EIT Hawke’s Bay’s campus is getting greener – and not just because spring is finally here.
Staff and students weathered a chilly winter in pulling together to cut back unnecessary power usage and create a more eco-friendly campus.
Even during the season’s coldest snaps, there were no let-ups in a ‘switching off’ campaign, with the institute going against national trends for power consumption. As an example of that, facilities manager Brent Newton says EIT used 60043 Kwh for the week ending August 15 compared to 64012Kwh for the same week last year. “The cold weather across the country resulted in highest demand week for the year.”
The ‘switching off” campaign is just one of many actions that put EIT in the vanguard of New Zealand’s tertiary sector in building a culture of sustainability.
Earlier this year, chief executive Chris Collins signed a contract with the Ministry of Environment which has committed the institute to achieving carbon neutrality by 2012.
To reach this target, EIT mapped out a three-year plan providing a coordinated set of actions that integrate key environmental issues with good business practices.
The undertaking is not a soft option for the institute – to comply with the contract, it must submit annual carbon accounting returns. Should it fail to meet the five-year deadline, it could be required to purchase carbon offsets.
EIT is the sole ITP (institutes of technology and polytechnics) member on Govt3. The institute volunteered 18 months ago for the initiative, which is aimed at making Government agencies more sustainable.
Mr Collins said: “Having recycled and developed a range of sustainable practices over some years, EIT wanted to see sustainable ideals and practices become mainstream for staff, students and the wider Hawke’s Bay community.”
The institute established a sustainability group comprising members of staff and these volunteers appraise existing practices, brainstorm ideas and implement actions aimed at achieving improvements.
These have included:-
. a worm composting system to process the institute’s organic waste, reducing the waste stream going into landfill
. three ‘green’ Toyota Prius hybrid cars have been added to EIT’s fleet of vehicles
. EIT is investigating the feasibility of a solar power feedback system which would feed the national grid when not supplying power on campus
. operating a bokashi system to complement its conventional composting bins – designed by staff, the bokashi buckets incorporate a collapsible steel sieve and tap to drain off the liquid from organic waste produced by kitchens around the campus, and the resultant concentrated plant food is sold as Boost Juice
. establishing a teleconferencing centre which allows staff and students to network widely and reduces the institute’s carbon foot print by cutting back on air miles
A key member of EIT’s sustainability group, Dick Hilton of Corporate Services says staff and students share a sense of pride in making a difference. “The commitment has reached out campus-wide so that everyone’s getting involved in different ways. It’s a push that’s gaining momentum.”