Between 2010 and 2015 the University launched the SURF initiative funded sustainability innovation projects which were developed, managed and implemented by University staff and students. The initiative provided up front finance to staff and students to fund projects that aimed to reduce environmental impacts and have quantifiable returns. In 2013 a second stream of funding was offered to support the implementation of Education for Sustainability curriculum programs and student learning.
"SURF funding was sought to support the solar car project and the approved application was instrumental in guaranteeing the survival of the project at that stage since it allowed the team to purchase much needed equipment to kick start the project. If it wasn't for this generous contribution we would have failed to showcase our project and attract much more needed funds. The SURF support was essential as it lifted the morale of the students.", Dr Ali Hellany Senior Lecturer, Academic Course Advisor, Engineering ACA (honours) Academic Supervisor, Solar Car Team, SCEM.
Objectives of the SURF program: The objectives of the SURF program are to foster and facilitate sustainable design and best environmental practices and behaviour. The operational savings that are made as a result of these projects are reinvested into the fund so that the fund is self-sustaining. The funds provided both staff and students with an opportunity to participate in projects that green their own learning environment. As a result, there is usually a stipulated payback period for these projects and a return on investment. Outcomes:
$345,000 funds spent on projects
42 projects completed
8.25% p.a estimated return on investment
Impacts and Savings: It is estimated that the SURF program has saved per annum
86,805 km of car travel = traveling Sydney to Perth by car 26 times
11,168 tonnes of Greenhouse Gases = the weight of 25 Boeing 747s
1,264 kl of water = enough to fill 21 backyard swimming pools
172 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill = equivalent to weight of 5 semi-trailers