The University of Birmingham creates smart campuses with Siemens


Technology company Siemens has partnered with the University of Birmingham to deploy smart technologies at UK and Dubai tertiary campuses.

By combining digital sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, renewable energy and decentralised energy generation and storage, the University plans to create the smartest campuses in the world.

The energy efficiency project will be deployed in phases with the first stage comprising the rollout of 23,000 Enlighted IoT sensors across the university estate. The University of Birmingham will become the first university in the world to roll out IoT technology at scale, according to a statement.

The technologies will be used to optimise onsite energy generation, storage, usage and management, a development that will help reduce energy costs and the university’s carbon footprint.

A ‘Living Lab’ will be created as a result of the partnership where data generated from the integrated systems and technologies will be used for research and development purposes and for teaching students and external parties. For instance, a team of PhD studentships that will be sponsored by Siemens will research how technology can be used to match energy demand with generation and how it can be used to address important challenges in data, technology, urban systems and the net-zero goal.

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Siemens will also provide the university with energy services for a period of ten years to help the institution achieve its sustainability goals.

The institution seeks to reduce its buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2030, compared to current levels or equivalent, to 2,856 tons per annum. 

The university has already made significant progress in making its operations more sustainable, including achieving its 2020 target of reducing carbon emissions by 20%.

Professor Tim Jones, 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. As we approach COP26 in Glasgow this autumn, it is clear we are into the ‘decade of delivery’ for NetZero targets. University-industry strategic partnerships, such as ours with Siemens, are important for helping to identify pathways for turning targets into reality.”

Matthias Rebellius, managing board member of Siemens AG and CEO of Smart Infrastructure, adds: “As one of the largest universities in the UK – with a global community of more than 38,000 students – the university is already an energy prosumer and these technologies will be further optimized in the system we are now working on together.”