The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy.
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Energy system overhaul
UOW is on track to meet its target to reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent before 2035. The Energy and Carbon Management Action Plan and an Environmental Management Plan addresses planned building refurbishments to be rolled out over a three-year period and completed in 2020. Before the work started, there were solar panels already installed on six buildings. Under this program, solar panels have been installed on 17 additional buildings. Plans are also being developed to install more energy-efficient air-conditioning systems in buildings more than 10 years old.
Sustainable Building Research Centre
The Sustainable Building Research Centre (SBRC) is a haven for research and industry collaborations with the goal to make all buildings sustainable. The SBRC building itself has 6-Star Green Star certification and the building includes 468 solar panels to support net zero energy, an onsite rainwater system to enable net zero water performance, and use of environmentally safe and reused building materials. SBRC has achieved full marks under the Living Building Challenge and has set a new benchmark as arguably the most sustainable building in Australia. SBRC also provides short courses on energy efficiency, community information events, public exhibitions and conferences on improving residential energy efficiency. It hosted the National Forum on Low Carbon Housing for Low Income Households, bringing together representatives from the not-for-profit sector, community housing, government, industry, energy providers, researchers and tenant advocacy groups to unpack barriers to delivering housing that is both affordable and sustainable.
Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials
The Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) is a world-class collaborative team conducting research in superconducting and electronic materials science and technology. ISEM seeks to stimulate the technological and commercial development to advance technologies including batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage; applied superconductivity for electrical and medical devices; energy conversion and transmission; spintronic and electronic materials for applications; terahertz science; and nano structured materials.
Researchers from the UOW have manufactured a nanomaterial that acts as a superior cathode for room-temperature sodium-sulfur batteries, making them a more attractive option for large-scale energy storage. Room-temperature sodium-sulfur batteries are an attractive proposition for next generation energy storage, which will be required to meet increasing energy demands. A superior room-temperature sodium-sulfur battery with high energy density and long cycling life would provide a low-cost and competitive technology for large-scale stationary storage, thus promoting the shift towards renewable energy.
Evaluation of fringe of grid
UOW researchers are working with our regional communities to examine the social, technical and economic possibilities and benefits of deploying alternative electricity supply technologies in fringe of grid applications.Find out more about the project
Energy Efficient Art
This interdisciplinary research team has produced artworks that incorporate energy-efficient elements and slow textile methods to communicate the need to adopt effective sustainable energy strategies in gallery and museum contexts.Find out more about energy efficient art
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Solar Decathlon and Desert Rose
Team UOW Australia-Dubai was awarded second place in the Solar Decathlon Middle East competition in 2018. The team comprised of more than 40 students from UOW and TAFE NSW, who spent two years designing, prototyping and building. Their design caters for the needs of an ageing population, supporting people living with dementia and other age-related disabilities. Teams from 11 countries competed to create sustainable and accessible homes, with the added challenge of ensuring it functioned in desert temperatures. The house takes its name ‘Desert Rose’ from the flower that flourishes in challenging environments. Desert Rose is considered one of the world’s best examples of sustainability and design innovation.
Sustainability in STEM
This project is working alongside the Department of Education, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and a local pilot study school based on the potential to integrate the energy use and energy efficiency initiatives of the school as an asset, with sustainability as a cross-curriculum priority.Find out more about the project