220 Lecister Street

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.


The Australian continent has the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent and consequently some of the best solar energy resource in the world.

Source: Geo Science Australia

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.

“An average of six panels a minute are being installed in Australia", with over two million households enjoying the benefits of solar power.

Source: Clean Energy Council 

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 reduce our carbon footprint and become more environmental friendly in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

There is more than one solar panel installed per person in Australia.

Source: Clean Energy Council

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.

The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.

– Richard Rogers


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. 

Learn more about The Graduate House and browse through a list of our other crowdfunded projects.


How is energy currently used at Graduate House

The major portion of energy is used by the residents in the college. All the resident rooms use electricity for lighting and air-conditioning. The main building residents have fans and mini fridges in their rooms. Graduate House provides communal washing machines, dryers and ironing facilities for the residents separately for the old wing and main building. The Stella Langford apartments have electrical cookers, micro-ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers. The residents also use electricity in their rooms to operate electrical equipments like laptop, speakers, hairdryers etc. The residents’ kitchen is well equipped with electrical equipments such as dish washer, micro-ovens and several fridges for storing residents’ groceries.

Each of the hallway, dining room, conference room, reception, library and other public spaces are well lit and room temperatures are well-maintained. The main building and Stella Langford wing have elevators for commuting. The electricity is further used for proving hot water to the residents. Graduate House pay electrical bill approximately from $40000 to $50000 for every three months.

What are the current measures Graduate House adopts to save energy?

  1. The LED bulbs are used for lightening up the public areas and residents’ rooms.
  2. The lights in hallways, entrances, reception and kitchen have motion sensors. They automatically turn off at night if none is in the room.
  3. In order to save energy, each room’s air conditioner will only operate when the room key is inserted in the power socket. Mr. Daniel Clark (2015) informed that though the initial investment was huge, it turned out to be a cost effective venture. This measure kept the energy bill moderately low.
  4. In Stella Langford wing, apartments’ energy connection is related to the key card. When the resident inserts the key card in the energy saving device on entering his room, electricity connection is switched on and when the key card is retrieved, the electrical connection is turned off for every electrical equipment (other than the refrigerator) within 5 minutes.
  5. 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.

What is the timeline of this venture?

Go Solar will start in line with the Diamond Jubilee redevelopment plan of Graduate House. Installing solar panels is one of the projects with the rebuilding campaign. Once the construction of the building is done, the solar panels will be installed. The estimated completion of construction is set be complete sometime in mid 2022.

How are the funds allocated for this venture and the entire redevelopment venture of the Graduate Union?

The funds raised in this campaign feeds into the Diamond Jubilee Fundraising Campaign for the redevelopment of the Graduate House and is reflected in that crowdfunding venture.
The main redevelopment project includes smaller individual ventures, such as this venture that are being crowdfunded for, for the main redevelopment.
You can donate either directly into the main redevelopment fundraising campaign. However, donating through this venture ensures that funds will be allocated for this venture – Going Solar.

Pledged of $50,000 Goal
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Taking a step closer to being a sustainable building by installing solar panels on the roof tops of Graduate House for environment friendly practices.
Step 1: Specify your contribution amount for Go Solar