What you can do

Whether you work, live or study at ANU there is plenty you can do to reduce your environmental footprint. 

Find what you can do to reduce



Although ANU is actively implementing energy efficient systems across campus, it's still vitally important that everyone plays their part in reducing energy use.

Here are some simple, practical ways you can reduce your energy use:

Heating & cooling

Use curtains and blinds, when appropriate, to keep out excess heat, and let the sun in when the weather is cooler for free heating.

If possible, set your heating/cooling system to a broader temperature band. Setting the thermostat to a range of 20°C-25°C will still maintain a comfortable environment without using larger amounts of energy.

Wear the right clothes

Wear appropriate clothes for the weather. Bring a jacket or jumper so that you can adjust your temperature according to the weather.


Where possible, open windows and let natural air in when the temperature outside is between 20°C-25°C and close them when it's hotter or colder.

Enable energy-saving features of your computer

Enable the energy-saving features of your computer, so that the screen blanks out and the hard disk goes into energy-saving mode when you are not actively using the computer.

Switch off computer monitors

When you are out of the office for more than 15 minutes, switch off your computer monitor.

Switch off the office lights

If you are leaving the office for over 30 minutes, or if your office is already well-lit by natural light, switch off the office lights.

Energy efficient appliances

Purchase energy efficient appliances & turn them off at the wall when not in use.



Report drips and leaks

Report leaking taps, showers, toilets and urinals to your Building custodian.

Turn it off

Turn off taps fully and check for drips.

Wait until it's fully loaded

Only turn on the dishwasher and washing machine when it is fully loaded.

Take shorter showers

Try to limit shower time to 3-5 minutes. That's more than enough time to be clean and hygienic. Play your favourite song and aim to finish by the time the song ends. Not only does it save water but it significantly reduces the energy used to heat the water.



On campus

Recycle everything

The more you recycle, the better for environment. 

Clean office paper goes in the blue bins, while rigid plastic, cans and glass containers go in the yellow-lid co-mingled bins. A number of dedicated cardboard bins are located around campus. These are for cardboard only. Email waste@anu.edu.au to find out where these are located.

Recycle your food and drink containers. You might be astonished to know that a large proportion of waste to landfill from ANU is due to food and drink containers. 

Many other items can be recycled on campus.

Avoid printing paper and if you must make it double sided

Consider whether you need to print in the first place.

Use reusable water bottles, mugs and crockery

Carry your own drink bottle and refill via one of the many drinking water fountains on campus.

Purchase your coffee in a reusable mug - if you drink coffee twice every day you will use close 500 coffee cups a year. Instead of creating a mountain of waste why not BYO coffee cup. Plus campus coffee shops support the use of own cups. ANUgreen KeepCups can be purchased in several cafes across campus. 

Purchase durable crockery and cutlery for building occupants and guests, to avoid the need for disposables.

BYO your own lunch

Save money and avoid creating waste by bringing your own lunch.

Avoid plastic bags

It's really easy to avoid collecting plastic bags - carry a foldable one in your bag or backpack. Laundry bags or mesh bags work well for produce. Put bread from a bakery into a pillowslip or reuse a paper bag.

Report litter

Email waste@anu.edu.au for prompt action on litter.

At home

Buy in bulk and bring your own bags and containers

Take your own bag every time you shop. Shop at bulk food stores such as the ANU Food Coop to avoid food packaging.

Purchase second-hand goods when you need them and donate them when you don't

There are a variety of second-hand outlets in Canberra, including Salvos and Vinnies stores and the Green Sheds. There are also a number of online resources for sourcing cheap or free used items, ranging from appliances to bikes and furniture. 


Walk whenever possible

Get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Walking will help you feel calmer and inspire creativity.

Ride a bike to campus

Cycling is fun and good for relieving stress. It is also a great way to save money and get fit. For trips of less than 5km cycling is often faster than driving. Bicycle storage is available all across the campus.

To get access to bicycle enclosure email transport@anu.edu.au.

Use public transport

ACTION buses run regular services to ANU and to Canberra city. 

Participate in the Car Share scheme

Available for work or private use, staff and students are able to borrow a GoGet car that are available on Acton campus and across the country. Ideal for lunchtime trips or use on the weekend. For more information visit the GoGet website.

Use a campus bicycle to travel around campus

Staff and graduate students have access to timely treadly bicycles for cycling around campus.


Find a colleague to share the driving, share the costs, share a conversation and halve the emissions.

Reduce your need to travel

Combine multiple trips into one when possible and use video conferencing instead of travelling for business.

Use low-emission vehicles

Electric and smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles generate fewer emissions and are cheaper to run.



Report water wastage

If you notice any water leaks please call x 54000. Please note that periodically sprinklers will be turned on during the middle of the day for testing and routine maintenance.

Dispose of harmful liquids and materials responsibly

Never dispose of fat, oil, paint, chemicals or any other potentially harmful substances down stormwater drains or in the landscape. Anything put down the stormwater drain will end up in Sullivans Creek, contaminating the water and posing a danger to wildlife.

Bin your rubbish

Litter in the landscape can injure or poison wildlife. Toxins from plastics can leach into waterways and soils and food scraps can encourage greater numbers of pests such as feral cats or foxes.

Avoid walking and driving on planted areas

Please don't take that shortcut! Walking and driving over the landscape compacts the soil and damages the vegetation, especially under wet conditions. Impacted soil structure and vegetation can take a long time to recover.

Leave wildlife alone

Do not bother or feed native animals, particularly birds. Animals that are fed can become dependent on your food source.

Get involved with monitoring and voluteering

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with monitoring and volunteering programs including bird and frog monitoring and rehabilitating and endangered woodland.