energy related greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning to 100% renewable energy.
La Trobe University recognises the extreme risks climate change poses to the economic, ecological and social futures of our students, staff and communities, both local and international. We accept the scientific consensus that responding to climate change requires ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes to all aspects of society’.
La Trobe is committed to demonstrating leadership on climate change in our research, teaching and operations.
We will be carbon neutral by 2029 and will develop the best sustainability and climate-resilient practices across our campuses. Climate adaptation and community resilience plans have been developed for our Melbourne Campus and relevant actions within these plans will be implemented across our other Victorian campuses.
We ensure that energy efficiency and other sustainable design elements are incorporated into our new buildings and space renovations via La Trobe's Design Standards which are reviewed and updated annually to ensure alignment with current best practices.
Energy consumption is monitored in each of our buildings and across our campuses. The Infrastructure & Operations Group has partnered with 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.
Consumption levels for the whole University are reported quarterly and annually:
Most of the potable water consumption across our campuses comes from:
- Watering our gardens and sports fields,
- Operating heating and cooling systems in buildings,
- Showers and toilet flushing, and
- Construction activities.
La Trobe has a target of reducing its potable water usage by 10% below 2010 levels by 2022.
Some of the significant initiatives we’ve delivered so far include:
- Installation of more than half a megalitre of rainwater storage at our Bendigo Campus, resulting in a significant amount of rainwater use for toilet flushing across the campus.
- Connection to the local reclaimed water network at our Albury-Wodonga Campus, allowing us to use recycled water for irrigation.
- Installation of smart, automated irrigation systems that use real-time weather and soil moisture data to minimise water use.
- Upgrades to water efficient fixtures and fittings such as toilet pans, taps and shower heads.
- Ongoing management of the string of water bodies on our Melbourne Campus that form the Nangak Tamboree biodiverse corridor. These water bodies clean stormwater prior to it entering the Darebin Creek and provide stormwater storage for La Trobe which is extracted and used for irrigation, toilet flushing and mechanical services.
The protection and improvement of our on-campus and nearby lakes and creeks is a focus of the ISO 14001 certified environmental management system (EMS) maintained by the Infrastructure and Operations Group. Some of the focus areas include:
- Ensuring grease and gross pollutant traps are appropriately serviced,
- Establishing and practicing procedures to deal with environmental incidents such as spills, leaks or flooding, and
- Implementing water sensitive urban design initiatives. These include indigenous plantings around water bodies to filter pollutants and minimising non-permeable surfaces. More details on the types of water sensitive urban design initiatives that we strive to incorporate on our campuses can be found in our Design Standards.
Water consumption is monitored in each of our buildings and across our campuses. Consumption levels for the whole University are reported quarterly and annually: