TropEco Sustainable Campuses

Sustainable Campuses

TropEco has a variety of initiatives and facilities that provide a sustainable campus for staff, students and guests to enjoy. See below to find out more, including what you can do to be part of our sustainable campus.

Recycling and Waste

JCU is committed to reducing waste to landfill and increasing recycling rates. TropEco assists JCU to implement waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs and to educate and change behaviours with students and staff on waste management.

To learn more about our waste systems and how you can help, visit the JCU Recycling and Waste page.

Sustainable Transport

JCU encourages students and staff to utilise sustainable transport when travelling to and from campus. The TropEco program has implemented several sustainable transport initiatives, including our international award-winning Green Bike Fleet Program and associated Bike Workshops on the Cairns and Townsville campuses.

Biodiversity and Environment

JCU's campuses are and research sites are uniquely bio-diverse, featuring a range of tropical ecosystems including wet tropical rainforest, dry tropical savanna and fringing coral reefs.

Townsville Campus

The JCU Townsville campus is set in the foothills of Mt Stuart, a bio-diverse, dry tropical savannah region, with localised riparian vine thickets. The area supports abundant native wildlife, with the campus being a haven for many native species. Two major ephemeral creeks traverse the site, Wadda Mooli Creek and Goondaloo Creek, which reflect the Indigenous heritage of the site.

Maintaining and enhancing the natural areas on campus is important to JCU and the Townsville Campus Natural Assets Management Plan has been developed to ensure future development is considerate of the natural areas by minimising harm to native species and ecosystems and protecting and enhancing significant natural areas on campus.

The Townsville campus has installed several Fish Ladders to ensure the uninterrupted passage of native fish to their spawning grounds during the wet season.

Cairns Campus

The JCU Cairns Campus is located between the two World Heritage sites of the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef. Established on a disused cane farm, the site is nestled in the foothills of the Macalister Range. Atika Creek runs through the heart of the campus and the re-establishing and remnant riparian rainforest is a major feature of the campus, attracting students and staff from across Australia and Internationally.

Protection and enhancement of local biodiversity and balancing ecosystem protection with appropriate development is an important priority for JCU. A campus arboretum has been established to highlight key native and Indigenous use species and this will be expanded in 2016, with a tree mapping project being undertaken by the Australian Tropical Herbarium in collaboration with TropEco.

Research sites

Daintree Rainforest Observatory

Orpheus Island Research Station

Fletcherview Research Station


JCU is a leader in energy management at its Townsville and Cairns campuses. The award-winning energy management program has resulted in savings to JCU of over $10 million since 2009, with greenhouse gas emissions reductions of over 10,600 tonnes per year. JCU continues to work to ensure its campuses, buildings and sites are energy efficient.

Award-Winning Energy Management

Campus District Cooling System

Energy Management System (EMS)

Energy and Water Action Plan


JCU realises the importance of conserving water and is implementing measures to reduce water use. These include:

  • Installation of rainwater tanks on new buildings, such as the Boatshed in Cairns and ATSIP in Townsville.
  • Education and awareness programs for staff and students.
  • Reuse of old cooling tower tanks to store storm and bore water for irrigation.
  • Use of bore water and stormwater to irrigate grounds.
  • Improved irrigation practices, metering and monitoring.
  • Installation of water efficient showers and tap fittings.
  • Installation of water efficient fittings and toilets in all new and refurbished buildings.
  • Installation of additional sub-metering and connection to the JCU energy management system to identify usage patterns and faults.
  • Working with Townsville City Council to minimise irrigation use and comply with water restrictions.