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Sustainability Award Won by University of Sydney

The development of a new assessment tool for organisations to calculate their ecological footprint has seen the University of Sydney take out the public sector sustainability category of the state's leading environmental awards.

The NSW Government's Green Globe Awards are given each year to NSW organisations that showcase outstanding achievement in the sustainable use of natural resources, and leadership in tackling climate change.

The University of Sydney has been awarded the Green Globe Public Sector Sustainability Award in recognition of the work of its Integrated Sustainability Analysis research team.

Professor Maschmeyer, director of the University of Sydney Institute for Sustainable Solutions (USISS) remarks that: "It is very exciting for the Institute that one of its founding groups has been recognised in this way. The work has provided the back-bone for many other projects that draw on its ability to generate a sound basis for analysis and subsequent action. I expect that this effort and others emanating from USISS will make lasting contributions to sustainability."

The Integrated Sustainability Analysis team has made an enormous contribution to sustainability in NSW and globally by making the measuring of the carbon footprint of a business or organisation much easier. Their method involves inputting data to a computer program to devise truly sustainable strategies and outcomes that benefit the environment, economy and society.

While undertaking general research, the team developed an ecological footprint assessment framework. It takes into account everything from money spent, industrial interdependency, energy and water consumption, and carbon emissions to reveal just what environmental impact a business is having, from the very start of its supply chain through to the end product.

The University also recently received the Stormwater Industry Association NSW Award for Excellence in Stormwater Management and Initiatives. It received this award for the stormwater recycling systems recently completed on the Camperdown and Darlington campuses as part of our Campus 2010+ building program.

These systems employ water sensitive urban design principles to collect runoff from Eastern Avenue, Darlinghurst Road, Maze Crescent and nearby pavements and rooftops, filtering most of it through rain gardens and re-using it for local irrigation and internal fixtures in our new buildings.

The systems themselves are integral to the rejuvenated landscapes to be enjoyed by staff, students, local residents and visitors. The project demonstrates how green building principles can help create a "drought-proof" campus for the University and clean water for Sydney's waterways.

Manager for campus sustainability, John Lavarack, said this was a leading example of a new approach to building our urban landscapes that recognises stormwater as having multiple values - ecological, recreational and as a resource in itself - rather than simply as 'waste' to be removed rapidly from the landscape.

Continuing to move on the sustainability front the University is seeking to involve the entire University staff community through the launch of a Sustainable Workplace Initiative to engage staff to respond to the challenges of implementing sustainable practices at work.

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