Flinders powers towards positive carbon footprint

Flinders University

Thursday, 11 April, 2019

Flinders powers towards positive carbon footprint

Adelaide’s Flinders University will invest $2.4 million in solar and sustainability projects to move closer to its goal of becoming a carbon-positive university. In addition to the release of its Sustainability Plan, Flinders formally launched a new solar carpark featuring 4136 rooftop solar panels.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said, “We have a big vision for sustainability at Flinders and we’re setting our sights high. We’re aspiring to be a carbon-positive university — possibly the first — by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and effectively taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we produce.”

An extensive solar network totalling around 6000 panels covering the solar carpark and rooftops allows Flinders’ Bedford Park campus to generate one-fifth of its own electricity needs. The university aims to increase this to one-third through an additional $1.45 million investment in solar energy over 2019–20. Prof Stirling explained that “this will see us roll out more panels across our rooftops, create solar-covered walkways and shelters, and begin planning another large solar carport or ground-mounted solar array. With all this energy generated on campus, we are also investigating energy storage.”

A further $950,000 in university funding has been allocated to develop initiatives within Flinders’ new Sustainability Plan, which encompasses the expertise and creativity of Flinders staff and students gathered over an extensive planning and engagement exercise. “We distilled this feedback to reveal the 10 top areas of importance to our Flinders community and created an action plan for 2019,” Prof Stirling said.

The new initiatives include installing electric car charging stations; decarbonising the university’s fleet of vehicles; eliminating single-use plastics for food and drinks; enhancing the Bedford Park lake and turning it into a demonstration site for sustainability initiatives; and reducing, re-using and recycling more materials on campus.

Professor Stirling said in addition to reducing Flinders’ own carbon footprint, the investments will engage students in the latest renewable energy technologies, engineering, civil and transport system development. “There will be many opportunities for these projects to be used in our teaching and learning, enabling students and staff to experience the technology of the future and encouraging partnerships with industry, government and the community to maximise benefits,” he said.

“The $2.4 million in new sustainability initiatives … adds to some $5 million invested in our solar future last year, and reflects Flinders University’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and building the expertise and knowledge that will make a difference to the world’s future.”

For more about Flinders University’s sustainability initiatives, click here.

Image credit: © Flinders University

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