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Keeping an eye on the University’s energy use

Thursday 7 October 2021 1:38pm

ANews1021 Kelly Li in Rotorua  226px
Kelly Li in Rotorua

Property Services are using innovative technology solutions to improve energy use in some of the University’s key buildings.

The need to make the most of our current building stock, while reducing our energy use, gave Otago alumna Kelly Li a chance to join the staff of her former university.

As the University’s Energy Efficiency Advisor Kelly is excited by the Energy Efficiency (ICT and Analytics) Programme as it will provide much needed data to help reduce the University’s energy use.

Otago is the first university in the country to incorporate an Artificial Intelligence (AI) building analytics system into some of its main buildings. It operates one of the largest and most diverse Building Management Systems (BMS) in Australasia, with more than 60,000 individual control points and BMS controllers in the larger facilities on campus. The University’s buildings are incredibly diverse ranging from historical buildings to leading-edge teaching facilities.

“This new programme helps me know weekly how much energy is used in each building.”

ANews1021 Kelly Li reviewing energy use data 650px
Kelly Li reviewing energy use data

Kelly says this data can be reviewed to see if it is reasonable or not, and then highlight which buildings need to improve their energy use.

With the threat of climate change and a desire for the University to reduce its costs, the programme is a win-win for the environment and the University’s budget.

Kelly is partly employed by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and has been set the goal of saving two gigawatts of power use per year for the University.

Originally from China, she has been working at the University for 18 months. Kelly did her postgraduate diploma in Energy Studies at Otago, which she followed with a master’s in Environmental Engineering at the University of Auckland.

Initial buildings being monitored in the Energy Analytics programme are:

  • Mellor Labs
  • Dental School
  • Information services building
  • William James Building
  • School of Business
  • St David II building
  • Lindo Ferguson building.

Otago was the first New Zealand university to sign the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This programme is linked to four of the University’s Operations Group’s Strategic Priorities namely:

  • 2.3 Smart Buildings
  • 5.2 Green Impact
  • 5.5 Green Building Design
  • 5.6 Zero Carbon Plan Future State.