When Plymouth University embarked on a solution that would enable it to meet its business objectives and carbon reduction targets by 2030, the organisation chose to partner with global energy management specialist, Schneider Electric and Cisco. For a holistic, university wide solution it made perfect sense for Cisco and Schneider Electric, a global specialists in energy management, to bring their expertise together. As such, the project saw the company install the world’s first integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Building Energy Management System (BEMS).

Since opening its doors in 1992, Plymouth University has welcomed thousands of students at its Drake Circus campus. It is vital that the university’s buildings are working efficiently, in order to create a comfortable working environment for students and staff alike.

In addition to offering higher level education, the university also takes its carbon commitments seriously and is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030. In order to achieve this, strict targets have been set in place. Plymouth aims to save 3,000 tonnes of CO2 and £500,000 in energy costs per annum. The new solutions implemented by Schneider Electric will certainly play a key part in achieving this, as they are set to save the university around £300,000 and 1,900 tonnes of CO2over the next 4 years.

To meet the university’s strategic sustainability objectives, a number of solutions were required that would work with the existing asset investments and make a tangible difference to its energy usage, while creating a comfortable place to study, work and socialise.

As a result of the collaboration, Plymouth University, Schneider Electric and Cisco have unveiled the world’s first integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Building Energy Management System (BEMS) which connects with Cisco EnergyWise to report on and potentially control energy consuming devices and systems in public or private buildings. Such functionality is vital in managing the student and staff’s demands for better energy efficiency, as well as improved economic benefits, all while creating a future proofed system that is ready for the SMART Grid.

The Cisco EnergyWise suite is a platform that sits within the existing IT network, and from there, monitors and controls every single IT device connected to that network, without the need for a software rollout. As a result of that, it’s very easy to install, configure, and maintain going forward.

There are two systems (BEMS and ICT) at the core of the solution and by integrating it through a new gateway, the system has enabled Plymouth University to achieve its three main objectives:

–      Immediate emissions savings and a reduction in operational expenditure with a payback period under 5 years

–      Enhanced intelligence for on-going management and policy development

–      A long term strategy for the converged management of energy related systems and assets

In partnership with Schneider Electric, the university developed and implemented a campus-wide solution that incorporates significant enhancement of the BEMS, on-site utility and commodity metering and reporting, as well as offering best practice stakeholder engagement.

It was imperative that Schneider Electric ensured that the building runs at optimal efficiency at all times. It was also vital that staff and students alike were made aware of the new changes and the part they have to play in helping the university to meet its targets.

The information provided by Schneider Electric and Cisco to the university hasn’t just helped the university to manage its current energy demand, but it has also given the team visibility of the building’s energy use, which can be used to build business cases for future investment in the estate’s assets.

Other benefits of the project include the ability to integrate the data and information from the project into legislative compliance and reporting documents, as well as providing data to students and academics to work on as part of their courses. 

The university is already accredited ISO14001 environmental management system and is actively working towards ISO 50001 – the energy management system equivalent.

Paul Lumley from Plymouth University, commented: “Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for our students; we have been successful in reducing our carbon emissions but realised that we had to do more to achieve our deadline of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2030. Sustainability is one of the four core ambitions in the University’s 2020 Strategy.

“We opted to work with Schneider Electric and Cisco on our energy saving project due to the impressive savings that the proposed solution would enable us to achieve, as well as both company’s excellent track record. The remarkable five year payback period was also a key factor in our decision making process.

“We look forward to working alongside both teams as we continue to monitor the university and strive to meet our targets.”

John Clifford, UK & Ireland EnergyWise lead for Cisco said, ” These implementations that allow for a better place to work or study are both affordable and sustainable. Institutions like Plymouth University are pushing the boundaries in terms of energy management, and more and more companies will follow suit with goals for becoming carbon neutral.”

Philip Clarke, EMEA account director from Schneider Electric, added: “For many, the notion of updating an existing system to a more efficient version can seem overwhelming, often believing that they will in effect, have to rip out and start again.

“However, with the open solutions that are now on the market, this isn’t the case. We are able to work alongside partner companies, such as Cisco to devise a tailored plan that will suit organisations such as Plymouth University, by simply integrating the new with the old. This means that creating a more energy efficient and comfortable environment is easier than ever.

“Schneider Electric and Cisco are, together, providing innovative solutions that deliver simple, manageable, measurable and cost effective energy management solutions that have given Plymouth University a really comfortable place to study, work and play, while remaining affordable.

“We look forward to helping the team at the university to meet their carbon reduction targets and look forward to continuing our work on the campus.”