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Data analytics and smart buildings for Net Zero emissions by 2029

Photo Credit: La Trobe University

Australia’s La Trobe University is committed to making real change for long-term benefit. It recognises the social, environmental and economic importance of reducing the carbon footprint.

Net Zero emissions

This is why the University had set an ambitious target to become the first university in Victoria to meet this important goal.

According to a recent press release, 20 separate projects are being combined by an AU$ 75 million initiative that will ensure the University will have Net Zero emissions by 2029.

Reducing carbon emissions is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good economic and environmental sense.

Instead of merely buying carbon credits, there is a clear plan of action and the University is making genuine, local changes to become more efficient and make a deliberate switch to renewables.

Using renewables

The initiative includes the installation of more than 7,000 solar panels on 27 buildings across the Melbourne campus.

This is the equivalent of more than 17 kilometres of panels laid end to end or more than 400 home solar systems.

At the peak of solar efficiency, the panels will supply up to half of the campus’ daytime power usage.

In excess of 3,300 solar panels have already been installed on rooftops at regional campuses in Mildura, Shepparton, Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga.

Additionally, more than 50,000 high-efficiency low cost LED lights will be progressively installed in and around University buildings to permanently reduce overall power consumption.

As part of the plan, a large-scale composter has already been installed at the Melbourne campus.

The unit can turn the equivalent of 100kg of organic waste into 20kg of nutrient rich, eco-friendly fertiliser for campus gardens and grounds each day.

Ultimately 100% of campus organic waste will be diverted from landfill, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Leveraging technology

Furthermore, the University is also harnessing its in-house research and technology expertise to reduce emissions.

World class data analytics researchers and their students are designing and implementing the La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP).

LEAP does not only monitor energy consumption in up to 50 smart buildings, but also makes lighting, heating and cooling adjustments in real time to reduce energy consumption.

About the University

La Trobe is Victoria’s only state-wide University, with significant landholdings right across the state, and not just on its campuses at Mildura, Bendigo, Shepparton and Albury-Wodonga.

The University is present in different climate zones throughout Victoria, including areas of the state that receive high levels of sunshine year-round.

This means the University is also in the early stages of investigation with industry and government to assess the viability of solar farms on University land.

This will not only create clean energy, but also provide an opportunity for research and innovation. The Net Zero commitment builds on the great sustainability work already underway.

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