The University of Technology Sydney will source cooling energy from the Central Park thermal plant across the street, in what is being billed as an Australian first for precinct-scale sharing.
The university on Monday announced it had signed a contract with Brookfield Energy to source a proportion of its chilled energy requirements from Brookfield’s central energy plant at Central Park, which is expected to provide energy efficiency, carbon and cost savings.
UTS is expected to be just the first of many potential recipients of cooling energy in the Broadway and Ultimo precinct, through which thermal delivery pipes have been bored.
For UTS, a district cooling system could help deliver the $1.3 billion campus masterplan more cost-effectively, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2.2 per cent or 1111 tonnes a year.
UTS green infrastructure project manager Jonathan Prendergast said accessing the cooling network would save on capital costs.
“Investment in new chilling infrastructure can be capital and space intensive, requiring new chilling plant, pumps, connecting pipework, cooling towers and electrical infrastructure,” he said.
“By procuring a portion of UTS’s cooling from an offsite supplier, UTS can invest in its core business and free up space for teaching, offices and a more active roof space without cooling towers.”
He said while UTS already operated a central plant that delivered heating and cooling to eight UTS buildings, the chilling energy from Brookfield would offer greater diversity of supply and redundancy for cooling the Broadway campus.
The feasibility of the project has been increased through the synergy between the education and residential use – with residential peak demand at evenings and weekends, while the university has peak demand during weekdays.
Brookfield Energy chief executive Richie Sheather said the more the plant was utilised, the greater the long-term cost savings and efficiencies would be.
“We look forward to working with more properties in the local area to connect to this district system,” Mr Sheather said.
“We see district energy as a way of the future and anticipate working on similar initiatives in other parts of Australia”.
The cooling contract is due to be implemented in 2018 for a 15-year period.
The news was welcomed by the newly returned Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
“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,” Ms Moore said.
“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.”