University of Birmingham partners with Schneider Electric for energy-efficient smart campus program

Pictured: The interior of the School of Engineering. Image: University of Birmingham

Prior to the pandemic, the University declared its intention to provide “the smartest campus in the world”, with digital technologies and improved infrastructure implemented to improve communications, connectivity, security and efficiency.

The University’s smart campus vision document states, “As we plan for a post-Covid-19 future, it is important that we strike the right balance between stabilizing core operations and developing new ways to enable physical and digital interactions.

“To move, with sustainability in mind, from a method of ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’. This means radically rethinking how our universities operate, the service we provide and the overall experience for our students, scholars and visitors.

In particular, the University is striving to achieve net-zero emissions by the UK’s 2050 deadline. Birmingham City Council has set a 2030 net zero target for its own operations and is encouraging organizations operating in the city-region to follow suit.

Having already entered into partnerships with organizations such as PTS and Siemens to help realize the smart campus vision, which will help reduce emissions, the University has now entered into a collaboration with another leading company in the sector, Schneider Electric.

Schneider Electric has already installed its cloud-based technologies at the university’s engineering school which opened last year. Lessons learned from this process will be applied across the field.

The engineering school is equipped with monitors who assess factors such as energy consumption, building occupancy levels and temperatures, and whether maintenance will be required. Monitors can be checked remotely as well as onsite.

The data collected by the monitors has advanced analytics applied, identifying opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. In the future, sensors will also be able to monitor air quality and emissions in near real time.

The data collected from the School of Engineering will be made available this week to engineering students interested in the field of building energy management.

“The University of Birmingham offers a fantastic opportunity to show how cutting-edge technology and smart infrastructure can deliver world-class building performance and enhanced user experiences, while driving decarbonization,” said Kas Mohammed, Vice-Chancellor president of Schneider Electric for digital energy.

“The School of Engineering is the perfect setting to create a roadmap to sustainability that can be replicated across the entire field of the university, while equipping the next generation of engineers with the experiences, knowledge and tools they need to develop sustainability strategies for the future.”

With the energy price crisis in mind, energy efficiency is becoming a key area of ​​focus for many organizations in the UK across the public and private sectors. However, some were waiting for further government action before taking action, as further interventions were halted between Boris Johnson’s resignation as prime minister and the appointment of his successor Liz Truss.

Truss confirmed Thursday (September 8) that the government will provide “matching guarantees” for energy prices to businesses for at least the next six months. This means businesses will have their energy costs capped at the same price per unit that households will pay. This will then be reviewed within the next three months.

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