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RMIT launches $98 million sustainability project

RMIT University

RMIT University

RMIT University has announced a $98 million plan to cut energy and water use and greenhouse gas emissions – the biggest project of its kind in the southern hemisphere. 

RMIT has worked with Siemens and Honeywell over two years to identify opportunities for energy and water savings in 90 buildings in the City, Bundoora and Brunswick.

The Sustainable Urban Precincts Project (SUPP) will reduce electricity use over eight years by an estimated 239 million kilowatts, leading to a 30,000-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Water use will be cut by an estimated 68 million litres.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the University was committed to turning its vision of being a leader in urban sustainability into reality.

“RMIT will not only contribute to the global striving for sustainability,” she said. “We will also integrate this project into our education and research so that our students and staff can contribute to the process and learn from it.”

Wayne Kent, Pacific General Manager of Honeywell Buildings Solutions, said: “Honeywell’s smart energy solutions for RMIT include upgrades to its mechanical equipment, more energy-efficient lighting and water-harvesting technology.

“The University also gains an interactive learning and teaching platform for the benefit of students.”

Siemens Australia CEO Jeff Connolly said an energy efficiency upgrade of this scale was a great step towards the sustainable future of Australia and underlined RMIT’s leadership in this area.

“This is a great example of energy efficiency. Our team looked at all areas of the campus to see where our technology could maximise savings across water, lighting and the building management system, to create a highly efficient campus, both environmentally and economically,” Mr Connolly said.

RMIT will upgrade infrastructure to reduce electricity demand for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Feasibility studies are under way to install co-generation and tri-generation technologies which will allow RMIT to generate part of its electricity demand on site.

Honeywell believes a tri-generation plant would reduce the University’s greenhouse gas emissions by 7,000 tonnes annually by using the waste heat from electricity production in both heating and cooling.

With the second largest use of electricity on campus being for lighting, providing 26,000 smarter, more efficient and low-maintenance fittings will be an early win.

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