‘Fight for Planet A’ is an ABC series (Tuesday 8.30pm) showcasing practical advice to households and businesses on addressing sustainability issues. Liam Taylor from Planet Ark recently stated, “Australians are the worst performers globally in terms of per capita carbon emissions. This is driven by the proportion of fossil-fuel fired energy in our electricity mix, with coal-fired power still making up almost 60% of total electricity generation. Put simply, this can’t continue if emissions are to be lowered.”
The Whitefriars Sustainability and Environment Team are continually focussing on ways to reduce the College footprint. 2020 was the year to focus on College energy usage. Sustainability Victoria has set a benchmark that each student should use 400 kWh of energy per year. In 2019, Whitefriars College each student was using 563.73 KWh of energy, which is above the Victorian benchmark. Although the higher energy usage can be contributed to the new Science and Tech building, the College has been implementing energy saving initiatives over the years. These include; Lead2Sustain Conference, where Whitefriars students teach primary aged students about renewable energy, replacing Fluro lights with LED lights, solar panels, power saving printers, sensor lighting and heating in SandT building, replacing old heater and coolers to more efficient units, higher star rating appliances, planting trees near buildings for shade and encouraging staff to turn off heaters/cooling and lights in classrooms when leaving. The Home Learning Program will see a temporary drop in energy usage, however long-term energy usage considerations need to developed and implemented.
So what actions can we take at the College and home to reduce the emissions footprint generated by our electricity usage and make significant savings? Planet Ark has come up with the following tips:
- Reduce consumption
- Turning off lights when not in use
- Purchasing energy efficient products
- Taking shorter showers
- Turning off power points at the wall
- Using blankets or wearing extra clothes instead of turning up the heating
- Scaling back the use of energy-intensive appliances where possible
- Use public transport, walk or cycle for transport and commuting
- Switch lights to LED bulbs
- Research Energy Star labels when shopping for appliances
- Look to renewables
- Replace coal-fired electricity with a mixture of green/coal or completely green power. Ask your energy provider for details.
- Australia already has a proportion of wind and solar energy from 6 – 9.4% and 4.5 – 10.3% respectively from 2018 to 2020.
- Choose an electricity retailer that generates electricity from renewable energy source. Visit Green Electricity Guide.
- Are you considering home solar systems? Examples of Solar Energy companies include Planet Ark Power, Cherry Energy Systems, do a google search or ask your local social media community page for referrals.
- Carbon offsetting is an activity that prevents, reduces or removes greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere. Due to some levels of emissions being unavoidable, offsets are an important tool to maintain stable economics and investment whilst reducing overall emissions globally.
- Choose business or schemes that offer to offset carbon footprint for social and economic benefits.
Tune in to ABC next Tuesday at 8.30pm for the next instalment of ‘Fight for Planet A’ or visit http://planetark.org for more resource saving tips and sustainable resources.