For a number of governments, institutions and organisations worldwide, reducing carbon emissions is often an important objective. Universities, with their large student populations and high energy-use requirements, are looking into ways to decrease their carbon footprints.
Alternative energy solutions are key for these universities. Capstone microturbines in particular can play an important role in any cost- and emissions-cutting strategy.
University of Melbourne receives $9.1 million for carbon emissions reduction
The University of Melbourne and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) are working together to implement a number of efficiency efforts at the 47,000-student school. On February 15, 2016, the CEFC announced that it was providing the university with up to $9.1 million in loans, which will be used for a number of energy efficiency innovations including microturbines, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic solutions, freezer upgrades and voltage optimisation.
With a projected reduction of over 9,000 tonnes of carbon each year, these improvements will go a long way in helping the university's reach its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The support from the CEFC is instrumental in providing the capital for these improvements.
"Australia's 39 universities make a major contribution to the national economy and to the Australian community, yet they face the ongoing challenges of public budget restraint, intensifying global competition and the need to use cutting edge technologies to meet increasing student expectations," said Paul McCartney, executive director of corporate and project finance at CEFC.
Mr. McCartney added that universities could boost their productivity and financial outlook while seeing environmental benefits through sustainable energy initiatives like the ones at the University of Melbourne.
Universities can benefit from energy savings
An emissions-reduction strategy can benefit university budgets and the environment.
Student population growth is an environmental and financial challenge for universities around the world and here in Australia.
The number of students enrolled in Australian universities has been on the rise for some time. According to the Department of Education and Training, there were just under 1.4 million students in Australian universities in 2014, a 4.5 per cent growth from 2013 and significantly higher than the number of students in 2010, just under 1.2 million.
The rising number of students in Australian universities is pushing up energy costs each year, but an emissions-reduction strategy can benefit university budgets and the environment.
Some universities, such as the University of New South Wales (UNSW), have managed to keep energy use under control. At UNSW, the energy use per student has remained constant at around 8 gigajoules from 2008 to 2013, according to the university's Energy and Water Strategy.
Though the amount of energy used per student has remained relatively the same, the number of students is still growing, resulting in increased energy costs each year. Rather than keep energy use under control, universities need to be proactive in reducing their consumption overall.
Lower CO2 emissions with Capstone Microturbines
Capstone Microturbines are an ideal solution for universities looking for technological solutions to emissions goals. The Centre for Health and Healing at Oregon's Health and Science University was constructed with five C60 Capstone Microturbines as part of a plan to achieve a Platinum Leadership in Energy Efficient Design certification.
The microturbines paid dividends for Oregon Health and Science University, resulting in the same carbon reduction as taking 100 cars off the road – an annual reduction of 630 tonnes in CO2 emissions.
In addition to their emissions-reducing abilities, microturbines also save universities when it comes to reduced electricity costs. The microturbines at Oregon Health and Science University are responsible for generating approximately one-third of the building's electricity, which cuts the cost of buying electricity from the grid.