Unitec was the first New Zealand signatory of the UN Commitment to Sustainable Practices of Higher Educational Institutions.
That has led it to up its game on environmental management, focus on waste and energy reduction and add a sustainability focus to its coursework.
Environmental sustainability manager Carolyn Cox says being an educational institution gives it a natural leadership opportunity.
“We are teaching sustainability across the curriculum. Regardless of whether you are studying to be an architect or a business manager or an IT manager, you learn what is relevant to your professions,” Cox says.
“Then there is all the stuff around greening the campus, including rehabilitation of the Wairaka stream.
“We also have more than 40 staff doing research related to sustainability.
Cox says the average age of Unitec students is 29, so many of them are able to immediately start influencing what happens back in their workplaces.
The institute has already saved money by reducing gas and water use, and it’s preparing to invest in electricity saving through software that will shut down computers on its network overnight and on weekends. “That should save $90,000.