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Massey University commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2030


Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas.

Massey University is setting an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the commitment is part of the University’s Climate Action Plan and will see Massey reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the key areas of energy, buildings, transport, farms and waste and recycling.

“As a University, we recognise the very serious challenges posed by climate change to the planet and its inhabitants,” Professor Thomas says. “We teach and undertake research on the impact of climate change and how we can mitigate and adapt to what many recognise as a global emergency.

“The research and engagement activities of our academics are contributing to the development of a low-carbon society. We are also committed to managing down our own greenhouse gas emissions so that, over time, the University’s carbon footprint will decrease. At the same time that we are reducing emissions, we will need to find ways to offset the emissions that cannot be avoided.”


Dr Allanah Ryan.

Business intelligence to inform carbon reduction initiatives

To reduce its energy emissions, the University will focus on improving its business intelligence – such as increased metering, analysis of energy use, modelling, reducing energy use and switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Massey University sustainability director Dr Allanah Ryan says, “This is a very ambitious target we have set for ourselves."

To achieve it by 2030 we are undertaking a strategic assessment process examining where carbon savings can be made given the current carbon profile of the University, and where opportunities exist to use fossil-free technologies, policies and behavioural change to meet the target.”

Details of Massey’s carbon-reducing initiatives and on-farm methane reduction will be worked out over the next few months. Initiatives being explored include:

  • Shifting the mode of transport from higher emitting transport modes (e.g. air, single occupant vehicles) to lower emitting ones (e.g. mass transit, active transport through cycling and walking, carpooling)

  • The conversion of natural gas boilers to electric heat pump technology

  • Installing roof top solar panels to offset daytime campus electrical demand

  • Replacing fluorescent lights with LEDs

  • Upgrading the thermal performance of buildings’ walls and windows, by improving insulation and replacing single for double glazed windows

  • Installation of light sensors

  • Electrifying its vehicle fleet (the University now has four electric vehicles in its fleet)

  • Development of on-site composting of organic and food waste.

In addition, the University is actively retiring some of its farm land from agriculture and opting for native plantings where appropriate. Some 12.5ha will be retired in 2019 – 2.5ha will go to production forestry while the balance (10ha) will be established in native species.

Agricultural research scientists are also working on Massey’s farms to explore how different feed crops, tillage, pastures, fertiliser use and precision agriculture can contribute to reducing methane production.


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