Changing the way we are being powered
Using Solar Energy
Worldwide, the problem is concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are drastically increasing, which means global temperatures are rising and extreme weather events are more frequent which impacts us all.
Graduate House is aiming to Go Solar to address the problem, adopting a well established system that produces no pollution, has no environmental effects and is ecologically sustainable - using Solar Panels to generate energy at Graduate House.
HELP US BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION
What are we doing?
Going Solar is installing 88 Solar Photo Voltaic Units (solar panels) on the roof of Graduate House as a primary energy source for the building and our activities. Our aim is to contribute towards balancing our expanding global energy consumption with the need to reduce our carbon footprint.
Why are we Going Solar?
As a post graduate residential college hosting over 120 residents at any one time, a large amount of energy is consumed. The major portion of energy is used by the residents in the college, within individual rooms, kitchens and toilets, communal areas, library, hot water and other public spaces.
The average electricity consumption ranges from 725 kWh to 1521 kWh. Graduate Union is already in compliance with the environmental rules and regulations of Victorian and Commonwealth Government and has also adopted measures to save energy.
Installing 88 Solar Photovoltaic Units (PV) on the roof of the southern and central wings of Graduate House will help us control our energy usage and bills as it helps make energy domestic. They are durable and chances of service interruption are reduced.
It helps us take a step towards becoming an organisation relying on renewable energy resources for daily consumption and use by residents, staff and meeting guests.
Australia receives an average of 58 million PJ of solar radiation per year, approximately 10 000 times larger than its total energy consumption, which is only 0.1% of Australia's total primary energy consumption.
Source: Geo Science Australia
How did we get here?
The Graduate House is on a quest to make our residential colleges and buildings more sustainable and eco-friendly through our redevelopment campaign.
We work with our residents to improve the College and environment at large. Fatima Yaseen, one of our residents conducted an environmental audit on the Graduate House as part of her Environment Management course. By examining five aspects of the house, she provided a report highlighting recommendations and measures to help advance our sustainable practices. As part of measures already adopted to save energy, she noted that:
“A solar panel is used to heat up the water in the Stella Langford wing. Once the water is heated by the solar power, it goes to a reserve tank which keeps the water hot for the residents.”
Her recommendations regarding energy use are:
“Similar to Stella Langford, solar panels can be introduced for heating water. It would be cost efficient to introduce it in the old wing first as the number of bathrooms are less than that of the main building.”
Based on this proposal, Graduate House initiated research into this idea and is actively fundraising for this cause.
Why this matters
Over 85% of energy generation in Australia relies predominantly on burning non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal and gas. When these fossil fuels are burnt, it releases CO2 pollution into the atmosphere.
Burning coal contributes to 73% of carbon pollution, while burning gas contributes to 13%.
Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere causes rising global temperatures and climate change which results in global warming.
Australians are big producers of CO2 pollution compared to the rest of the world. Our level of CO2 pollution per person is nearly double the average of other developed nations and more than four times the world average.
Today, the fact is, global temperatures are rising, extreme weather events are more frequent and concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are drastically increasing.
Although it is very difficult to reverse what has already been done in the environment, the Graduate House is intentionally taking a step to create an ecologically sustainable environment that we can all enjoy.
This is why Graduate House wants to take measure to counteract CO2 emissions in everyday use.
Adopting Solar generated energy mechanisms to create electricity helps reduce our carbon footprint and helps balance our expanding energy needs for the Graduate House.
This is not the ultimate answer to solve global warming, but going solar is definitely a part of the solution.
What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is created when heat and light from the sun are converted to electricity or is used to heat substances. This can be done through different methods.
Solar energy can be directly converted to electricity using photovoltaic cells (PV). These cells can be installed as (solar) panels on rooftops and are currently the most widespread type of solar PV technology.
Solar thermal technology converts sunlight to heat for either space heating or water heating systems.
Graduate House will use 88 solar panels or photovoltaic cells to help convert sunlight into electricity for the residential units, meeting and function spaces, kitchen and other living spaces.
Benefits of Going Solar
- Sunlight is a free and massive source of energy - if the sun's energy all over the earth was captured for just one hour, the entire world could be powered for a year!
- Power and electricity can be produced at the point of demand - energy does not have to be transferred over long distances using expensive electric infrastructure.
- Australia is one of the sunniest continents around the world. However only 0.1% of our primary energy consumption uses solar power. The sunlight we receive is 10,000 times larger than the total energy that is consumed.
- Solar energy produces no pollution, no waste, has no environmental effects and is ecologically acceptable.
- Solar is really a technology that can address the dual needs of expanding global energy consumption and decarbonisation.
- Utilising solar energy is a part of the solution to help with today's climate change. Generating electricity with solar power instead of fossil fuels can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2).
Cost saving measures already adopted by Graduate House
- LED bulbs are used for lightening up the public areas and residents’ rooms.
- The lights in hallways, entrances, reception and kitchen have motion sensors which automatically turns off when the rooms are not in use.
- Air conditioners will operate only when the room key is inserted in the power socket.
- The Stella Langford wing's, apartments’ energy connection is related to the key card.
- A solar panel is used to heat up the water in the Stella Langford wing. Once the water is heated by the solar power, it goes to a reserve tank which keeps the water hot for the residents.
Looking at the numbers
Photo Voltaic Units
Residential Rooms and other meeting and functions spaces to be powered at Graduate House
Individuals benefited at any one time
To purchase and install the panels.
Help us be a part of the solution that creates an ecologically sustainable environment.
By donating to this campaign, you are helping reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere, which ultimately helps manage climate change.
By giving to this fund today, you not only help meet the target required to facilitate the venture, 'Go Solar', you also help keep the fund in perpetuity. A small portion, 5% of your donation will be transferred to the endowment fund to meet its target, generate interest and keep the fund running in perpetuity. As The Graduate House expands, this endowment fund will provide resources for more solar panels or new ventures.
All donations over $2 to the Graduate House and the Graduate House ventures and projects are tax deductible.