Smart Campus Energy Upgrades

The four-year Smart Campus Energy Upgrades project (SCEU) will deliver $45 million worth of programs that will save 18–25 GWh of energy per year.

This equates to approximately 20% of the University’s energy consumption, equivalent to carbon savings of 19,000 to 26,000 tons annually.

More efficient buildings

The project began in 2019, with nine different categories of building upgrades to lower the energy consumption of our campuses. By 2023, 60 existing buildings across campuses will be upgraded in areas including:

  • LED lighting
  • Building thermal performance
  • Building optimisation (energy analytics and automated controls)
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) efficiency
  • Management of building automation systems and
  • Solar PV panel installation

49 of these are buildings on Parkville campus which consume 99% of the total University electricity demand.

The Elizabeth Murdoch Building has received upgrades to its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) as part of the SCEU project.

A smart financial investment

The SCEU project is financially sustainable, with projected savings of $6 million per year from reduced energy usage. These savings will also be used to pay off the debt funding, offsetting all costs associated with the delivery of upgrades.

2020 update

$12 million worth of upgrades have been completed or are currently underway across 12 buildings. In 2020 these projects began delivering 5GWh of annual electricity savings, equating to 3.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions. These upgrades include:

  • Solar PV panel installation
    • On the following buildings: Beaurepaire Centre, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Brownless Biomedical Library, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company HQ, 49 Graham Street (Shepparton) and Buxton Contemporary.
  • LED lighting 
    • Lighting upgrades to the Eastern Precinct Carpark on Parkville campus have reduced electricity consumption of the site by 61%.
  • HVAC upgrades.
    • The McCoy Building, David Caro Building and Elizabeth Murdoch Building have received upgrades.

The solar panels installed through the SCEU project have an estimated 2.7GWh annual electricity generation, which is then consumed onsite, reducing the need to transport energy.

What’s next?

The next round of projects being assessed for the SCEU program include:

  • Establishing a data centre to identify optimum running parameters
  • Upgrades to current cooling systems to increase coefficient of performance
  • Reducing air conditioning loads through an ‘optimised building envelope’ methodology
  • Optimising energy efficiency of HVAC in laboratories, including for specific spaces such as fume cupboards