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University of Adelaide tracking well against $14 million Sustainability Plan

NOVEMBER 2019. In 2017, the University of Adelaide announced their Campus Sustainability Plan, with an overall investment of $14.4 million including $12.8 million allocated to carbon emission reductions across three campuses.

As the first Founding Partner of Carbon Neutral Adelaide, we are happy to share the strides they are making towards their targets.

The first Progress Report is now available for 2017-2018. This report outlines how the University is tracking against targets and strategies at the half-way point of the Campus Sustainability Plan. It also summarises achievements, opportunities and challenges to date.

The report demonstrates how the University of Adelaide has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reveals a new Sustainability Strategy that will further guide the University’s carbon reduction efforts.

The report details action in saving energy, reducing waste, improving purchasing decisions, and engaging students and staff in changes for sustainability.

The University reports that campus sustainability projects are delivering 4,389 Gigajoules of energy savings, $295,000 of electricity savings, and avoiding 597 tonnes of carbon-equivalent emissions every year.

Key achievements against original targets include:


ACHIEVED IN 2017/2018

2 megawatts of renewable energy installed by 2020

658 kilowatts  installed

15% reduction in energy intensity by 2020, on the 2014 baseline

12% reduction in energy intensity achieved

50% diversion in waste to landfill by 2020

34% diversion in waste to landfill

10% annual increase in procurement on sustainably and ethically sources office supplies (2015 baseline)

43% increase on 2017 and 50% increase on baseline

Carbon emissions have fallen from 73,354 tonnes in 2016 to 72,616 tonnes in 2019.

The University has the equivalent of 21,000 full time students, and 3,400 full time staff. Over the past two years they have observed a groundswell of  sustainability actions including the creation of student clubs focused on environmental and social justice issues.

An engaged group of staff have begun embedding environmentally-responsible decision making into planning, policy and processes across all three campuses of Waite, Roseworthy and North Terrace.

Highlights from the report during this period include:

  • 3,000+ LED lights retrofitted.
  • 1,672 rooftop solar panels installed.
  • 114 low-flow taps installed in high-use bathrooms at North Terrace.
  • More than 172 Megalitres of recycled water used annually to irrigate campus grounds.
  • 423,500+ people reached through @EcoversityUoA social media.
  • 16,000+ views of the ‘Sustainability on Campus’ video, created in 2018 with 25 staff and students.
  • Won three national awards and shortlisted for two others at the Australasian Green Gown Awards in 2017.
  • 100,000+ disposable coffee cups avoided at North Terrace through coffee cup waste campaigns and the Hub Mug Wall.
  • 95% of all copy paper purchased was certified carbon neutral in 2018.
  • Donated 4,487 kilograms of excess food from campus eateries to OzHarvest, which is the equivalent of providing disadvantaged South Australians with 13,462 meals.
  • Sponsored 24 students in their career development through the Ecoversity Award.
  • Three building management systems upgraded to improve space heating and cooling efficiency and reduce energy wastage.
  • An anaerobic digestion system (BioBin) installed at Roseworthy campus to recycle compostable packaging and food waste.

The University has a goal of net zero emissions by 2050, which puts them among leading institutions and businesses nationally.

Download the Progress Report

Read the original announcement

“We are proud of our role in providing sustainable solutions for communities, business, and industry and are committed to decreasing the environmental impact of our operations.”

Bruce Lines

Chief Operating Officer, University of Adelaide