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Energy efficiency makes learning a breeze at South Bank TAFE

TAFE Queensland’s South Bank campus is a multi-building tertiary educational facility located in Brisbane’s South Bank Precinct. It was Queensland’s first PPP (Public Private Partnership).

The campus has been operating since 2006, educating students through world class learning and onto gainful employment. Each day, around 1,500 students attend the facility, with an average of 40,000 attending on an annual basis.

In addition to catering to the comfort and needs of students and staff, the efficient management of the campus, its buildings and infrastructure, and its energy usage were important considerations in 2016, 10 years after the campus opened.

These considerations are in line with key trends across the commercial building sector, where we see a significant shift into sustainable energy solutions, with building managers embracing technology to lower costs and increase efficiency.

Reduction in energy usage and increase in comfort a must

A modern building management system (BMS) is the backbone of any commercial building and provides detailed insights on how to effectively monitor and operate all equipment throughout the building.

In 2016, the South Bank campus’ 10-year old building management system (BMS) was audited by the building management organisation Spotless to identify improvements that could be made to ensure the BMS was running at its optimal level, whilst meeting the needs of TAFE Queensland and its students, and ensuring sustainability for the long-term.

The audit made recommendations to improve the student and staff experience, reduce the amount of energy that was being used at the site, increase efficiency and minimise future energy consumption.

New technology to address key requirements

To address these requirements, Schneider Electric’s technology was selected to deliver against the desired outcomes. EcoStruxureTM Building is an extremely powerful IoT enablement platform for building management, which seamlessly integrates control, analytics and reporting, all built into one package. This level of complexity was required for the system so that it could accurately and reliably control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning across eight buildings within the campus. EcoStruxureTM Building Operation is the software program which displays monitoring and reporting in real-time, enabling engineers to better understand how the system is working and make improvements as a result. The system can also be securely viewed remotely, anywhere there is an internet connection.

Collaboration brings about greater success

Through close collaboration between TAFE Queensland, the building manager, Spotless and Schneider Electric, the BMS upgrade at South Bank campus was successfully completed in December 2017.

Since completion, feedback from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive, energy savings have been fast tracked, and savings of approximately 580,000 kilowatt hours annually have so far been reached, with greater savings expected to be achieved in the future.

In addition, the operation site manager of Spotless is now more available to concentrate on other valuable preventative works instead of being reactive, ensuring the South Bank campus is well prepared for students of the future.

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