ACU’s strong performance in sustainability and green initiatives is something we can be proud of, but there are plenty of challenges ahead as we pursue ambitious targets to reduce our energy and water consumption and to improve our waste management and recycling.
For example, energy prices across Australia are increasing and ACU will face an increase in its energy costs of at least 40% in 2018. This would lift the University’s energy bill to over $5m per year.
Meanwhile, drought is looming in south-eastern Australia and this will put pressure on water prices and availability. As a major water consumer, this will increase our obligation to the community and our environment to be water efficient.
Our continued growth in student numbers also means that we will inevitably generate more waste, as the disposal volume via our bins is tightly linked to the number of students on campus.
Tackling the green challenge together
By 2020, ACU aims to achieve a 7% increase in energy efficiency and water conservation. We’re also pursuing a target of 70% minimum rate of re-use and recycling of the total amount of waste that we generate by 2019. If achieved, this will place ACU in the top five Australian universities for waste management.
The key to ensuring ACU remains as a green leader lies in acknowledging the role we can all play to limit ACU’s environmental impact - as an organisation, and as individuals.
How you can help reduce our environmental footprint:
Switch off lights in unoccupied rooms.
Use the right bin. Did you know that almost half of the waste in ACU’s landfill bins could be recycled? See the ACU Recycling Guide for details.
Alert the ACU Campus Concierge team to any leaking taps or toilets or drinking fountains, via a service desk request.
Avoid printing – but when you need to, print on both sides of the paper. To make this easier, remember to make ‘Print on both sides’ a default setting in Microsoft Office.
Pick up litter - This week is Keep Australia Beautiful week. What will you do when you spot litter and rubbish as you walk about?
Little actions – big difference!
When hundreds of individuals take these simple actions, the cumulative effect is profound. For instance, if staff reduced their printing by just 10% the University would cut its paper consumption by one and a half million sheets of paper and save around $70,000. If every staff member turned off the lights in unoccupied meeting rooms and offices, ACU would avoid some of the heavy impact of rising energy prices.
You can read more about ACU’s sustainability initiatives on the ACU website.