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CDU achievements

CDU sustainability by campus location

  • CDU is making sustained efforts to have more sustainable campuses. However fluctuations in results should be viewed in the context of the natural environment. Biodiviersity has natural cycles and water and energy use fluctuate greatly depending on the humidity, rainfall and temperature. Climate summaries for each year are found on the Bureau of Meterology site. 


    Target: Reduce overall non-renewable energy use at NT campuses by 2020 by at least 5% compared with 2016.

    Result: Reduction of 13.8% between 2016 - 2019.

    Data includes Casuarina, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Waterfront, Sydney and Katherine Rural College Campuses.

    CDU annual energy use 2015 - 2020



    Target: By 2020 reduce overall water consumption by 20% compared to 2015.

    Result: Reduction of 19.7% over 2016 - 2019. (The opening figure is from 2016 as 2015's bore water figure is unavailable.)

    Water volumes calculated on Casuarina, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Waterfront and Katherine Rural College campuses. An increase was seen on several campuses in 2018, mostly due to large water leaks.

    CDU annual water use 2015 - 2019


    Recycling and Waste Minimisation

    Property and Facilities Services has reviewed and improved our procedures for managing and quantifying CDU's waste, and as a result, our 2019 figures do not conform to previous year's metrics. We will be establishing a new baseline in 2020.

    Target: Reduce total volume of CDU waste to landfill in 2020 by 20% compared to 2015.

    Result: 29% reduction in waste to landfill 2015 - 2018

    Recycling and waste minimisation has only been implemented on Casuarina, Palmerston and Waterfront campuses. 

    CDU Annual Volumes Waste to Landfill

    University Cleaning

    • The University’s contracted cleaning provider uses the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard, is a registered member of the Green Building Council of Australia, and uses processes aligned with Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) to drive sustainable cleaning practices.
    • Toilet paper, tissues and paper towel supplied by cleaners at Charles Darwin University are all Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  This includes using a mix of recycled material and pulp sourced from sustainable timber plantations.
    • Chemicals used are Green Seal Certified, and are fully biodegradable wherever possible and closest to neutral pH value compatible for the use for which they are intended so as to minimise impact on the environment.
    • Chemicals are dispensed using automated systems that ensure the right concentration of each product at all times, avoid waste of both chemicals and water.
    • Cleaners receive a Green Cleaning Training Program prior to commencement on site, addressing energy & water conservation, paper reduction, chemical minimisation, waste disposal & recycling, and spills management.
    • The University’s cleaning contract requires operational sustainability measures and identification of improvements to practices and methodology.  There are regular meetings with the contractor where opportunities identified by either party are discussed to implement ongoing improvements.



    • Biodiversity
      • Planted 3000 new plants on campus through the Land for Wildlife Program during 2017 - 2019. Plants have been selected by Greening Australia to be suitable for the Endangered Black-footed Tree Rat. Plants have been planted and maintained in a combined effort by Civil Training Students, Conservation and Land Management Students, Conservation Volunteers and Facilities Management staff.

      • Oveer 40 possum and rat nest boxes, and several black-cockatoo nesting boxes, installed on campus and beside southern walking track in a combined effort between Environment and Facilities Management staff.
      • Casuarina Campus is located to the south of the Shoal Bay site of Conservation Significance which is of international importance due to its birdlife. Data on campus birds is on Ebird.
      • If you would like to participate in the monitoring of species on campus, or view species already recorded, download the app iNaturalist. The NT Field Guide app developed by the Musuem and Art Gallery of the NT with Museum Victoria is also a useful tool.
      • Weed management plans in place to control gamba, mission grasses and others. Significant decreases in Gamba grass has been seen on Casuarina campus. 2018-19 Weed Management Plan (PDF, 7.71 MB) (PDF, 7.71 MB)
      • A 2018 survey via students of ENV209 Flora and Fauna Survey and Monitoring of the savanna woodland near Yellow 2 found that 5 mammal, 8 reptile and 16 bird species were observed in this area of campus. There are three known threatened species on campus.
      • A 2019 walk through of the western bushland on campus by the Envirocollective yielded the following species Acacia auriculiformis, Acacia dimidiata, Alstonia actinophylla, Brachychiton megaphyllus, Brachychiton paradoxum, Brachychiton diversifolius, Buchanania obovata, Cochlospermum fraseri, Cycas armstrongii, Exocarpus latifolius, Eucalyptus tetrodonta, Ficus opposita, Livistona humilis, Persoonia falcata, Pandanus spiralis, Planchonia careya, Gardenia megasperma, Grevillea decurrens, Pittosporum melanospermum, and Smilax sp.
      • Trapping of non-native species occurs when reported.
    Black-footed Tree Rat
    Black-footed Tree Rat caught on Casuarina Campus 2018 Photo: Assoc Prof Brett Murphy
    • Energy
      • Nearly 14% decrease in energy use across campus during 2016 - 2019.
      • 6 electric car parking bays with rooftop solar array.
      • 400KW of solar arrays across a number of buildings, equivalent to 3% of energy use. Technological barriers holding up further array deployment.
      • New buildings with LED lighting and fittings replaced with LED where possible.
      • Blue 2 is a 4 green star rated building.
      • Red 9 and Orange 12 have various heat and energy use attributes including solar and LED lighting.
      • Smart meters on most buildings.
      • Fleet management monitoring.
    Casuarina campus annual energy use 2020
    • Water use
      • Decreased by 16% over 2015 - 2019. An increase in 2018 was due to a leak in a chiller plant pipe that was found in a combined effort by Facilities Management and an Engineering student. A multi-day partial shut down of air-conditioning systems on campus was required to fix the leak.
      • Smart irrigation controllers installed to enable wifi control and better leak identification.
      • Weather station on Orange 4 has been installed to provide local weather information that connects to smart controllers. 
      • Showers, taps and other smart water saving devices have been installed around campus upon advice by Living Water Smart
        Casuarina campus annual water use 2015 - 2019
    • Waste Management
      • Recycling program decreased waste to landfill by 22% over the period 2015 - 2018. A new baseline will be established in 2020.
      • Some recycling bins support the charity Down Syndrome Australia.
      • Compost bins operating at various locations on campus.
      • Store of quality furniture for reuse.
    • Solar Hot water systems throughout campus accommodation.
    • Recycling program implemented.
    • Encouragement of active and public transport by students.
    • Free bike loans to students and secure bike lock-ups.
  • Palmerston campus 2015 - 2019


    • Water
      • Decreased overall water use by 32% and bore water use by 41% (2016 - 2019) through replacement of pumps and better management.
    Palmerston water 2015 - 2019
    • Recycling and Waste Management
      • Recycling program decreased waste to landfill by 42%  (2015 - 2018). A new baseline will be established from 2020.



    • Energy
      • 100KW solar installed on new Trades Skills Centre building. 
      • Gradual LED lighting replacement.
      • 16% decrease in energy use over 2016 - 2019.
      • Encouragement of active and public transport.
    Alice Springs campus energy use 2015 - 2019
    • Water
      • A large leak was found on Alice Springs campus contributing to the increase in water use in 2018. A 7% increase has been seen in the period 2015 - 2019.
      • Non potable water is used for irrigation whenever possible.
    Alice Springs annual water use 2015 - 2019


    • Energy 
      • All lights LED.
      • Encouragement of active and public transport.
      • 4.3% decrease 2016 - 2019. The Waterfront has seen changes to its occupation use including an increase in population.
    Waterfront campus annual energy use 2016 - 2019
    • Water
      • A 63% increase in water use has been seen over (2015 - 2019). This substantial increase can be partially explained by a change in occupation, but is being investigated.
    Waterfront campus annual water 2016 - 2019
    • Waste
      • A new recycling and waste minimisation baseline will be established in 2020.
    • Energy
      • All lights on campus were converted to LED at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019. Increase in energy use due to CDU taking on additional space in the building, including level 9 in 2016, and half of level 11 in 2017. At the end of 2019, energy use had increased 4% over 2016 figures.
      • Encouragement of active and public transport.
    Sydney campus annual energy use 2016 - 2020

    Sydney is a leased campus and therefore no data is currently available on water consumption and recycling/waste.


    • Biodiversity and farm management
      • Fire management and weed management plans.
      • Stud management plan.
    • Energy and climate change
      • Nearly 5% increase in electricity consumption over 2016 – 2019. This can be explained by higher than usual use of the facilities.
      • Staff have been monitoring and sampling ant colonies on behalf of University of New England researchers studying the effects of climate change. This study has now come to completion.
    Katherine campus annual energy use 2016 - 2019
    • Water
      • Water consumption decreased by 36% in 2016 – 2019.
    Katherine campus annual water use 2016 - 2019

    No recycling facilities are currently available in Katherine.