Each year Federation University has been making steady improvements to its ecological footprint and 2015 was no exception. While there is still a long way to go, the University has made some significant improvements, exceeding the Sustainability Committee’s targets and goals set by the University Charter.
Achievements worth noting from the past year include:
- A 10% (2,200 tonne) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This is a 15% reduction since 2013, well over the 10% target.
- An 11% reduction in water use, the equivalent of 27 years’ of water use for a four-person household. This is a 7% reduction compared to 2013 figures, surpassing our goal of a 5% reduction.
- Improvements in fuel consumption on the vehicle fleet by 12%, or 26,700 litres. We achieved this goal by using more diesel vehicles and public transport.
- A 14% reduction in paper consumption, equivalent to 2,400 reams this means we’ve saved about 1,440 trees.
- An increase in recycling by 19% since 2013 and a 14% reduction in landfill waste — both targets far exceeded our 10% goal.
- Finally, there was a 9% reduction in electricity consumption, equivalent to a whopping 96 years’ worth of electricity consumption for a typical four-person household.
In the last two years, the University has invested $1.5 million to ensure our greenhouse gas emissions continue to decline and a further $1 million will spent in the coming year. The money will be used to install large-scale solar panels, make replacements to traditional incandescent lights with more energy-efficient LED lighting and install new gas heating systems. In conjunction with improvements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in-line with or below the minimum 5% annual reduction as imposed by the University charter, other strategies will be implemented to reduce vehicle use and improve water systems. Of particular interest to students, the much needed organic waste program to be implemented this year introduces the recycling of food scraps from not only the Mt Helen crèche, the Hub, and Ruby’s, but also Prospects Restaurant located at the SMB campus.
If you are interested in viewing the full report, you can view it here on the University’s website.
To have a greater involvement in sustainable practices at FedUni, feel free to join the Federation University Student Sustainability Society’s (FUSSS) Facebook page. You can also contact me (Jess Powell) via email if you have any ideas that you would like to see implemented at FedUni and I will endeavour to present them to the Sustainability Committee.
Words by Jess Powell