The university has come up with a creative way to cut energy usage. The project is expected to save AU$100 million (US$69 million) of energy costs over the next 25 years. It will also reduce the carbon footprint by 92,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next 25 years.
The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia, in September, switched on their three-storey ‘water battery’ to power its campus air conditioning system. The project has already cut down the cost of energy usage on the campus by 40 percent.
The university has highlighted its vision to be completely carbon neutral by 2025. The ‘water battery’ project highlights the step they are taking in ensuring that they achieve this goal.
USC teamed up with a private company Veolia to come up with a solution that could see it cut its dependence on the grid. They drew a plan that would see them cut the energy used in the campus air conditioning, which accounted for 40 percent of the total energy used in the campus. The new clean energy solution would see the university tapping into solar energy from its abundant.
Cutting the cost of energy usage
6,000 solar panels later, installed on rooftops and carparks, the energy solution was already producing 2.1 megawatts of electricity. This energy would then be transferred to the ‘water battery’ where it cooled the 4.5 megalitres of water. The cooled water was then used for the school’s air conditioning system.
The project has received international recognition, winning Iceland’s 2019 Global District Energy Climate Awards, announced last week where it had been nominated in “Out of the Box” category.
USC Chief Operating Officer Dr Scott Snyder argued that the project would end up saving the school AU$100 million (US$69 million) in energy costs over the next 25 years. He continued by saying,
Another benefit is that we are able to take our students to visit the system and teach them about innovation and finding cleaner energy solutions for the future.
The system is expected to prevent 92,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next 25 years. This shows the magnitude of such a project being implemented. Advocating for innovative solutions to fight climate change should be a priority to all schools.