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Sustainability on campus

How we're reducing our environmental footprint

The University is operating more sustainably through a range of practical initiatives. Currently we are consulting with our community to develop a University-wide sustainability strategy that will help prioritise where we can make the most impact.

An example of the University's rooftop solar panels.

Our rooftop solar projects support our commitment to building a sustainable campus and sustainable energy.

Sustainability in action – a snapshot

We are committed to managing our waste as sustainably as possible. Through the 'Better Recycling, Less Waste' campaign, the University introduced centralised recycling and waste stations in all office areas, kitchens and general teaching spaces across our main campuses – Camperdown and Darlington.

We are now planning the rollout of our Better Recycling Less Waste initiative to our satellite campuses. This will mean a consistent approach to resource recovery and waste management across University campuses.  

We provide the following resource recovery systems.

  • A mixed recycling (yellow) bin – for plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles, metal cans and small amounts of paper and cardboard
  • A paper and cardboard (blue) bin – for clean printed paper and cardboard, including stapled documents and magazines
  • Secure documents (dark blue) bin – for confidential documents
  • E-waste – for computers, laptops and monitors etc
  • Printer cartridges – for printer and toner cartridges
  • Batteries – AA, AAA, C, D and 9V sized batteries only (rechargeable and non- rechargeable)
  • Furniture
  • Construction, refurbishment and demolition waste.

We are committed to building a sustainable campus and sustainable energy, thanks to our rooftop solar projects.  We currently have rooftop solar systems installed on 20 buildings, which generates more than 1 MWh (1000 kilowatt hours) of solar energy per annum.  

Investing in solar energy produces bottom line results and reduces our carbon emissions, ultimately saving the University money. As we continue to deliver the Campus Improvement Program, we will continue practical integration of solar energy on our new buildings.

Our current solar buildings include the following. 

  • Abercrombie Business School
  • Abercrombie Student Accommodation
  • Administration Building (which houses the Vice-Chancellor and many other senior staff)
  • Bruce Williams Pavilion
  • Carslaw Building
  • Charles Perkins Centre
  • Eastern Avenue Auditorium and Theatre Complex
  • Economics and Business Building
  • Mallett Street
  • Queen Mary Building
  • Services Building
  • Seymour Centre
  • Social Sciences Building
  • Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre
  • The Arena Sports Centre
  • The School of Information Technologies
  • University Garage
  • Veterinary Science Conference Centre
  • Wallace Theatre
  • Wilkinson Building.

Our Sustainability Framework ensures our built environment is resource efficient, cost effective for our daily operations and provides improved environmental, economic and social benefits to students, staff and surrounding communities.

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 that 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

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.

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 walkingcycling and public transport to 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 Sydney School 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 in-ground 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.

Join the Ground Up Facebook group to keep up to date on garden news and upcoming working bees and events.

Reduce your waste line

Use re-useable water bottles, coffee cups and shopping bags.
Put all your cans, bottles and co-mingled recycling into a yellow bin.
Put all clean paper and cardboard into a blue bin.

Pesticides Use Notification Plan

Download PDF

Got an idea?

Contact the Sustainable Campus team