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Sustainability at CIT

Sustainable practice has become an integral part of the culture at Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), the largest provider of technical and further education in the ACT.

CIT has implemented a number of innovative energy, water and waste management saving initiatives and continues to push the boundaries of environmental sustainability in a contemporary learning environment.

CIT Bruce, one of six CIT locations across Canberra, is 100% self-sufficient in terms of water supply for irrigation needs, and does not use a drop of town water. All rainwater is harvested from the rooftops and collected in purpose-built tanks, and the run-off from the carpark, roads and grounds is collected in a 5.2 ML dam and used for irrigation. Bore water is used for irrigation and as a back-up when dam and tank water is low. The need for irrigation has also been greatly reduced by incorporating low-maintenance native plants in the landscape design. The Raiders' oval is even kept green using only bore water supplied from CIT Bruce.

CIT as whole has also more than halved its water usage within five years, and reduced its energy usage by 14% within three years. Making simple but clever switches to better capture natural energy and conserve generated energy has made a stunning difference to CIT's carbon footprint. The installation of solar panels on all campuses captures the natural energy from the sun, and window film on windows reduces heat gain and loss. Automatic timers and movement detectors in classrooms negate the need for the old reminder to 'turn the lights off', and all lights are eco-friendly varieties.

All of CIT's sustainable initiatives are used together in CIT's eco-building - the Sustainable Skills Training Hub. Showcasing cutting-edge green technology, including solar and wind turbine generators, grey and black water recycling, the harnessing of waste heat and much more, this innovative facility will be used to teach and inspire students for years to come.

The pioneering purpose-built building will help industry, governments and communities to meet the challenges of climate change by providing workers with skills in sustainable practices.

Taking sustainability even further, sustainable work practices are built into all study areas of CIT. CIT Fashion teacher Steve Wright brings leading-edge sustainable techniques in fashion design into the classroom. Boldly challenging an industry where fashion trends change faster than the seasons, and a culture that systemically exploits people and the environment along the design process, Steve urges students to think about reducing wastage by using the whole piece of fabric in a design, and even creating designs that can be unpicked and reformed into something else.