Skip to main content

Sustainability on campus

How we're reducing our environmental footprint

We’re finding ways to operate more sustainably through a range of practical strategies. We have prioritised energy and water consumption, waste management, recycling and transport as key areas for improvement.

Sustainable Built Environment

Our Sustainability Framework aims to ensure our built environment is resource efficient, operationally cost-effective and provides improved environmental, economic and social benefits to student, staff and surrounding communities.

Our current projects include:

  • A solar waste system and green roof for the Australian Institute of Nanoscience
  • Rainwater reuse and a rooftop solar photovoltaic system in the Abercrombie Precinct
  • Rainwater reuse, 200 cycle parking spaces, a solar photovoltaic system, rooftop gardens and a community garden in the Queen Mary Building

Our Sustainability Framework

Place making, amenity and sustainable transport

  • Design building and site characteristics interface with the local area and consider architectural and landscape heritage
  • Services and amenities create vibrant areas that are visually interesting and safe
  • Sustainable transport strategies, including secure bicycle storage facilities, end-of-trip facilities (showers and lockers) and cycle ways to facilitate cost-effective active transport and mobility

Leadership and communication

  • Best practice integrated design approach and knowledge sharing
  • Communication strategies to engage students, staff, local community and the wider public

Healthy environment

  • Healthy multi-purpose, flexible spaces for working, studying and living
  • Preference for sustainable and environmentally friendly fit-out materials which are sustainably produced with low life-cycle environmental impacts
  • Opportunities for maximising natural daylight input, external views and natural ventilation

Efficient resource use

  • Management plans to reduce energy, water and waste
  • Solar-passive building design of building facades and glazing elements to reduce reliance on heating ventilation and air conditioning plant to maintain thermal comfort
  • Energy efficient lighting and controls
  • Building controls and monitoring devices for efficient operation of plant and equipment
  • Renewable energy systems and water harvesting systems
  • Increased use of building materials with recycled content

Landscape and biodiversity

  • Conservation of native flora and fauna biodiversity
  • Use of landscape elements to enhance building microclimates

Waste management and resource recovery

In 2013, we recovered and recycled 71% of general waste and 97% of electronic waste in a dedicated effort to improve recycling rates across campus. Our goal is to reach 80% across all campuses.

We are rolling out recycling stations across the Camperdown/Darlington Campus that separate plastics, glass and cans from paper and cardboard.

Resource efficiency

To help us benchmark progress, we capture and report on our consumption, waste generation and carbon emissions across our campuses. We are also implementing a system to monitor energy and water consumption across our buildings in real time.

Water is a precious resource and essential in maintaining our natural landscapes, which are an important part of our campuses. Our water conservation initiatives include:

  • smart irrigation technologies
  • water-sensitive urban design to manage stormwater
  • minimum water-efficiency standards for new buildings and refurbishments
  • rainwater harvesting systems in new buildings

Transport and mobility

To help reduce the impact of motor vehicles, we’re developing a transport and mobility plan to create a more accessible, pedestrian-friendly environment.

The plan aims to promote the use of public transport, walking and cycling, reduce single-occupancy car trips and the number of vehicles on our campus, and better manage car parking demand.

University community garden

Located on Maze Crescent opposite the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, the Ground Up Community Garden brings staff and students together to learn and practise urban horticulture.

Our aim is to promote sustainable, organic food production by cultivating healthy, home-grown produce. We work together to plant, grow, harvest and share the produce from 12 inground plots, six raised beds and numerous planter bags.

Volunteers are always welcome to join in our regular working bees and learn about composting, worm farms, weeding, mulching, companion planting, water-efficient irrigation systems and more.

Working bees run during the summer on Thursdays (4.30pm–6.30pm) and the second Saturday of each month (10.30am–2.30pm).

Join the Ground Up Facebook group to keep up-to-date on garden news and upcoming events. For more information or to become a member, email

Join our student network

We're recruiting passionate volunteers to help us create a sustainable campus. Assist at events, provide ideas and feedback for initiatives, and be an ambassador for all things sustainable! Email us.

Contact the Sustainable Campus team

How you can help

Our goal is to develop not only a sustainable infrastructure for the University, but an environmentally-minded community that supports sustainable habits and practices.
Use re-useable water bottles and coffee cups.
Ride your bike to uni. We have plenty of secure bike racks on campus.
Find a bike rack
Find alternatives to printing large documents.
Turn off your computer before you leave.