What does it mean to be carbon neutral?

Carbon Neutral banner

By Isabel Anderson

Charles Sturt University (CSU) is now a national leader in sustainability, following an announcement as Australia’s first Carbon Neutral University earlier this year. This is something for each and every one of us to be proud of!

What does being ‘carbon neutral’ mean?
Being carbon neutral means there in no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the result of carbon offsetting. CSU is now certified as ‘carbon neutral’ against the National Carbon Offset Standard as part of the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Program.

Various staff at CSU have been working to reach this status across all campuses. Energy efficiency has played a large part of CSU’s mission, and demonstrates the University’s commitment to a sustainable future.

What is carbon neutrality?
In a nutshell, carbon neutrality is achieved when greenhouse gas emissions for a particular activity, process or organisation are equal to zero. It involves a lot of calculating and reducing emissions as much as possible.

How did CSU achieve this?
A huge range of initiatives we’re involved in the process. Bathurst’s CoGen plant, various multi-campus energy projects are just a couple. You may have noticed upgrades to the air-conditioning, changes to LED lighting, the fitting of sensor lights and solar panels, and replacement of external lighting on classrooms and campus buildings.

How can you help?
Everyone can help to reduce carbon emissions at CSU. All communities, staff, students and alumni are encouraged to contribute in any way possible.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  •  join CSU Green initiatives such as tree planting days held annually across CSU campuses
  • apply for the CSU Sustainability Grant program to fund innovative sustainable ideas
  • reduce waste by recycling
  • walk or ride a bike instead of driving to class
  • travel with classmates where possible
  • turn off your lights, air-conditioners and computers when you’re not using them.

Learn more about Australia’s first carbon neutral university.