The University of Wollongong aims to reduce its energy consumption by a record amount for this year’s earth hour.

The university will again participate in earth hour activities, encouraging everyone to turn off any unnecessary items on Friday afternoon when they leave.

UOW’S Environment manager, Lisa Miller, says that the Vice-Chancellor has set the target at 12% for 2012.

“The best we’ve gotten previous years is 9% overall but we’ve gotten some buildings to reduce their energy consumption by 37%, so you know, the ability’s there, it’s just getting enough people to buy into it and really do it,” Ms Miller said.

Ms Miller said she hopes everyone gets involved in participating in earth hour by switching off computers, monitors, lights, printers and anything that doesn’t need to be on.

“So what we do is, we look at the difference between this weekend and last weekend, and this weekend and last year, so that we can compare.”

Earth hour is an important part of the university’s environment strategy in reducing their ecological footprint.

“From an environment management perspective, we really use this weekend as a gauge of what’s possible and hat whole thing of trying to make every hour earth hour,” Ms Miller said.

“I think it’s a really good kind of a model for what can be done.”

The university’s earth ‘weekend’ coincides with the worldwide earth hour, which is this Saturday beginning at 8:30pm.

According to Ms Miller, the environmental awareness that earth hour creates is important in making change.

“I mean earth hour started about five or six years ago in the city of Sydney and it’s now in 135 countries around the world, so just the hope that that gives the environmental movement that something can be done and people can get behind it, I think earth hour is really important for that kind of morale initiative.”

In addition to switching off over the weekend, the university is hosting a number of events to celebrate earth hour, including a forum tomorrow night, which focuses on renewable energy and a student-organised gig at uni bar on Saturday.

Words: Sophie Harris


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