In an Australian first, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has signed an agreement with Flow Systems to supply recycled water to its UTS Central building, due for completion in mid-2019. In a bid to reduce its potable water use and increase the resilience of UTS buildings to drought, recycled water from the Central Park water recycling facility will be pumped under Broadway to meet UTS Central landscape irrigation and toilet cistern needs.
This further extends UTS’s partnership with its Central Park neighbours, with an existing contract for supply of District Cooling to the UTS Central Plant to run air conditioning in UTS buildings, and a lease of six floors in Central Park’s new One Hundred Broadway building for the UTS Graduate School of Health.
The UTS $1billion plus Campus Masterplan is delivering iconic buildings and facilities, which have included two 5 Star and one 6 Star certified Green Star buildings. UTS Central is the last major capital project of the masterplan, and to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating potable water use needs to be reduced. This is typically done through installation of large retention tanks to capture rain water that would take up much needed space, which is already a premium in the dense UTS Campus.
The Flow Systems water recycling plant has been constructed as part of Frasers’ Central Park development on the old Carlton & United Breweries site. It provides water, wastewater and water recycling services to businesses and residents in the precinct. Water for treatment is collected from several sources, including rainwater from roofs, local storm water and sewage systems, to ensure the supply is drought proof.
UTS Deputy Vice Chancellor (Resources) Patrick Woods said, “The university is committed to strengthening partnerships with our local community, and this includes partnering with innovative businesses in our area. With many parts of New South Wales facing drought conditions, water recycling projects that reduce potable water use are more important than ever. In an urban context they have the potential to increase the resilience of neighbourhoods, providing continuous water supply even in dry conditions, while easing the pressure on the regional water network.”
UTS Green Infrastructure Project Manager Jonathan Prendergast said, “Installing retention tanks to capture water requires money and space. With water recycling already in operation across the road, it made much more sense to tap into Flow Systems’ existing facility. UTS’s Broadway Campus is becoming an extension of the Sydney CBD and space is at a premium, so it is great we can still aim for a high Green Star rating, and reduce our potable water use by partnering with Flow in this Australian first.”
While water recycling and production of non-potable water can be constant across the year, demand by Central Park buildings can be variable. The UTS demand will complement Central Park’s demand, so water recycling can occur more consistently, optimise the plant and maximise the production and use of recycled water.
Flow Systems Managing Director Terry Leckie said, “It is great to sign up UTS as a customer to our water recycling at Central Park. Their energy and water story is remarkable. Due to the dense nature of their campus in Broadway, they have had to find new ways to achieve sustainability. While we have many customers of our recycled water services in our precincts around NSW, this is the first time we have signed up a customer outside a development precinct. This leadership by UTS sets a precedent for others to follow.”
This is not the first time that UTS, the most densely built university in the southern hemisphere has taken the lead on sustainable projects. As part of its Campus Masterplan, UTS is upgrading existing buildings to reduce water and energy use and constructing new buildings that are certified to a minimum 5 star Green Star rating, as well as improving cycling facilities, constructing green roofs and walls, installing stormwater recycling and rooftop renewable energy and setting ambitious recycling targets for demolition and construction waste. Increasing efficiencies through sustainable practices brings long-term economic benefits to the university, as well as reducing environmental impacts.
UTS’s three new buildings, the Dr Chau Chak Wing building, Faculty of Engineering and IT building and the Vicki Sara building, have all won multiple awards for their design, architecture and construction with the latter winning a hat trick of sustainability awards: a NSW Government Green Globe award; AIRAH Excellence in Sustainability award; and an Architecture and Design Sustainability award.
More recently, UTS has entered an agreement to source 15 per cent of the annual electricity consumption of the Dr Chau Chak Wing building from a solar farm in Singleton, New South Wales, in Australia’s first offsite solar corporate direct Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A second PPA has subsequently been signed with a solar farm in Orange, New South Wales, to supply a percentage of the Vicki Sara building’s electricity.
The UTS Central building is scheduled to be completed in mid-2019, which will see commissioning of the non-potable water supply. UTS and Flow will continue to investigate other UTS water needs that could switch to recycled water.