Sustainable by design
Our campuses span three interconnecting UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, and grounds are set on flora and fauna reserve.
Environmentally sustainable design
Environmentally sustainable design principles are at the centre of UniSC-built campuses. Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay are award-winning exemplars showing what can be achieved when the planning is right.
Innovation for efficiency
Master planned and efficient, our campuses are home to sustainability firsts like the thermal water battery that uses power from the sun to power the campus. It's all sustainably led, from building design to the drought-tolerant plants in the landscapes that minimise water use. It's why we are award-winning.
Retrospective improvements with partners
Where we lease space, we work with partners to retrospectively better and improve the sustainability performance of operations.
From adding solar, to fitting more energy efficient lights and ensuring all water fittings have efficient WELS ratings, we take our impact seriously.
UniSC works directly on planning to minimise physical, chemical and biological alterations of related ecosystems on campus.
Local biodiversity is included in the planning and development phase of all new construction across all campuses at UniSC. We ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of all terrestrial ecosystems.
We also work to reduce the impact of invasive alien species that may negatively impact native biodiversity, ecosystem services or human economy and well-being.
Sustainably sourced food
Our catering and food service supports our strategic goals, giving preference to food that is sustainably sourced, farmed or caught.
We have guidelines to identify, monitor and protect any IUCN Red Listed species and national conservation list species that habits or is used in research projects by UniSC staff.
The UniSC Animal Welfare Guidelines - Fish (PDF 4.6MB) details how protected species should be managed through the permitting system, especially when caught as by catch.
Preserving ecosystems under threat
UniSC has undertaken a major land restoration project and collaboration, moving natural vegetation and soil from a neighbouring development site at Bundilla and replanting it at UniSC Sunshine Coast.
In collaboration with the local community, UniSC has committed to the long term management of the compensatory habitat since it's initial move in 2012. Over decades we've preserved the shared land ecosystems and flora and fauna that call it home. UniSC conducts planned burns to facilitate regeneration on an annual basis (image right).
UniSC students study the compensatory habitat as a living case study and successful example of restoration ecology at work. The local community is also involved in education programs at the site. This is one example of many educational programmes on ecosystems we facilitate.
Research to protect and conserve
The conservation of vulnerable and endangered animal species is a key focus for our research. We partner with local communities on projects relating to natural, land and aquatic ecosystems.
From conservation of turtles, manta rays, koalas and other wildlife to citizen science to precisely model our coastlines to better understand and plan for erosion, dune vegetation and turtle nesting, we are creating a better future, with insights and care for a better environment.
We are committed to tracking and reducing the amount of carbon energy we use, and reducing our carbon footprint at every campus. Our goal? Carbon neutral by 2029.
Climate action now
Our Carbon Management Plan is UniSC's climate action plan and roadmap to achieving carbon neutrality. It sets out the Universitiy's commitment to carbon neutral by 2029, and emissions boundary and carbon footprint. It establishes four themed action plans with more than twenty initiatives. We share the plan with government, local community groups and the university community so we can partner to reach the goal.
Innovation for impact
New thinking in energy management and innovative energy saving projects support our ambitious targets. We're the first Australian university to use a water battery, a new form of clean energy, to cut our energy bill at UniSC Sunshine Coast by a third. It's just one of many projects driving progress to the goal, and another example of living classrooms in action. UniSC students learn to innovate for change so we can leave our planet better for current and future generations.
We encourage sustainable transport options including cycling paths, shuttle bus services and carpooling.
Better use of water
UniSC considers resource conservation in all its projects from construction to operation.
Strict building standards
Water is a precious resource that is fiercely conserved and protected at UniSC. We apply innovative techniques and building standards to minimise water, guided by parameters set out in our Sustainability Operating Policy. Our design standards are strict— only water efficient fixtures and fittings in our operations.
Recycle and re-use
Innovative water recycling initiatives have seen UniSC claim several firsts including becoming the first university in Australia to use recycled water in a swimming pool. UniSC uses recycled water to achieve significant water savings.
An integrated catchment system directs storm water, rain and wastewater through a system of swales and creeks for collection and storage in lakes that is used for irrigation, air-conditioning and more at UniSC Sunshine Coast. Both Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast campuses harvest rain water to re-use in campus operations.
Free drinking water
Free drinking water is provided to all students, staff and visitors on campus through the water refill campus initiative.
Drought tolerant plants
UniSC is committed to water-conscious planting, planting landscapes to minimise water use, and using drought-tolerant plants wherever possible.
Innovating to reduce impact
We use elecrolysis technology to combine simple ingredients of salt and water to produce eWater, which is used at UniSC campuses as a more sustainable, non-toxic cleaning agent.
Recycle, re-use and reduce. These are words we live by at UniSC.
Reducing plastic waste
UniSC is committed to supporting a circular economy and established targets. Our programs include reducing plastic waste through our water refill campus initiative, bring your own cup programs, and no single-use water bottle sales on campus.
Expanded and on-site composting
We've expanded our composting on site, and ensure procurement guidance to reduce waste that goes to landfill. Our On-site Composting Apparatus (OSCA the composter) operates at UniSC Sunshine Coast turning campus waste into nutrient rich compost.
Compostable food packaging
UniSC campus food outlets are required to use compostable catering supplies including coffee cups, lids, plates, cutlery and containers so they can be processed through OSCA. Put your waste in the green bin and help OSCA the composter produce nutrient rich compost.
We reduce waste wherever we can and measure our progress. For example, in 2022, 54 percent of waste at UniSC Sunshine Coast was from recycling and organic waste. The Waste Management Operational Plan (PDF 1.52MB) sets out our strategies and goals and data helps us to see where we are doing well, and where our focus needs to be.
As well as more sustainable printing and processes, UniSC has a green partnership with Ricoh to reduce our carbon footprint, and recycle cartridges and parts used in print processes.
UniSC takes action to support achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's)
- Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
- Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
- Goal 13: Climate action
- Goal 14: Life below water
- Goal 15: Life on land
- Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Explore UniSC's latest rankings.