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Create a smart local energy system

As we decarbonise our energy system and improve the quality and performance of our buildings, we have the opportunity to manage our campus in a smart way.
Why does being smart matter?
With data and knowledge of the way our buildings use energy, a smart local energy system will help the University to make the best use of the energy we can generate on campus by reducing peak demands while storing and distributing energy at the right times.
As an example, to manage high demand for hot water for showers in our student residences each morning, we heat up our hot water storage during the night and discharge it in the morning to reduce our peak energy consumption. We also turn down the heating to certain buildings at times because these buildings stay warm when we switch them off for a short period helping us to meet the demand for hot water in student residences without increasing our heat generation capacity.
To enable us to operate more of our energy systems in this way we are:
  • Developing and writing standards that will define the way new buildings work and interact with our energy system.
  • Exploring and testing smart buildings and energy management software to increase automation, reporting and reduce capital and operational expenditure.
  • Modelling our electrical and thermal loads to support and inform strategy.
  • Integrating more systems in our buildings such as the lighting, heating and ventilation systems and room booking systems in our Sports and Wellness hub.

Case Study 1: Library Lighting Replacement

The Capital Programmes Team is working on a Smart energy project in the Library to replace the current lighting with more efficient LED luminaries that will reduce energy consumption by around 70% compared to current consumption.

The new system will have wireless smart controls with active daylight dimming and open protocol integration to offer flexibility and programmability. Automatic emergency testing and remote fault diagnostics will be introduced to ease the labour-intensive testing processes and to aid building compliance and maintenance. Alongside these features, the new luminaries will provide real-time occupancy and energy data reports to maximise space utilisation, as well as to optimise and manage consumption. Overall, these changes will enable energy savings of 545,584 kWh per year, which is equivalent to travelling 56 times around the world in an average electric car.

Paul Holland, Design Engineer in the Capital Programmes Team, says: “This project is a great opportunity to demonstrate all elements of the University’s “Reduce, Decarbonise and Smart” energy strategy. Not only are we significantly reducing energy consumption, but we are also improving the built environment for students, mitigating existing maintenance burden and providing an innovative ‘smart’ technology that will benefit student wayfinding and facilities management teams. Utilising the useful component parts from the existing luminaires will also help support existing fittings elsewhere on the campus and save carbon compared to purchasing new.”