Award winners in focus: Technical Innovation of the Year – Projects

Siemens has been involved in a partnership with the University of Birmingham to create the smartest campus in the world. Siemens’ work has not gone unnoticed as it picked up this year’s Technical Innovation of the Year award in the Projects category.

The University of Birmingham has established a global partnership with Siemens to make its campuses in Birmingham and Dubai the smartest Net Zero campuses in the world by 2035, redefining the future of universities on the journey of digital transformation.

The project combines digital sensor and analytics technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), decentralised energy generation and storage, renewable energy and concepts that help change users’ behaviour to transform the university’s Edgbaston and Dubai campuses into the world’s smartest global campus, creating a ‘Living Lab’ where research, teaching and learning all benefit from access to new data and connectivity. The use of sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), and a digital twin of the campus energy system makes it possible to increase transparency on building utilisation, heating, and power consumption. Digital sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning help to provide a reliable basis for comprehensive optimisation of the entire energy system including distributed power generation from renewable sources, energy storage, HVAC, and mobility. In this way, a reliable road map for achieving both Net Zero and energy cost optimisation has been developed.

Faye Bowser, Head of Energy & Performance Services at Seimens, explained some of the smart technology that has been installed so far: “A major lighting programme has significantly reduced electricity consumption. The roll-out of LED lighting devices along with Enlighted sensors for automatic light level adjustments to take advantage of ambient daylight has significantly reduced energy requirements. Enlighted sensors measure ambient light along with motion (people in room), energy consumption, and temperature, in this way enabling comprehensive optimisation of space and energy utilisation.”

She added: “New energy management software has been implemented to track the performance of energy intensive equipment. In this way it becomes possible to improve energy efficiency and – with the help of communication capable devices – also to reduce maintenance costs.”

Enhancing the student experience

Discussing the university’s work with Siemens, Professor Stephen Jarvis, Provost and Vice-Principal of the University of Birmingham, said: “Our goal is to deliver the campus of the future, using cutting-edge technologies to make our campuses in Edgbaston and Dubai the smartest globally. This will enhance our student experience, create new research and innovation opportunities, whilst significantly reducing our carbon footprint. It is clear we are in the ‘decade of delivery’ for Net Zero targets and our University-Industry strategic partnership with Siemens is critical to helping identify pathways for turning targets into reality.”

BCIA Vice President Stacey Lucas commented: “For centuries universities have been home to some of the brightest and most forward thinking groups of people on the planet and it is only right that the institutions themselves are leading the way in innovative thinking, adopting new technology that benefits not only the people who work and study there but also the environment. The project between Siemens and the University of Birmingham is incredibly exciting and has the potential to be one of the standard bearers for campuses of the future all over the world.”

Siemens was delighted that its work on such an exciting project has been rewarded with industry recognition. Faye Bowser concluded: “We are delighted to have received this great recognition of the work we have done so far with the University of Birmingham and look forward to helping other universities and industries on their journey to Net Zero.”