World Student Environment Summit 2010 – Assignment 1 Prepared by Samuel Green and Sasha Claughton
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives Murdoch University is renowned for its environmental and sustainability focussed courses. In the last few years the administration has taken measures to ensure that it is practising what it preaches by seeking to minimise the ecological footprint of the organisation. One way that it is going about doing this is by reducing the carbon emissions associated with its energy use. In December 2008, Murdoch installed a 192 panel 26kW solar photo-voltaic array on the north facing roof of the Murdoch campus main library. This was at an expense of 250,000 Australian dollars and made Murdoch the largest private electricity generator in Western Australia. The system produced an average of 130 kilowatt hours per day. The university continued its commitment to reducing its carbon foot print by installing an additional 171 panel 30kW system in December 2009. This more than doubled the generating capacity to a total of 56kW, producing an average of 280 kilowatt hours per day, or enough to power 45 average Australian homes. It is expected that the combined system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 53 tonnes a year. From a monetary point of view there were more cost effective options available for reducing emissions
installing a photo-voltaic system was that it would be a symbolic gesture to inspire people entering the campus and would act as an educational tool for staff and students. The upgrade to the system in 2009 has also included an updated website that will allow students, staff and members of the community to log on and check in real time how much energy the individual and combined systems are producing. Data from
monitoring and and
Murdoch Environmental Programme Manager Ms Caroline Minton and Vice Chancellor John Yovich viewing the initial 26kW system.
radiation will also now be shown on the website. It is intended that the system will be utilised by students in the university's
Energy Studies programme. Murdoch's Environmental Programme Manager Caroline
Minton stated that “The website will be an excellent tool for all of our students because they will be able to track the performance of each system with the variables and ambient conditions”. Unfortunately, the 56kW system still only produces about 1% of the campus’ energy demand. The university therefore decided to purchase 15% of its electricity as 'green power' from the state electricity
provider. The 'green power' scheme allows consumers to purchase electricity from certified renewable energy sources at a premium rate. It was intended that the percentage of 'green power' used by Murdoch be raised to 16% this financial year but the service provider 'Synergy' is struggling to find the necessary generating capacity to do so. This increased demand for Green energy may also provide opportunities for increased green energy production locally, encouraging further growth in the local sustainable energy sector. Murdoch's decision to employ Environmental Programme Manager, Ms Caroline Minton has been instrumental in the administration's ability to implement these forward thinking environmental initiatives. Further emission reduction initiatives currently recently implemented by Murdoch include: •
A detailed analysis of the University’s carbon and greenhouse footprints
Recycling 400 twin sets of fluorescent light fittings containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and replacing them with safer and more energy-efficient lights.
Development of software to better track and manage the University’s vehicle use and fuel consumption
The addition of three secure bicycle compounds and numerous new bike racks to encourage people to cycle to campus.
The drafting of a university energy policy focussed on achieving energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions through comprehensive monitoring, annual reporting, green building design and stakeholder education.
The recent initiatives by Murdoch demonstrate the organisation's renewed commitment to act as a catalyst for positive social change and its desire to remain at the forefront of sustainable practice in the tertiary education sector. Murdoch will continue to seek new and innovative ways to reduce its ecological footprint, inspire its students and further the development of a sustainable global community.
Murdoch students and solar panels making the most of a sunny winter's day.