Uni's called on to take green power lead

01 Oct 2005Archived News Energetics in the News

PUBLISHED: The Age

Australian universities could cut their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 per cent by switching to eco-friendly power and building design, a new Greenpeace report, a collaboration with Energetics, has found.

The report calls on the nation's tertiary campuses to boost usage of renewable green power, such as hydro and wind energy, by 20 per cent.

This would save the institutions at least 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and substantially boost Australia's renewable energy industry, it says.

The University Clean Energy report, released on Tuesday, found tertiary institutions used just under 6,200 terajoules of energy last year, costing almost $110 million.

This included one million megawatts of electricity, which would have contributed to 0.2 per cent of Australia's annual gas emissions, the report said.

"Universities are substantial energy users that own and operate large facilities," Greenpeace's clean energy campaign team leader Catherine Fitzpatrick said in the report.

"They are also seen as community leaders and have a significant influence on their students, staff, and the general community (and) are well placed to lead the way."

The report encouraged universities to team up to buy their green power under one contract, thus reducing costs and neutralising the projected 10 per cent bill increase.

It also calls on the institutions to address climate change by adopting
eco-friendly building policies.

But such changes to improve light, ventilation and layout must be taken up at the design phase and not "bolted on" as an afterthought, the study says.

International research has shown green work environments can improve health, student productivity and staff performance, and ultimately save Australian universities $40 million a year.

The report, a collaboration with international environmental consultancy Energetics, says those universities that take the lead will reap financial, social and environmental benefits.

"Universities that implement strong green building policies will, over
time, become known for their world-class facilities and potentially attract more staff and students to work on their campuses," it states.

"Those that do not, may well be left behind."

Join the conversation