University of Queensland - UQ Centralised Energy Monitoring System

University of Queensland

UQ Centralised Energy Monitoring System

The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia's oldest, most selective and comprehensive universities. UQ has 50,000 students across 3 major campuses and many other satellite research facilities across Queensland. UQ also has many ongoing Energy research projects via their Energy Initiative, including a 1.2MW solar array at their Brisbane Campus and a 3.2 MW solar array at their Gatton campus.

­The project and Key Requirements

UQ wanted a centralise their existing energy monitoring systems at their St Lucia Campus and partnered with VRT Systems to deliver a bespoke system. Some of UQ’s key requirements were..

  • Integrate existing metering and BMS systems across the St Lucia Campus to deliver data driven decisions to save operational costs

  • To collect granular Coefficient of Performance measurements from the 12 Chiller Plants to improve performance, maximise plant lifetimes and reduce operational costs

  • Measure the building KPIs, including thermal energy consumption, to find low hanging fruit for energy savings potential

  • Use an off the shelf energy management system for collecting and displaying all of the data (power, water and gas)

  • Promote themselves as leaders in energy sustainability through the use of foyer displays and linking solar data to the UQ’s live solar website.

The St Lucia Campus

  • 156 Buildings

  • 510,338m² Gross Floor Area

  • 12 Precinct Chiller Plants

  • 1.22 MW photovoltaic solar array

VRT's Contribution

  • 5 Chiller Precincts integrated to date

  • 16 WideSky Gateways used

  • 291 Physical Meters and Building Management System devices

  • 244 Virtual Meters that are used for later analysis

  • Data Capturing since 2014

  • Currently 11M points are captured every day

The VRT solution

UQ had various metering devices and systems, including an in-house built EMS based on PLC technology. VRT used the WideSky Gateway product to solve all of UQ’s problems. The following image shows simplified architectural overview of the solution.























Illustration 1: UQ Solution Architecture with WideSky Gateways

Feature Breakdown

We also built major features into the WideSky Gateway the product specifically for UQ. The following table lists these and other the major technical features used.


Key Technical Feature

Custom Built for UQ


Data Capture and Storage

BMS - 5 Second Sampling


Required for kw to kWh calc


Modbus meters - 1 Minute sampling


Priority on kWh sampling as close to the boundary for consistency < 10 Sec Drift

Virtual Calculations

Continuous calculations on historised data




Python lambda functions


Adds ability for data validation e.g. IF THEN ELSE used in COP calculations


Meter Include Hierarchy for complex virtual calculations




Integration function converts kW Demand → kWh


Applied to every virtual meter


Differentiation function kWh → kW Demand


Applied to every physical meter


Meter kWh rollover handling 999999 → 000000




1 Minute COP calculations based on kWh data



Real-Time Interfaces

ModbusTCP Slave Driver of physical Meters and BMS for interfacing to an off the shelf EMS


Used by RedLion and Pecstar iEMS


Meter Emulation (Standardised modbus mapping table for easy integration by existing systems Pecstar iEMS and RedLion)


Used by RedLion and Pecstar iEMS


ModbusTCP Slave Driver for virtual calculations parameters for obtaining real-time info in the EMS




Centralise all data to for all WideSky Gateways to a central server and push that data to an off the shelf EMS




External lighting control via Sunrise Sunset algorithm




Integration to UQ Solar Website



Table 1: WideSky Gateway Major Features in use at UQ


The journey continues

Future stages of integration will include.

  • 436 Wireless mesh Water Meters across the entire estate – Q3 2016

  • Integrate the Herston campus with another 200 devices from an existing EMS – End of 2016

  • Complete the St Lucia integration project with a remaining 7 precincts and 800 monitoring devices – Mid 2017

  • Integration of the Gatton campus with a further 300 devices – Mid 2017

Solutions used