Australian Catholic University (ACU) has emerged as an industry leader in environmental sustainability, claiming the Best Newcomer Award at last week’s 2015 Green Gown Awards Australasia.
Receiving a first-ever Green Gown, ACU has been recognised for its significant sustainability development in recent years that has seen the University become the most energy efficient in Australia, and a leader in water conservation and waste management.
The Green Gown Awards recognise excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector in the Australasian region, becoming the industry benchmark.
ACU Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice‐Chancellor, Dr Stephen Weller, said the award highlighted the University’s commitment to sustainability and is a catalyst for further program development.
“Winning the Best Newcomer Award is a great recognition of the significant investment Australian Catholic University has made in recent years towards becoming an industry leader in sustainability,” Dr Weller said.
“While this achievement should be celebrated, its greatest impact will be the continued expansion and improvement of our programs to maintain and grow our standing as a sustainability champion in the sector.”
Major infrastructure developments and improvements such as the recently constructed 6-Star Green Star rated Daniel Mannix Building in Melbourne have resulted in significant reduction in energy use.
The addition of more than 1000 bins placed across all campuses has seen the University increase recycling to 40 per cent of all waste produced in 2014, up from 15 per cent in 2011.
Paper use has reduced by more than half since 2013, with the University saving enough paper to build a pile 205 metre-high – almost three times the height of North Sydney Campus’s Tenison Woods House.
Sustainability Coordinator Mark Doggett said the success of the sustainability strategy has been down to the buy-in from staff and students from across the University.
“What we have achieved in just a few short years has been nothing short of remarkable and much of this success has been a direct result of the involvement of staff and students in becoming active participants in our sustainability initiatives,” Mr Doggett said.
The Green Gown Awards Australasia have been recognising sustainability excellence for the past six years and are facilitated by Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability (ACTS): a non-profit member based organisation representing higher and further education institutions within Australia and New Zealand.
The Best Newcomer Award recognises the achievements of an institution not previously short-listed. Find out more about the Green Gown Awards.