The University of Newcastle will work towards reducing its carbon emissions by 20 per cent over the next eight years.
A report on sustainable energy management and CO2 reduction has been considered today by University Council. It recognises the University's proud record of energy management and sets goals to further improve its performance.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nicholas Saunders, said the University was an industry leader in energy management.
"The University is one of the lowest consumers of energy per square metre of all Australian universities," he said.
"Since 1998 the University has reduced CO2 emissions by at least 3,000 tonnes per annum; and experienced only a 5 per cent increase in energy consumption despite growing numbers of students and infrastructure development on the Callaghan campus."
The report includes commitments to continue supporting and adopting sustainable energy practices. It also prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills to practise and advocate sustainable energy use; and to continue to support research exploring solutions to emerging climate issues.
It also outlines options for the purchase of GreenPower as one element in a plan to increase energy efficiencies. These options will be assessed and a decision made later this year.
Professor Saunders said the purchase of clean energy alone did not translate into an energy efficient organisation.
"Multiple strategies are required for sustainable management of water, transport, waste and natural resources to continue our leadership in this field - some of these areas go beyond the University's remit. For example, private transport to the University is a major contributor to carbon emissions."
The higher education sector is increasingly looking to become more energy efficient. For example, Yale University in the United States has set itself the target of reducing its 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent, by the year 2020.
Yale currently uses 208kg of CO2 per square metre per year, with the aim to reduce this to 100kg per square metre per year by 2020; the University of Newcastle currently uses 108kg of CO2 per square metre per year.