Renewables switch wins Clever Campus award

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Our University has been awarded the prestigious Innovation Award by the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association at its annual Clever Campus Awards ceremony. The TEFMA Clever Campus Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of its members in the university sector.

IFS staff collect award

These awards are significant as they acknowledge best practice and innovative approaches to resolving compelling and complex issues faced by many institutions. To be considered in the category of Innovation, the initiative needed to have a fresh, break-through ‘wow’ factor and something that could spark further innovation as well as be replicated.

“The renewal of our electricity contract provided the perfect opportunity for us to take a different approach when procuring our electricity supply. This sector-leading approach was only achieved through being brave, and looking outside the norm for solutions,” Environment Manager Daan Schiebaan said.

“The Energy Supply Agreement with Red Energy is a seven-year contract worth $48 million and funded via our annual operating budget. In entering this contract with the University, Red Energy has surety to invest further in renewable energy generation initiatives.”

Commenting on our University’s win Director Infrastructure and Facilities Services, Brian Jones, said communities look to universities to drive change for global issues.

“Our partnership has shown that organisations can move from the traditional reliance on coal-fired power supply and make the change to 100% renewables. Through this successful partnership and our support of other organisations making the change, we have reduced the reliance on traditional electricity supply,” Brian said.

“We are proud that our regional university is a driving force in the national renewables agenda and in winning this award, we are being recognised by our sector for our innovative approach to sustainability.”

Our current electricity profile is approximately 40GWh. This equates to over 5000 standard households most of which is at our Callaghan campus. With a capital works program of more than $300 million our energy demands will only increase.

Our energy supply deal with Red Energy will see a 75 per cent reduction of our carbon emissions and will lay the path for our University to be carbon neutral by 2025. The partnership with Red Energy complements the continued roll-out of our on-site PV solar project, and our numerous energy efficiency opportunities all aimed to drive our usage and thus emissions down.

We are now leading the broader transition to renewable electricity and a low carbon future across the Hunter region, the university sector, and contributing to the national renewable electricity agenda. Winning the TEFMA Innovation Award cements the sector’s acknowledgment of what is a great achievement for our University but also for our climate.

Lilly Rodger, Customer Service Coordinator at IFS, was also awarded a Research/Travel Scholarship for her future work on our contractor inductions and permit to work system. The aim of the scholarship is to provide an opportunity for a person employed in facilities management to undertake a study tour of other Australasian institutions to improve their knowledge of contemporary facilities management practices.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.