The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will cool a number of its buildings at its city campus by piping chilled air in from a nearby district cooling system. District heating or cooling is rare in Australia, and UTS and the cooling provider Brookfield Energy claim that the new project is a first in the country.
Brookfield’s Energy Plant will supply UTS with what it describes as “chilled energy”, via pipes installed under the thoroughfare Broadway from Central Park. This feature makes the provision of cooling on a district level a pioneering project in Australia, as central cooling is being provided to a third party and between city blocks.
Brookfield and UTS believe that the supply deal could lead to district cooling be adopted at other sites and more widely in the Ultimo district and at other sites.
“It’s great news the network is now expanding across the road to UTS, and we hope to see other businesses and building owners in the area take advantage of the environmental efficiencies and cost savings district energy systems can bring,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
“With 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the City of Sydney area coming from buildings, it’s important we keep looking for innovative ways to create sustainable, energy efficient developments.”
The match between the cooling requirements of the university buildings and apartments already supplied by the Central Park Thermal Plant is a good one. The UTS classrooms, offices and laboratories require cooling during the day while the apartment buildings require cooling outside of business hours, when students and staff are leaving the UTS buildings.
UTS says that by sourcing cooling in this way from the existing district facility, that it has avoided significant investment cost required to equip air conditioning or other larger cooling systems to its buildings and campus, and it has also saved valuable space. The deal with Brookfield is a part of a wider $1.3 billion Campus Masterplan that aims to displace large amounts of air-conditioning with larger scale chilling.
UTS reports that heating, cooling and ventilation is responsible for over 60% of its total electricity demand. By sourcing district cooling from the Brookfield site, UTS estimates its greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 2.2% or 1,111 tons C02 per annum.
“UTS already operate a large central plant that supplies heating and cooling to eight UTS Broadway Campus buildings,” said UTS Green Infrastructure Project Manager Jonathan Predergast. “Offsite supply of chilling energy from Brookfield provides greater diversity of supply and redundancy for cooling the Broadway campus, reducing the risk of failure and outages.”
UTS and Brookfield Energy have signed a 15-year supply deal, which will come into effect in 2018.