Net Zero Emissions Program, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia

Supporting university to reduce carbon emissions for carbon neutrality by 2029

  • Aurecon’s role: Program Management and Technical Advisor
  • Client: La Trobe University

La Trobe University is committed to future sustainability by ensuring campuses are carbon neutral by 2029. Aurecon has been engaged to help the university reach its carbon neutral goals with technical analysis and advice, along with program management of packages of work.

Technical Advisor

Aurecon is working in partnership with the university to analyse and implement large-scale carbon emissions reduction initiatives in pursuit of achieving carbon neutrality.

Initiatives under consideration include solar photovoltaic farms, a battery energy storage system, lighting and HVAC energy efficiency, a community-owned energy generation network and alternatives to procure electricity, such as entering into power purchase agreements.

Aurecon is conducting financial and technical analysis on initiatives, followed by reviewing contracts, providing technical advice for design, procuring contractors, and supporting the university.

Program management of packages of work

Within the program management contract to manage packages of work, Aurecon, together with representatives from the university, is coordinating the following tasks:

  • Preparation of program timelines
  • Stakeholder, communications, and procurement management
  • Budget control
  • Benefits capture
  • Coordination of feasibility studies
  • Return on investment calculations
  • Reporting and approvals
  • Dependency analysis and coordination

By creating a clear program management plan and engaging with stakeholders early, the works are regularly and clearly articulated and easy to understand, which is facilitating successful delivery. Projects include:

A digital platform to reduce energy consumption across all campuses

The La Trobe Energy Analytics Platform (LEAP) is being developed to monitor consumption patterns and building performance at all campuses, enabling the university to make decisions on initiatives that reduce energy consumption.

The platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to analyse building performance data, then measures and validates each new initiative for the potential to reduce carbon emissions, as well as deliver a return on capital investment.

The LEAP will also be used to optimise the university’s building management systems (BMS) to make lighting, heating and cooling adjustments in real-time to reduce energy consumption.

Energy efficiency initiatives to decrease carbon emissions

Regional solar carports and roof tops

New solar carports in Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga, as well as additional rooftop solar panels to some buildings in Bendigo, and Mildura will be completed as part of this programme.

This project will help to reduce carbon emissions across all regional campuses by more than 20 per cent. Once complete, 40 per cent of electricity generated at Albury-Wodonga will be from onsite renewables, and almost 30 per cent at Bendigo.

Installation of rooftop solar panel systems

More than 7000 solar panels have been installed on 25 building rooftops at the Bundoora campus – the equivalent of 17 kilometres of solar panels placed end-to-end.

The new solar systems generate 2.5 MW of renewable electricity each day, which is the equivalent of powering 500 household systems each year. At the peak of solar efficiency, the panels are currently supplying more than 50 per cent of a campus’ daytime power usage. It decreases the university’s carbon emissions by up to 4000 tonnes per year.

Installation of more than 60 000 LED lights

More than 60 000 energy-efficient LED lights installed across the campuses is reducing power consumption, improving the quality of light, and reducing material waste as LEDs last longer than traditional lights. The LED lights contributed to a 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in the first 12 months after installation.

Diverting organic waste from landfill

La Trobe University is the first Australian university to use the SoilFood concept – an on-site composting unit at the Melbourne campus that diverts organic waste from landfill and helps to reduce the campus’ total greenhouse gas emissions from waste by up to 90 per cent.

The composting unit converts the equivalent of 100 kilograms of organic waste from the campus into 20 kilograms of nutrient-rich, eco-friendly compost, to be used on the gardens and grounds.

The projects and initiatives on which Aurecon is collaborating with the university respond to the risks of climate change and provide pathway options to improve sustainability and lower carbon emissions. It’s an important step in achieving the university’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2029.

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