Energy (sustainable operations)

AUT strives to demonstrate leadership and excellence in energy transformation and has been implementing energy efficiency projects since 2009. Energy makes up nearly one quarter of our total carbon footprint – from transmission line losses, natural gas (used mainly to heat water), and electricity (used mainly for lighting, heating, cooling, lifts and escalators).  AUT’s energy provider is Meridian Energy.

2020 energy use

In 2020 around 15 GWh of electricity and 3 GWh of gas was used. This was down from around 19 GWh and 5 GWh respectively in 2019 and represents savings of around $800,000 and 467 tonnes of CO2e emissions. About 40% of the savings were due to the COVID-19 lockdowns while the remainder was due to operational and efficiency improvements.

What we're doing to meet energy targets

Our target in the AUT Sustainability Roadmap is a 50% reduction in CO2e emissions associated with energy by 2025, with a baseline of 2015. We will:

  • Move away from gas as an energy source
  • Realise 2GWh of energy savings over two years, from 2020 to 2022, through the energy graduate program
  • Implement efficient lockdown procedures to reduce energy use
  • Conduct energy audits of high usage buildings and implement recommendations
  • Campaign to staff and students to turn off unnecessary lights and equipment

Energy initiatives on campus

Our initiatives to reduce energy consumption across campuses include making building upgrades, moving away from gas use, and installing smart metres where possible.

Upgrades

Lots of upgrades to buildings across AUT have led to significant energy savings already, and more projects are planned.

  • UV lights in seven buildings and teaching spaces were put on time schedules
  • Lights are being replaced with energy saving LEDs
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades in many buildings

Transitioning from gas

Gas fired boilers in WB/WC buildings at the City Campus are being replaced with heat pumps to transition away from gas, which produces more CO2e emissions per unit of energy than electricity.

Smart metres

Smart metres are being installed in buildings to record energy consumption, voltage, current and other information so that we can identify and reduce areas of high energy consumption.

COVID-19 lockdowns

We saw significant energy savings during 2020's COVID-19 lockdowns, partly due to the efficient way buildings were shut down. During the lockdowns we were able to identify equipment, lights and systems that could be turned off. We added buildings and separate rooms to system used for remotely controlling and monitoring mechanical and electrical equipment like air conditioning and lighting. The successful and effective shutdown methodology we discovered during lockdowns will continue to be used during the Christmas closedown.

What you can do

Here are just some of the actions you can take to conserve energy:

  • Turn off lights when you are the last to leave a room and when there is enough natural light
  • Shut down your computer at the end of use, especially before weekends and holidays
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift when only going a few floors
  • Unplug devices when they are charged
  • Replace lightbulbs with LED
  • Wear clothing appropriate for the season
  • Take shorter showers and use cold machine washes for clothes

AUT's sustainability targets

Learn about all of our sustainability targets, and what we're doing to achieve them, in the AUT Sustainability Roadmap.

Sustainability Roadmap

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