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Energy and greenhouse gases

The University is committed to minimising wasteful energy consumption. UTAS reports its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007.

The University of Tasmania achieved certified carbon neutral certification in 2017 from the University’s 2016 greenhouse gas inventory.

Energy management at UTAS

Energy management is aimed at reducing UTAS' energy consumption costs through strategies, systems, procurement and development.

Some of the common tasks and services provided by energy managers are:

  • Collating and analysis of energy data
  • Developing and implementing energy saving projects
  • Implementing procedures and policies to help save energy
  • Developing procedures and policies to help save energy
  • Monitoring  buildings and systems to ensure efficient operation
  • Providing technical review, advice and briefing for construction projects on campus
  • Liaising with the energy retail companies.

Some of the energy and greenhouse gas saving activities undertaken by the University in recent years include:

  • Energy performance contracts including building management and control systems upgrades
  • LPG and diesel fuel source replacements with natural gas
  • Conducting energy challenges and competitions
  • Undertaking energy audits of buildings
  • Development of standardised energy displays
  • Annual building level energy reporting
  • Installation of photovoltaic (solar electric) and solar hot water systems
  • Annual Sustainability Month energy challenges
  • Upgrading of lighting systems to LED (for example, ~700 x 50W halogens replaced with 7W LEDs in 2014)
  • Ensuring all new major building projects achieve 5 Start Green Star rating certification.

UTAS overall energy and greenhouse gas profile for 2016 calendar year

Energy consumption cost the University around $6.3 million in 2016. Electricity usage contributed to approximately 80% of this energy cost and was equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 5100 Tasmanian homes.

Circular graph

Source Energy (GJ) Energy (%) CO2-e (t) CO2-e (%)
Electricity 167,047 75 7,248 70
Natural gas 40,968 18 2,111 20
Diesel (transport) 6,99 3 493 5
Petrol (transport) 6,476 3 440 4
Diesel (non-transport) 1,091 0 77 1
Petrol (non-transport) 213 0 14 0
LPG (non-transport) 431 0 26 0
Other 392 0 20 0
Total 223,611 10,429 

Graph and figures have been generated via data obtained from central account invoices, UTAS vehicle fleet and fuel suppliers. All conversion factors used have been sourced from the National Greenhouse Accounts Factors (Department of the Environment 2015, 2016)
Units: GJ ‐ gigaJoules; t - tonnes; CO2‐e: carbon dioxide equivalent

UTAS building performance data

Through spatial data, asset data and metering the University is able to broadly benchmark and monitor the energy performance of its buildings.

The 2016 UTAS energy benchmarking summary report (PDF 246.5KB) provides comparative and historical data. Building codes in the benchmarking summary report are from the Archibus system and are used in SISfm also.

  • 'Fully captured' denotes if a building's energy consumption has been fully captured or not, as some are served by unmetered supplies or by central heating systems.
  • The Green Star benchmark is derived from the Green Star Education V1 rating tool and spatial data.
  • Energy density is based on the usable floor area of the building.
  • N/A has been used where no historical values are available or sufficient spatial data.

Building level reporting of energy consumption has been detailed for a number of buildings since 2010 and benchmarking added by means of energy density and application of base energy consumption levels from the GBCA, Green Star Education tool.

Transport emissions

The University's Sustainable Transport Strategy addresses transport emissions as a major priority area. Significant reductions have been made in the University vehicle fleet as well as emissions reductions made through incentivising active and public transport through installation of bus shelters, bike hubs and improved servicing. Additional information is available on the sustainable transport page.

The University has approximately 150 fleet vehicles. There are some leased executive vehicles, which are not the responsibility of UTAS Vehicle Fleet management and are not included in the asset cost or fuel consumption data. The reductions in petrol use shown in the figure below have been attributed to a shift to smaller, more efficient vehicles. The figure highlights petrol as the most used liquid transport fuel in the UTAS vehicle fleet.

Waste emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions from waste management activities are covered under the NGERS Scope 3 category. While not legally required to report Scope 3 emissions under NGERS, UTAS will work to establish baselines and determine how this emission source is best tracked into the future for possible legal requirements as well as being able to consider this emission source in any carbon neutral goal setting. It should be noted that reporting requirements to support this have been included in the scope of work for the proposed state-wide waste service.

What can you do?

  • Lighting is responsible for about 20% of a university's energy consumption. Switch off lights and appliances when not required and help reduce light energy consumption by 10%, which could save UTAS $100,000 per year.
  • Switching off computer monitors switched when they are idle may save as much energy as it takes to power 24 Tasmanian homes for one year.
  • Printers and photocopiers may sit idle for 95% of the time. Activating energy save mode rather than standby mode on just one printer or copier over a year could reduce energy consumption equivalent to a return trip by car from Hobart to Launceston.
  • Reducing heating by one degree Celsius in winter across our campuses could easily save enough energy to power the whole of the Inveresk campus or the Centre of Art campus for one year.
  • Laboratory freezers are big energy users. Setting ultra-low temperature freezers to higher temperatures than -80ªC (when possible) would considerably reduce energy consumption. Electricity use doubles going from -60ªC to -86ªC; standard freezers save about 75% of energy over ultra-low temperature storage.

By taking some simple actions, like turning off lights, printers, appliances and computer monitors when not in use, staff and students can make a difference to the energy consumption of UTAS buildings. Every kilowatt counts. To support energy saving initiatives, please download the following posters and display them in relevant areas:

More information

For more information on energy, contact energy.utas@utas.edu.au and for greenhouse gases, contact carbon.utas@utas.edu.au.