La Trobe hits net zero targets at Mildura and Shepparton

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solar panels on carports at a la trobe campus

La Trobe University has made a $75 million commitment to become carbon neutral across all of its campuses by 2029.

The first two campuses to hit the milestone, Mildura and Shepparton, are the first university campuses in the state to do so.

La Trobe expects all of its regional campuses to achieve net zero by the end of this year.

“We announced our ambitious plan in 2019, because not only was it the right thing to do, it also made good economic and environmental sense,” says the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor John Dewar, AO.

Initiatives to achieve the milestones include:

In Mildura:

  • powered by 100 percent on-site renewables at peak operation, 78 percent self-powered during the day
  • a 130-kilowatt solar system
  • energy-efficient LEDs for all campus lighting
  • Tesla Power Wall System to store solar generated on-site
  • chiller replaced with energy-efficient chiller
  • high-efficiency chilled water pumps and variable speed drives, and
  • HVAC optimisation.

In Shepparton:

  • 115 solar panels covering 36 percent of the campus’ daytime energy use
  • all campus lighting replaced with LEDs
  • organics pick-up and processing system, benefitting local farmers, and
  • HVAC and BMS optimisation.

“Many organisations have bold targets for reducing their emissions – but moving from ambition to action can be where the real challenge lies,” says Dewar.

The two campuses received their certification from Climate Active, a partnership formed by the Australian Government and Australian businesses.

In addition to the hard initiatives, La Trobe has partnered with Greenfleet on a local revegetation project to offset emissions not reducible through on-site interventions. Furthermore, La Trobe’s Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary is providing 5000 seedlings to a revegetation project in Kinglake, Victoria– land traditionally owned by the Taungurung and Wurundjeri Peoples, which will become home to an ecosystem for a variety of native birds in the area.

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