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Learn, share, engage: How UNSW plans to reduce its energy consumption
Managing the water, gas and energy demands of over 60,000 UNSW staff, students and visitors is no easy feat. Using over 650 smart meters, FM’s Energy Management Unit monitors the University’s growing consumption of energy, water and gas, as well as faults and opportunities for improvement on the Kensington and Randwick campuses. Traditionally, this data was only accessible by a small number of UNSW staff.
Recent research shows that it is possible to achieve energy savings of 5-15% when users are provided with direct and live information about consumption[i]. Providing UNSW’s consumption data to staff and students - the very people who play a direct role in reducing demand - would not only help foster a more sustainable campus, but significantly reduce the economic costs of consumption.
In 2012, the Energy Management Unit partnered with Greensense, an award-winning company that extracts the sustainability performance of a building and delivers it in real-time in an easy-to-understand format. Now, UNSW's staff and students can see how their personal day-to-day actions like leaving the lights on or opening windows in climate controlled rooms directly impacts on the energy demand of their building. Similarly, staff and students can see how their positive actions or habits such as turning off lights not in use, switching off their computer or taking the stairs can significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed by their building.
The information will be displayed on an interactive Greensense dashboard available online and in most buildings on campus. Staff and students will be able to see how much energy they’ve saved, generated or consumed, the emissions they’ve avoided by improving their daily habits, and how their building is performing in comparison to other buildings on campus. Nick Jones, UNSW’s Energy Manager, hopes all UNSW staff and students will get behind the project. “Here in FM we do lots of behind-the-scenes work to improve efficiency across the campus, but saving energy really is a team sport where everyone plays a part. The Greensense dashboards are a terrific way to let everyone on campus find out how they personally contibute to energy use and, more importantly, how coordinated individual efforts can have a significant impact on reducing energy use”.
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[i] Fischer, C. 2008. Feedback on household electricity consumption: a tool for saving energy? Energy Efficiency, 1(1), 79-104.