Energy

We are aspiring to conserve energy and water, progressively introduce renewable energy, and reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.

We want to preserve natural resources and the environment and reduce rising energy costs. Our continuing growth in student numbers and infrastructure at UNSW provides us with challenges. Here is some of what is happening to combat this:

Managing our energy

The Energy Management Unit is responsible for managing our energy and water resources. It focuses its activities in five core areas:

  • Purchased energy: to ensure we achieve the best deal and service from our energy suppliers.
  • Monitoring and reporting: to better understand, manage and report on our utilities use through metering devices and provide utilities use and emissions data for incorporation into our mandatory NGER report and annual TEFMA submissions.
  • Energy efficiency: to monitor, identify and implement saving opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce demand.
  • Policies: to ensure that technical policy information can be translated into practical, easily implemented activities and deliverables, and is monitored.
  • Education and awareness: to support and initiate a range of awareness and behaviour change programs on campus, such as ‘Unswitch’, the personal heater management program. More recently we've initiated the ‘Think Energy Saving’ poster and installed the live PV data displays for the Quadrangle buildings and the Business and Aquatic Centre.

Co- and Tri-generation plants

Co-generation is also known as ‘combined heat and power’. It is a process where heat and power are generated at the same time, both of which are used and offer savings of between 25%- 45% compared to conventional methods of electricity and heat supply. Tri-generation is also known as 'combined cooling, heat and power'.

Co- and tri-generation systems are inherently very efficient ways of using natural resource energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The University has two operational systems on the Kensington campus both fuelled by natural gas engines. The first is a co-generation plant generating 750 kW of electricity located in the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. This plant provides electricity to the centre and surrounding buildings, as well as heat to the air-conditioning system when needed.

The second is a tri-generation plant in the Tyree Energy Technology Building which generates 750 kW of electricity and also provides heating and chilled water to the building.

We also have a third co-generation plant which can generate 180 kW of electricity and is located in the Fitness and Aquatic Centre. This plant is currently undergoing maintenance but when operational it provides electricity to the centre and heat to the swimming pool, space heating and the hot water systems.

Lighting upgrades

Energy audits found lights were being left on unnecessarily in up to 80% of all buildings and that many fixtures were inefficient. We have replaced conventional halogen lamps (50 watts) with LED (10 watts) and Halogen Low Voltage ES (IRC) lamps (20 watts). Additionally we have initiated the installation of more lighting control systems.

Replacing domestic hot water systems with gas

We are progressively removing domestic hot water systems from campus bathrooms (except for access bathrooms) and replacing them with gas systems. Natural gas is a much more sustainable form of energy than electricity.

Facilities Management

UNSW Sustainability also works closely with the Facilities Management, and the Energy Management Unit, to promote and implement energy efficiency and opportunities for reducing carbon emissions and increasing the proportion of energy from renewable sources. Further information about energy management initiatives is provided on the Facilities Management website.

What you can do

  • Report water leaks or lights and equipment that should be off.
  • Let us know if your room is too hot in winter or too cold in summer.
  • Switch off lights if you’re the last to leave the room.
  • Switch off your computer at the end of the day. If you will be away from your desk for less than half an hour put your computer in sleep mode. Next time you're replacing office computers, remember that laptops and notebooks use up to 90% less energy than a desktop PC.
  • Turn off printers and scanners at the end of the day. This can save up to 14% in energy usage.
  • Let natural lighting brighten your day. When the sun is shining, turn off the electric lights.
  • When setting your air conditioner thermostat, remember each degree warmer in summer, and cooler in winter, can save 6-8% in energy costs.
  • Dress for the season - reduce the load on the air conditioner by wearing more layers of clothes in winter and fewer in summer.

For all your enquiries please send an email to energy@unsw.edu.au.