Utility monitoring systems from CST Wastewater Solutions installed at the historic Avondale College of Higher Education in NSW are helping the institution reduce costs and achieve greater sustainability on their 800-acre campus.

The 118-year-old Avondale College is committed to a socially responsible programme of water and energy conservation designed to deliver strong sustainability benefits, which are also applicable to many other businesses and institutions.

Avondale College has employed CST Energy and Water utility monitoring systems to affordably help reduce costs and achieve greater sustainability across their campus in Cooranbong near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Water and energy conservation specialist Andrew Boughton, who is General Manager of CST Wastewater Solutions’ Energy Division explains that the water and energy monitoring and reporting systems being installed at the college and the culture of individual responsibility for sustainability flowing from this example provide a model that could gainfully be adopted across a range of Australian educational, community and business enterprises.

Utilities monitoring systems at Avondale cover sub-monitoring of electricity using CT (Current Transducer) devices connected to data loggers to provide accurate data on all electricity usage, and water meters logging every litre of water at 30-second intervals, providing highly precise readings.

The data derived from these logging devices allows costs to be allocated per building and per department, making each section responsible for the management of their own utilities, enhancing responsible usage.

Mr Paul Hattingh, Vice President of Finance Infrastructure and Risk at Avondale explains that baseline data is needed to efficiently control their water and energy costs. This is achieved through monitoring, which helps departments take responsibility for their financial and environmental sustainability. He observes that the pooled costs model cannot hold anyone individually accountable.

The monitoring also helps accomplish another cost-saving measure by assisting users to determine when peak energy usage is occurring and finding ways to reduce or reallocate it.

One of the largest energy costs comes from the demand or capacity charge, which is calculated based on the half hour of the highest usage of the year. Energy companies justify that they need to have the necessary infrastructure at all times to be able to cope with this peak usage. By reducing the highest half hour of usage, Avondale can save large amounts of money on their energy bills.

CST Energy and Water will also assist Avondale College with their longer term goal to implement behavioural change, which encompasses practical measures such as turning off lights and air-conditioning when buildings are not in use and putting timers on electronic devices so that they automatically turn off if no one has used them for a certain period of time.

Mr Boughton observes that the primary objective is to implement an integrated system that achieves results right across an enterprise, be it one large site such as Avondale, or a university or business with multiple sites.

Avondale didn’t have a Building Management System (BMS), which presented a challenge in implementing monitoring and accountability changes. However, CST’s utility monitoring system was able to cost-efficiently substitute for a BMS, and provide all the data necessary to recommend the changes the college needed to make in order to use their utilities more sustainably.

One of the advantages of the nationally available utilities monitoring system such as the one being deployed at Avondale is affordability. According to Mr Boughton, one of the biggest challenges with utilities monitoring previously was justifying the cost upfront. Most companies were put off by the initial investment cost because they didn’t have a clue about how much it will save down the track. At about a third of the cost of most other solutions in the market, CST’s systems help companies get results in a much more cost efficient manner.

Mr Boughton adds that the Avondale project is an excellent example of how to achieve long-term sustainability gains without huge upfront investment or complicated technology.

CST Wastewater Solutions has delivered green energy and wastewater solutions to some of Australia’s leading companies for more than 25 years, including Oakey Beef, Golden Circle Cadia Mining and BHP Billiton in addition to world resource entities as well as local authorities across Australia. The company has also been recognised worldwide for their technologies with awards including the recent IChemE global green energy award for the RAPTOR system from wastewater treatment and green energy authority Global Water Engineering (GWE).