Net Zero initiative
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Monash Net Zero initiative wins UN prize

Monash University and ClimateWorks Australia have won the Momentum for Change Award presented by the United Nations at the Climate Week conference in New York for the Net Zero Initiative.

The initiative aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions from Monash’s built environment by 2030. This requires extensive work on the HVAC system, which accounts for around 70 per cent of the university’s energy load.

The project includes:

● An innovative solar thermal system with evacuated tube technology

● A comprehensive energy-efficiency program, including LED lighting upgrades, mechanical plant renewal and optimisation

● The rollout of 7,100 solar panels by the end of 2018, bringing rooftop solar capacity to nearly 4MW

● A long-term power purchase agreement with the Murra Warra wind farm

● A 1MWh hybrid energy storage system

● Thermal precincts incorporating centralised heating and cooling hubs

● A microgrid that will control how and when energy is used across campus and provide a model for how to power a sustainable and reliable electricity network and maximise value for customers.

Momentum for Change is spearheaded by the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat. It recognises innovative and transformative solutions – or Lighthouse Activities – that address climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges, highlighting activities that are moving the world towards a highly resilient, low-carbon future.

“These activities shine a light on scalable climate action around the world,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “They are proof that climate action isn’t only possible, it’s innovative, it’s exciting and it makes a difference.”

Professor Margaret Gardner AO, President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, said: “This award is an affirmation of the commitment Monash has made to address climate change and its effects.

“Sustainability is a strategic priority for Monash. We want each of our campuses to become exemplars of environmental practice, integrating our education, research and industry partnerships with our built environment.”

Adrian Daniels, Mechanical Services Asset Planning Engineer at Monash University, recently presented on the Net Zero initiative at AIRAH’s Future of HVAC Conference.

“HVAC has such a large role to play in supporting the transition to a low-carbon future,” he said, “so we are delighted that the UN has recognised this potential through showcasing the work Monash is doing to create super-efficient, 100 per cent renewable powered mechanical systems for our buildings and campuses. The Net Zero Team at Monash is proud to receive the award and is committed to delivering the outcome.”

Developed in collaboration with ClimateWorks Australia, Monash’s Net Zero Initiative was designed to make the university’s Australian campuses “living laboratories”.

“It’s a real demonstration of leadership by Monash, helping pave the way for our low-carbon future,” said ClimateWorks Project Manager Sarah Fumei.

“Where else could you conduct a live experiment at scale in what is effectively a mini-city, with willing participants and a team of multidisciplined experts monitoring results and adjusting inputs in real time?”

Monash and ClimateWorks Australia are now working with industry and government to communicate the lessons learned from the Net Zero Initiative, and encourage other organisations to undertake similar initiatives.


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