Sustainable Urban Precincts Program

Sustainable Urban Precincts Program

RMIT is strongly committed to transforming its own built environment to create sustainable and resilient cities.

To realise this vision, RMIT committed to a $128 million plan to reduce energy and water use, significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions associated with campus operations. The Sustainable Urban Precincts Program (SUPP) is the largest program of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The results have been amazing!

RMIT partnered with Siemens and Honeywell to identify opportunities for energy and water savings and implement solutions to capture these savings in 77 buildings in the City, Bundoora and Brunswick campuses.

Since competition of the project, RMIT has been realising the savings that flow from this significant investment.

The SUPP will reduce grid electricity use over eight years by an estimated 263 million kilowatt-hours, leading to a 30,000-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions each year. Water use will be reduced by an estimated 53 million litres per year. But it wasn’t all about emissions. By developing the project scope with consideration of the existing conditions and known lifecycle considerations of installed equipment, the SUPP investments have also resulted in significant operational improvements that benefit the entire RMIT stakeholder community.

The SUPP at RMIT is a “once in a generation” project and has provided RMIT with a fundamental shift in momentum towards achieving the 2030 carbon neutral target.

Sustainable Urban Precincts Program (SUPP)

Program vision

The SUPP was born out of a commitment that RMIT made in 2007 to reduce emissions associated with campus operations by 25 percent. But our vision for the program ran deeper than an emissions commitment. The University’s vision was that our campuses should be integrated with the cities we engage with, contributing to urban sustainability and culture and providing learning and engagement opportunities for our students.

The SUPP was delivered under an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) model ensuring that the energy savings associated with the investment were guaranteed by our global partners to ensure that RMIT will achieve the committed emissions reduction target.

The SUPP Infrastructure upgrades were leveraged to create world-leading, innovative, future-proof, collaborative projects which have embedded sustainability across the core business of the University and delivered strategic outcomes for schools and research areas.

Program outcomes 

The SUPP devlivered 4.5MW of installed embedded generation (solar PV and co/tri-generation) to our campuses. The embedded generation alongside the rest of the energy efficiency initiatives reduced the University's reliance on grid electricity by over 50%.

The total emissions savings under the SUPP (once the additional natural gas that is required to generate our own electricity onsite is factored in) is over 30,000 tonnes, which represents around a 40% reduction to our original emissions profile.

To create a legacy of learning beyond the life of the project, SUPP incorporated a $4.8M investment into Learning, Teaching, Research and student engagement. SUPP has allowed RMIT to accelerate skills development, enhance research capabilities and develop career pathways for students into related industries. Students and researchers have leveraged the project to develop new sustainability initiatives and case studies.

Program deliverables

The works were implemented across 77 buildings and included;

  • Embedded co/trigeneration facilities (4.4MWe) and new private high voltage ring main infrastructure at Bundoora West and the City Campus. At the same time heating and cooling systems were centralised to allow for load aggregation.
  • 11 high efficiency boilers and 12 high efficiency chillers
  • Water saving fittings and fixtures, rainwater harvesting and cross-campus irrigation upgrades
  • Building automation system installations and modifications including Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system overhauls and large scale Variable Speed Drive (VSD) deployment across the campuses
  • 40,000 LED light fittings installed
  • A 92kW solar PV installation (only a catalyst for further installations) 

All works were completed under live operational conditions with minimal impact to the University core business. This is a feat that should not be understated considering that the program was delivered across a building portfolio that spans three centuries and includes some of the oldest buildings in Melbourne.

View the flyer for more information

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer