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Ithaca College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to measure and report on progress made by Byron Region community College in relation to sustainable resource management as well as to observe, identify, and address and areas for improvement by developing recommendations in the categories of energy, waste and water. The college is dedicated in its vision to promote sustainability out of a sense of responsibility to the environment and future generations as well as a desire to train and prepare people for addressing 21st century problems such as climate change, drought, and peak oil. Energy, waste, and water make up a significant portion of how an institution interacts with the natural environment, and maximizing efficiency with these resources is paramount to achieving and promoting sustainability.

I assessed energy, waste, and water practices using information I gathered from a multitude of sources. I conducted an energy audit by observing energy use behaviors, measuring the electricity consumption of various devices, gathering data on solar energy production, interviewing staff, and assessing electricity bills from the local utility company. Information on waste management was gathered by sorting through and conducting weight comparisons on rubbish, recycling, and organic material as well as through observation and interviews with staff. Water use management was assessed by observing the behaviors and infrastructure of the campus and interviewing staff members while also using bills from the local water utility to estimate per person daily water use. I then developed recommendations based on the observations and information collected during the study and valued them based on their likely impact, cost, and feasibility.

In many ways, Byron Region Community College is doing an excellent job of managing energy, waste, and water efficiently. I determined that the Mullumbimby campus is a yearly net exporter of over 5 MWH of renewable electricity to the grid and consumes an estimated daily average of 8.7 L of water per person, which is considered efficient. All of the necessary mechanisms for proper waste management are in place but a significant portion of the landfill rubbish each week is improperly sorted recyclable or compostable material. While the college is doing extremely well in the three areas of energy, waste, and water, there are opportunities for continual improvement.

Disciplines

Natural Resources and Conservation | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability | Water Resource Management

 

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