Employment, Skills and Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe today congratulated management, staff and students at Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE (SCIT) on becoming Australia’s first carbon neutral educational organisation.
Mr Hinchliffe said recognition of SCIT’s carbon neutral status by Low Carbon Australia, an independent company established by the Federal Government to help realise a clean energy future, was an outstanding result.
“It is the culmination of a decision made by SCIT senior management 18 months ago to make the organisation a leader in education for sustainability,”Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The first step was a baseline assessment of energy consumption, water usage and waste generation at its four campuses at Mooloolaba, Nambour, Maroochydore and Noosa, followed by an action plan to reduce resource consumption and waste generation.
“A full carbon footprint was determined for the SCIT and an emissions management plan was developed to further reduce carbon emissions.
“Some of the steps taken were as simple as improving air-conditioning control and retrofitting energy-efficient light bulbs.
“Others have been more complicated, such as the installation of a Schindler Regenerative elevator drive to regenerate energy back into the building’s electric system.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the changes achieved impressive results in energy savings, with SCIT reducing its electricity usage by 7 per cent while increasing floor area by 6 per cent. Its LPG use was down by 13 per cent and petrol use fell by 12 per cent.
“Students and staff are further encouraged to be aware of sustainability issues through SCIT’s Sustainability Taskforce,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“All these initiatives align with SCIT’s commitment to renewable energy and cost-effective carbon reduction.
“They complement the Sustainability Discovery Centre at the Mooloolaba campus and demonstrate the effectiveness of SCIT’s offerings in areas such as the Advanced Diploma in Renewable Technologies and free online sustainability units.”
Mr Hinchliffe congratulated SCIT for taking on a leadership role in carbon emission controls.