Energy, emissions and sustainable buildings

Deakin is committed to becoming carbon neutral and using only 100% renewable electricity by 2025. Combined with a strong research focus, our commitment demonstrates Deakin’s leadership in transitioning away from fossil fuels – a fundamental component of mitigating climate change and enabling a sustainable world.

Energy and emissions

We are committed to being carbon neutral and using 100% renewable energy by 2025. We're on the way to achieving this through initiatives like our 7.25 megawatt Renewable Energy Microgrid at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, and by purchasing renewable energy through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 2 buying group. Deakin also has a partnership with the Qantas Future Planet Program to offset 100% of the University’s travel-related emissions.

In 2020, Deakin achieved its commitment to reduce annual emissions below the University’s 2013 baseline of around 77,000 tCO2e (scope 1, 2 and 3). Looking forward, we will implement a range of initiatives within our Carbon Neutral 2025 (CN2025) program to increase on-campus renewable energy generation, electrify gas infrastructure, improve the energy efficiency of our buildings and increase energy optimisation.

Driven by Deakin’s values, CN2025 will help to shape a sustainable world and set Deakin as a leader in sustainability and climate change mitigation.

Values-aligned carbon offsetting

Carbon offsets form an important part of our overall carbon neutral strategy, and are the key mechanism to manage unavoidable emissions through projects that either avoid, reduce or remove greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

All offsets that we procure align to Deakin’s values and holistically contribute to enabling a sustainable world. We ensure this by aligning chosen offset projects to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, prioritising offset budgets on Australian projects and ensuring offsets meet approved standards from both the voluntary and compliance markets.

Such projects include the Dambimangari Fire Project in Western Australia, which involves strategic and planned burning of savanna areas in the high rainfall zone during the early dry season with the aim of reducing the risk of late dry season wild fires.

Renewable Energy Microgrid

Developed in partnership with AusNet Services and Mondo Power, the 7.25 megawatt Renewable Energy Microgrid at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus is a fundamental part of Deakin’s transition to 100% renewable energy and pathway to achieve carbon neutral by 2025 and carbon negative by 2030.

The microgrid comprises a 7 megawatt solar energy farm, a 1 megawatt/2 megawatt hour central battery storage system, 250 kilowatts of distributed rooftop solar and 30 kilowatt hours of battery storage on campus buildings. A Research, Teaching and Visualisation Centre has also been established at the Jane den Hollander Building, located within the engineering precinct.

The microgrid central battery storage system is an Australian-first grid-connected lithium iron phosphate battery. The chemistry of this battery is preferable to other current lithium battery chemistries as it is very stable, safer, has a longer lifetime and avoids the use of cobalt, a material that can have ethical and social impacts in its production.

Already delivering around half of the campus’s electricity needs and providing ongoing cost savings, the microgrid will also contribute 12,000 tonnes of annual emission reductions towards Deakin’s carbon neutral commitment in 2025. The microgrid also supports the education and training of future energy professionals, builds the University’s research capacity and provides research opportunities in areas such as energy storage, community energy, transactional modelling and forecasting, cyber security and future fuels.

Sustainable built environments

We provide high-quality sustainable spaces for students and staff – designed as modern, enticing and collaborative work environments, Deakin’s buildings are constructed using best practice sustainable principles to:

  • minimise energy consumption and emissions, with a focus on Net Zero buildings that support our 2025 carbon neutral commitment
  • minimise water consumption and enhance efficiency
  • maximise opportunities to utilise circular economy waste management and avoid landfill principles
  • use sustainably sourced material with low embodied energy
  • minimise disruption to the natural ecosystems
  • find opportunities to enhance or restore the natural environment
  • maximise the health, wellbeing and safety of staff, students and the community.

Tracking our impacts

Deakin uses Kinesis software, an integrated data management and reporting system, to measure sustainability impacts, report to our stakeholders and inform strategy. It works by receiving data directly from our retailers, metering and services to monitor, measure and report on the sustainability performance of our campuses.