Power and water usage in all buildings on campus is centrally monitored by Facilities Management. SMART meters are installed in all buildings on campus, with data collected from the meters fed back to a desktop application that allows real-time analysis of power and water usage.
The reports generated from the collated data are used to identify trends in power and water consumption, which can then be used to identify future conservation opportunities.
Much of the air-conditioning on campus is centrally monitored. This allows for better control, energy saving and quicker response time for breakdowns as a result of the system’s early warning capabilities.
The air-conditioning in the larger lecture theatres is being converted to a movement detection system rather than the current time schedule that operates continuously during teaching hours. This will result in significant power saving and removes the requirement for scheduling air-conditioning for after-hours events.
Conventional refrigeration air conditioning systems have been replaced with energy-efficient chilled water systems. Spiral filters are being implemented in the chilled water systems to increase efficiency by around 10% through the removal of excess dirt, air and metals from the water.
On-campus wayfinding lighting has been replaced with more energy efficient LED street lights, and T5 low energy fluoro tubes are in use across campus. These draw around 30 watts compared to 100-plus watts in conventional fluoro tubes.
The University has replaced all exit and evacuation lights with a system that provides 24/7 monitoring and eliminates the need for contractors to test and maintain the system.
High-level openings in the Sport Stadium allow additional daylight and exhaust of hot air, while split circuits allow for varied lighting levels.
A water treatment plant removes solids and modifies the lake water to produce potable standard water for use as make-up water to the pool and in the cooling towers. The plant reduces the University’s potable water usage by as much as 20kL daily. The University pool also uses an efficient electronic chlorinator.
The University aims for, and consistently achieves, potable water usage per student of less than 5kL annually. Water usage is reduced by using harvested stormwater for all on-campus irrigation, and conventional water bubblers have been replaced with models that encourage reuse of water bottles in lieu of buying bottled water. The University provides a variety of alternative options to purchasing commercial bottled water. Refer to the Water Refill Campus Initiative.
Water monitoring and systems
Facilities Management conducts regular surveys to locate water leaks on campus and has implemented audit and flow test of all taps and fittings and the installation of water saving devices and efficient isolation points for ongoing plumbing works on campus.
Hot water taps have been removed from toilet facilities on campus. Hot water at the University’s research centre on Fraser Island is provided entirely by solar hot water systems.
USC's engineering area is conducting research into the way permeable pavements alter the movement and quality of surface water.
The USC Cab Rank project will test permeable pavement and the ability to store captured water.
The Street Tree project, conducted in partnership with University of South Australia and the Sunshine Coast Council, will test a method that allows trees to grow without damaging pavement. A test site has been established in one of the campus carparks.
There is a stormwater management system of lakes, swales and settling ponds on campus to protect the Mooloolah River National Park's waterways from high nutrient levels and sediment run-off.
Sustainability is an important focus of the cleaning contract, with the inclusion of a solar-powered buggy and the use of micro-fibre cloths rather than cleaning chemicals, for example. Cleaning is carried out during the day to reduce overnight energy use.
Sustainability is a key component in the tendering and design process for buildings.
The University shares sporting facilities, car parking and storm water run-off with Chancellor State College to minimise infrastructure and environmental footprint.
Paper usage has been minimised with conversion to electronic invoicing and receipting.
Hand towels have been replaced with blow dryers in toilets on campus.
The University’s Recycling and Waste Officer monitors all waste and checks the contamination levels in recycling bins, and takes part in education programs. There is also a waste management plan to recycle, use recycled products and treat hazardous waste.
Recyclable cutlery made of 100% corn starch and compostable cups are used in the Brasserie and other food outlets.
Biodegradable cling-wrap is being used in Brasserie kitchen trials. The wrap breaks down in sunlight and allows air to circulate around the product. The wrap is certifiable to European compostable standards.
A trial is to be undertaken to assess the viability of harvesting waste oil from fryers and distilling it into biodiesel to run tractors and mowers.