Skip to Content

Reducing Energy & Emissions

Property has implemented considerable energy demand reduction across campus using a variety of initiatives including:

E6B Solar PanelsSolar installation E6B: New 21.12 kW solar installation at E6B.
At the end of 2010, Sustainability and Property installed a new 21.12 kW solar PV panel array on the north facing roof at E6B.
The system will abate 2,300 kg CO2e pa and generate 53 kWh per day (on average). The panels were installed by Solar Technology and consist of 96 x 220W Photovoltaic modules [BP 3220T].

Solar StreetlightsSolar Streetlights: 8 solar streetlights have been installed along Link Road as a pilot. If this proves to be successful, then solar lighting will be installed in locations across campus.


Solar Hot Water System - X6B: A solar hot water system was installed for the childcare commercial kitchen in 2010. This solar system replaced an existing boiler.

Off-peak Thermal Storage TanksOff-peak thermal storage tanks:
These 1,000,000 L tanks allow the University to chill water for air cooling overnight and store it for distribution when required. This means that we need less equipment (2 chillers, instead of 7), can operate when its cold outside so at far greater efficiency, and at off-peak times.

Why is it important to reduce peaks?
To prevent frequent blackouts, energy companies need to build infrastructure and power capacity to meet peak demand. That means that power infrastructure and production needs to be adequate to meet power needs that might only be required for a very small percentage of the time. This means bigger electricity bills for everyone, as these infrastructure costs are spread between users and now make up a very significant component of energy bills. It also means lots of wasted resources, the embodied energy associated with the new infrastructure, as well as the fact that coal power is the only power (other than oil fuelled power) that can respond quickly to peaks and troughs in demand. Reducing these peaks and troughs where we can, means that Macquarie University is supporting the potential for fossil fuel free mains power.

1,000,000L of water – where does that go?
The water is used in air conditioning, it is distributed to various Heating Cooling and Ventilation (HVAC) systems where it absorbs heat from the cooling process. It is then returned to the tank, where it is slowly dispersed into the bottom, creating a temperature inversion, so the cool water at the top is naturally separated from the warm water at the bottom. Then the next night… we chill the warm water again.

Any other benefits?
The TES tanks allow us to get rid of refrigerant base air conditioning systems. As refrigerants have a very high global warming potential (some of them thousands of times more potent as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that carbon dioxide) by switching to water cooled systems, we reduce our carbon footprint.

^ back to top

Cogen Plant 1.5MW Co-generation Plant
The Co-generation plant is actually a “trigeneration” plant. The waste heat from the University’s Co-Generation plant is used to generate electricity and to heat (the University pool) and chill (absorption chiller).
The University’s Co-generation plant was commissioned in 2001, which makes it one of the first applications of Co-generated power outside of heavy industry. The plant has two engines and anticipates a third. The generators are down for a few months every few years for maintenance, however, when both generators are operating to standard schedules, the University abates 5,400t CO2e per year. To put this into perspective, it is about 16% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the University’s buildings in the 2009/10 financial year!

Geothermal Heat Displacement Field - E11AGeothermal Heat Displacement Field – at E11A
What is a geothermal heat displacement field?
A geothermal heat displacement field is where boreholes are drilled deep into the earth and outside air is pumped down these holes to be cooled (or heated) by the naturally consistent temperate temperatures underground.
Where are the boreholes?
There are 64 holes laid out beneath the grass (and lots of earth and stabilisation material) between E11A and the lake.

Electrical metering of all buildings and building services.
Sub-metering systems are being rolled out across campus to support the University’s long term environmental targets. The sub-metering system measures and monitors both energy and water consumption for all major buildings within the academic core.

Air-conditioning modifications including:

  • variable volume air-conditioning systems.
  • using air-conditioning set points:
    Air-conditioning is one of Macquarie’s major energy users and consequently greenhouse gas emitters. To reduce both energy use and emissions, the University has a policy of no heating until the temperature falls below 20 degrees and no cooling until the temperature rises above 25 degrees. Adjusting the temperature ranges to more appropriate outside conditions will enable us to make substantial energy and carbon emission savings.

^ back to top

Sensor Light & T5 Fluorescent Lighting Upgrade
Sensor lighting has been installed in hallways and classrooms in building E6A and E8C laboratories. The lights will switch off by themselves after a short period. The tubes have also been switched over from T8-T5 fluorescent tubes.

Energy Saving Campaign

Energy saving campaign

A campus wide campaign to encourage all staff to turn off lights and equipment. These stickers (left) have been applied to all light switches, office areas and tutorial rooms across campus.

Saving energy means reducing both costs and importantly, greenhouse gas emissions. Macquarie University is part of the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Certificate (NGAC) scheme.


The University is currently undertaking a process of planning for greenhouse gas reduction. The project being undertaken with ARUP will cover the following elements:

Emissions Planning

^ back to top

« Back to Property


Want to get involved?

Join the Energy & Emissions Action Group. If energy and emissions are of interest to you then please contact us or send us an email: and get involved.