University of Birmingham partners with Siemens to develop smart campus

The ‘Living Lab’ will capture data from the university’s building technologies, estates infrastructure and energy plants to use it for teaching, innovation and R&D

The University of Birmingham has partnered with German multinational conglomerate Siemens to create “the world’s smartest global campus”.

The development will combine digital sensor and analytics technologies, artificial intelligence (AI, decentralised energy generation and storage, renewable energy, and concepts that influence users’ behaviour to transform the institution’s Edgbaston and Dubai campuses into ‘Living Labs’ where research, teaching and learning are supported by new data and connectivity.

Capturing data from the university’s integrated building technologies, estate infrastructure and energy plants, the Living Lab will contribute to innovation, R&D, and teaching. Scrutinising energy demand and production – from systems to individual consumers/producers (prosumers) – with live data from across the sites provides an opportunity for students to participate in applied learning, on top of creating a high-tech platform for research.

Siemens will sponsor a team of PhD studentships based in the UK and Dubai. Their projects will be co-designed by the tech company and the university to address important issues in data, technology, urban systems and the NetZero goal.

This year, Birmingham will become the first university in the world to roll out Internet of Things (IoT) technology at scale. Starting this Autumn, the initial phase of this major energy efficiency project will include the roll out of 23,000 Enlighted IoT sensors across the university estate.

“Partnerships like this are extremely important for gathering new insights, testing and developing new technologies and creating efficient and sustainable energy infrastructure” – Matthias Rebellius, Siemens AG

“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 optimised in the system we are now working on together,” said Matthias Rebellius, managing board member of Siemens AG and CEO of Smart Infrastructure.

“Partnerships like this are extremely important for gathering new insights, testing and developing new technologies and creating efficient and sustainable energy infrastructure. The university’s campus in Dubai will be a global example of sustainable at the rescheduled Dubai Expo 2020.”

Additionally, Siemens will deliver a 10-year bureau for Energy and IoT services to ensure the university reaps the full potential of both the technology and industry expertise. The institution has already made significant progress in making its operations more sustainable, including achieving its 2020 target of reducing carbon emissions by 20% and is constantly looking to improve the environmental performance of its buildings – including a reduction of 2,856 tCO2 annually, equivalent to 5% of the university’s current emissions.

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