The University of Queensland (UQ) produced enough solar energy to power 1592 homes in 2016 and has decreased its power consumption by 10 per cent since 2013.
The 2016 Sustainability Report Card outlines the university’s achievements across a range of areas including energy, water, waste, biodiversity, and transport.
UQ chief operating officer Greg Pringle said he was proud of the statistics, as the university endeavoured to strike a balance between meeting student needs and respecting the environment.
“As one of Queensland’s biggest employers and home to the largest university population in the state, sustainability is a challenge we feel we are making significant inroads towards,” Mr Pringle said.
“What’s more is that we’ve found it is possible to make significant savings, while being conscionable about our campuses’ consumption of resources.
“Our energy usage reductions meant almost 16,000 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 when compared against the 2013 baseline.
“That also translates to more than $2 million in cost savings in 2016 alone that can be reinvested in other areas.”
UQ ranks as the leading Australian university for photovoltaic solar energy capacity and last year produced more than 8.8 million kWh of clean energy from more than 47,000 individual solar panels.
As part of its commitment to sustainable transport, the university now has more than 2500 bike racks across all sites, and 70 per cent of St Lucia commuters cycle, walk or catch public transport to campus.
UQ installed Queensland’s first electric vehicle fast chargers in 2016 and introduced the first fully electric vehicle to the corporate fleet.
The EV chargers delivered more than 28,000 kilometres of battery power to drivers last year – enough to drive around mainland Australia twice.
UQ is now diverting approximately 47 per cent of waste away from landfill through a variety of schemes with an emphasis on reuse and recycling.
As part of efforts to improve biodiversity on campus, more than 3600 trees were planted and 50 new bird boxes installed in the past year.
These achievements have also been recognised nationally, with UQ taking the top spot in the Facilities & Services and Community Engagement categories at the 2016 Australasian Green Gown Awards.