Media releases

VU's brave new sustainable world

Staff and students at Victoria University are being asked to reconsider printing documents; they've been surveyed about how they travel to and from work; and they will soon be encouraged to recycle their green waste for compost.

It's all part of the brave new sustainable world ushered in under the University's latest Environmental Management Plan (EMP), to be launched as part of Environment Day activities this week.

The plan outlines strategies and goals for reducing energy consumption, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions and for increasing recycling.

Highlights include:

  • A 10 per cent increase in recycling rates by 2012 with initiatives including composting of green waste, and greater re-use and recycling of surplus furniture, equipment and demolition materials.
  • Progressive elimination of water wastage. Full-flush toilets will continue to be replaced with dual-flush systems and recycled and harvested water will be used at the Footscray Park Aquatic Centre.
  • A further 15 per cent reduction in electricity and gas consumption by 2012. Evening classes will be timetabled in central hubs to reduce power requirements and energy-efficient building management systems will be progressively installed at all campuses.
  • Strategies will be implemented to increase the use of public transport, bicycles and walking for travel to and from work and work-related travel between campuses.
  • A plan to extend the reach of study units on the principles of sustainability.
  • A green purchasing program for all university spending to be introduced next year.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Capital and Management Services) Jon Hickman said the University's environmental initiatives are gathering pace with the adoption of the latest EMP. Nevertheless, achieving the goals set in the plan would be a huge task that will affect everyone.

"This is a big, but important job, which is why we've set ourselves realistic goals that can be achieved in manageable periods over the medium to long term," Mr Hickman said.

"Sustainability makes good sense, not just for the planet, as we grapple with climate change and the need to shift from carbon-emitting energy to renewables, but also for business, the community and individuals, including our staff and students.

"Increased energy and water costs as we cope with reduced rainfall and the move towards emissions trading will impact on the University community but they also provide us with a great incentive to create change.

"The challenge is for all of us to work together to reduce our impact, whether it be through switching off our computers when we leave the office or installing a water tank at home.

"At a University-wide level we are committed to the elimination of resource waste and are actively moving towards environmental sustainability".

Mr Hickman is available for interview

 

Media contact: Jim Buckell, A/Senior Media Officer

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: jim.buckell@vu.edu.au

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