UTS walks the talk with sustainability initiatives

Business and industry are some of the worst offenders when it comes to carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, and the problem is concentrated in Australia’s main cities. Although many building owners, managers and construction giants talk about sustainability, much of it evaporates in empty promises and there is a severe lack of government policy to enforce implementation.

In response, UTS has stepped up to fill the role of sustainability leader and has already delivered on many of its sustainability goals.

With the help of UTS Sustainability Manager Danielle McCartney, UTS has launched its City Campus Masterplan, a 10-year, $1.1 billion program of new buildings, upgrades to existing buildings and other initiatives such as solar power purchase agreements, that are set to reduce UTS’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2021.

Although some of the sustainable development goals can be quite daunting, Ms McCartney is an eternal optimist.

“I’ve seen so much improvement since I started this role at the University, and so much more awareness of sustainability principles, sustainable design, engineering and practices.

“I’m especially inspired by our students who come up with great ideas for sustainability initiatives. Seeing positive change and such enthusiasm keeps me motivated,” she explains.

Ms McCartney is particularly encouraged by the fact that changes are visible not only around her, but all around campus.

“Since I started at UTS I’ve really seen the awareness and commitment to sustainability permeate throughout the university. Change is happening in every corner, in every faculty, which is really exciting,” she says.

After dedicating over two decades of her life to sustainability in the area of the built environment and organisational sustainability, it is this universal understanding of our environmental responsibility she hopes to see in all layers of society.

“I’d like to see a world where sustainability is on everyone’s mind and everyone just does their part. My ultimate goal is not having to advise people what to do any more, but to just sit back and watch them do it.

“So ideally, I’d be out a job!” she laughs.

Banner image: Transparent glass Earth globe sitting on ferns.

Case study


The Problem

Many organisations need to improve their sustainability practices, many Sydney buildings are still energy-inefficient and unsustainable, and there is a real lack of leadership in sustainability within the Australian government.

The Response

UTS is working on its sustainability-focused City Campus Master Plan and has been tackling climate change in collaboration with the City of Sydney Council’s Better Buildings Partnership.

What helped accomplish this?

All of UTS’s new buildings include sustainable design and engineering initiatives, and many existing buildings have been upgraded, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

What has changed as a result?

UTS has hit and exceeded many of its sustainability targets, and as one of Sydney’s biggest public sector landowners, the University is demonstrating leadership in sustainability.


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