TAFE takes top honours
A combination of energy efficiency measures– including a lighting upgrade yielding savings of $118,000 a year – has helped the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute take out the 2012 Australian Business Award for Environmental Sustainability.
According to Jeremy Geach, Environmental Manager at the Institute, since the adoption of an Environmental Business Plan in 2010, electricity and gas use has dropped significantly across the Institute’s 20 campuses, with a 5.93 per cent reduction in electricity use and 15.6 per cent for gas.
‘We upgraded a lot of our lights, employed solar tinting on north-westerly facing windows, upgraded and replaced a lot of old air conditioners and electric hot water services,’ Jeremy said.
The lighting upgrade involved replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs with around 14,000 fluorescent tubes.
Another area where the Institute is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable business practice is in the ‘embedding’ of green skills into all qualifications.
‘Any typical course, whether it’s a Certificate III or IV or an apprenticeship, will have a green skills component,’ Jeremy said.
‘If it’s an apprentice electrician, they’ll learn about the installation of solar PV, more efficient lighting and motion sensors.
Apprentice builders will learn about the various types of insulation and how to install it, passive cooling techniques and building orientation,’ Jeremy said.
The Institute is now aiming to build on its leadership role with a Gold accreditation under the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program by 2013-14.
‘You obviously need a pretty solid strategy but I really see it (sustainability) as a key area where you can do a lot to improve your business’ bottom line.’