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5 things you didn’t know about sustainability at Curtin

News story

More than ever before, people around Australia are considering how their actions impact the environment and whether or not they are sustainable.

Students walking down main strip of Perth campus with a yellow sign marking teh Creative Quartre in teh backgroun and with tall pine trees and students sitting under them too.

As a student who may worry about environmental issues, it is important you know you belong to a uni that is committed to embedding sustainability principles and practices across our research, teaching and your student experience, and that we are aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Here are five things, big and small, that you may not know about environmental sustainability actions happening at Curtin.

♻️ We have a 6-Star plan for a world-class sustainable campus

You may already be using the new Exchange precinct or enjoying the new Curtin Central Bus Interchange in the Northern part of the Perth campus. It would be easy to think that these are just some new modern buildings to house our large student body or to freshen the campus. What you may not know is that there is an award-winning master plan underway to transform our Perth campus into a globally connected innovation village with world-class sustainable development at its heart. It is called the Greater Curtin Master Plan and in 2015, it received Australia’s first 5 Star, Green Star – Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia and this was upgraded to a 6-Star Green Star re-certification in 2020.

️ You can see Curtin’s energy usage in real-time!

For the number lovers, there is a live dashboard called Living Campus that shows the real-time energy usage on our Perth campus, with a timeline of the major energy-saving initiatives at Curtin. According to UNESCO, world energy use is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.  Curtin has reduced energy consumption by three per cent every year and introduced a suite of energy reduction initiatives to tackle this and is part of a new national blueprint, which seeks to address the net-zero challenge for universities in Australia.

️ You can take a seat while your phone charges using energy from the sun!

Picture this: It is a nice sunny day in Perth. You are out for a stroll listening to a recorded lecture – a win-win, but suddenly your phone dies. Instead of worrying about trying to get access to a power-point in the library, you simply take a seat on the closest public bench and have a short break while it charges your phone, supplies free WIFI and even provides a night light if it starts to get dark. We have good news – this picture is closer than you think! The future is here at Curtin with our two Synergy solar benches. There are only six of these benches in use in Western Australia to date and Curtin is home to two of them. You can give these futuristic benches a try in the Creative Quarter or Koorliny Way.

️ Riding your bike to campus has never been easier with our bike pods and bike repair vending machines!

Gone are the days that cycling to uni would leave you a sweaty mess or needing a lift if you got a puncture. Curtin has invested in a range of facilities to encourage you to cycle to Perth campus. There are over 500 bike racks at more than 40 locations, campus-wide. There are bike pods which include electric bike charging points, lockers and shower facilities or extra secure bike parks with showers and lockers too.

There are also two vending machines on campus that provide emergency items for your bike like spare tubes, bike lights, and locks. We also have tyre pumps and repair stands nearby to do any maintenance that is needed on your bike. For information on cycling to Perth campus, visit the Cycling webpage.

Your Student Guild has gone green!

An exciting student-driven project that has happened at Curtin, is packaging on the food and drinks prepared by Guild-run food outlets have switched to using biodegradable and compostable products. Like carbon-neutral take-away containers, recyclable cardboard trays, bioplastic cups, sustainable straws and bamboo cutlery. Curtin Student Guild has more details on the project on its Sustainability web page.

These are just five ways that Curtin is engaging with environmental sustainability in and around campus. This article is the first part in our Sustainability Month series, which highlights sustainability initiatives in and around campus in the lead up to the Sustainability Challenge intensive taking place at the end of June.