Sustainability in action
Want to know what members of the University community are doing to improve the environmental impacts of our organisation? Download some Best Practice Case Studies here:
- Reducing Waste: Greening Edward Ford
- Reducing carbon emissions: Video Conferencing in the Faculty of Medicine
- Saving Water: Around the Campus
- Transport: Ride to Work Day
- E-waste: 2007 Electronic waste Recycling program
- Conserving Biodiversity: Tree planting at Arthursleigh
- Building Green: Jane Foss Russell Building
Do you have a project or initiative you would like to share? Contact us to submit stories or to find out about how you can participate in the Sustainable Campus Program.
Towards the end of 2006, Professor Simon Chapman, Acting Head of the School of Public Health, called a meeting to discuss initiatives the School might take to become more environmentally responsible. This meeting was attended by staff from the Environmental Strategies Team and since then, the School has been progressively changing its office practices to reduce its impact on the environment under the broad heading ‘Greening Edward Ford’ (the School is located in the Edward Ford building).
In all offices, staff have control over the air conditioning in their offices, but prefer not to use them when possible. Some staff prefer natural daylight, so the overhead lights are often off.. Even a heritage building such as Edward Ford could further reduce its reliance on air conditioning by having window shutters or shades installed on walls facing internal courtyards, although this is not planned at present.
Staff and students are encouraged to continue this initiative. For example:
- Boxes of scrap paper and envelopes are provided in corridors for staff and students notes.
- Scrap paper is available in the print room for reuse.
- All new paper is Xerox Supreme – 100% post consumer recycled (purchased through UPS).
- From time to time, the Facilities Manager sends out email reminders to staff to switch off lights at end of day and, for academics especially, to duplex print.
- Students are encouraged to use scrap paper for printing in the computer labs.
- During Orientation, new students receive information on a ‘green uni’.
- All computer lab monitors are set to sleep after 20 minutes instead of running a screen saver, which saves power.
- The School is moving to use all Kyocera multi-function devices, which reduces the number of machines required, and has significant environmental benefits, such as ability to power down, and recyclable components.
- Lighting motion sensors are located on Level 1 and the School is considering motion-activated sensors for all out-of-hours lighting.
Video Conferencing utilises the use of audio-visual equipment and allows conference participants at two different locations to view an image of one another while discussions take place.
Video conferencing at the Faculty of Medicine
Video conferencing developed at the faculty of Medicines in the late 1990s initially to aid student teaching capabilities. As students were often located at hospitals around the State (in later years of study) video conferencing provided a means of regularly connecting pupils with specialist lecturers, significantly reducing the travelling demands on students.
Since its outset video conferencing has developed into a widely used multifunctional asset in the faculty. It is now used for both meetings and teaching activities between staff, students and public health workers around the State. The current video conferencing network at the Faculty of Medicine covers USYD Clinical Schools, Rural Health Departments and a number of the Area Health Services within the NSW Department of Health.
Video conferencing equipment at the faculty has the ability to connect to any external site that has video conferencing and can engage very large audiences in a number of locations.
How does video conferencing increase sustainability?
One of the most effective ways to reduce climate change is to reduce land based and air travel. Emissions from air transport at the University now equate to nearly 24,000 tonnes of CO2-e or 9% of the Universities total emissions. The direct use of petrol and gas account for approximately 2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions .
Video Conferencing provides University staff and students with an opportunity to significantly reduce the Universities carbon footprint. It can also help cut costs associated with long distance travel and means conference and teaching frequency can be increased.
How can other Faculties/Schools get involved?
Video Conferencing provides a great alternative to ‘being there’ and is now widely available to University Staff and students.
Video conferencing is available in the Faculties of Health Sciences (Cumberland campus), Agriculture, Pharmacy and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Workshops are regularly held on how to use the facilities and how videoconferencing can be used as a learning format. Ask your schools IT manager for more information or visit the University’s Video Conferencing webpage.