Education (Schools) Living Laboratories

About the project

The project will develop the framework to quantify the impact of a holistic and integrated approach to building upgrades on classroom indoor environment quality (IEQ), school energy consumption and demand profiles.

Project title Education (Schools) Living Laboratories: Sector-wide engagement and impact
Project number LLS1
Project location Australia
Lead partner Queensland University of Technology
Contact Dr Wendy Miller
School of Built Environment
Science and Engineering Faculty
Project partners Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)
University of Wollongong
Project participants Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development, ACT Government
CSIRO – i-Hub Data Clearing House
Melbourne University – i-Hub Integrated Design Studio
Start date 01/07/2019
End date 30/06/2022
ARENA / i-Hub funding $147,042
Total project cost $480,570


Australia’s school stock will use an estimated 8.8PJ of energy in 2020. The provision of (or demand for) thermally comfortable teaching environments (through passive or active systems) is a large driver for rising energy consumption in Australian schools. HVAC presents a significant energy and demand challenge to school communities and education departments with social, technical, economic and environmental consequences. Approaches to the provision of ‘Cool Schools’ and renewable energy in schools still tends to happen in an adhoc and silo-approach manner (i.e. without considering the system of the occupants, buildings, technologies and electricity grid, and the management and control of that system).


This project will directly address the above challenges by engaging the HVAC and building services sectors and education (schools) sectors in collaboratively developing the processes for independent validation of potential solutions in a Living Laboratory. All sectors will work to develop new key performance indicators and metrics that link energy performance (especially peak demand, demand response, renewable energy and resilience) to core education services (e.g. teaching hours, student enrolments, healthy learning environments or student performance outcomes). A meta analysis of the international literature will further support this process.


The primary outcome of this project is the development and demonstration of a Renewable Energy and Enabling Technology and Services Evaluation Framework for Schools (REETSEF). This framework will identify ethical and practical issues relating to operating Living Labs in this sector and develop the associated procedures, resources and post-occupancy evaluation protocols to assess the effectiveness of different renewable energy and enabling technologies and services, taking into consideration the needs and constraints of all parties. Consideration will be given to the need for separate REETSEFs to account for differences between school types (preschools, primary, and high schools) and environments/jurisdictions.

Additional impact

Knowledge sharing activities will be facilitated through the establishment of a Renewable Energy Knowledge Sharing Task-Group for Schools.
Jobs: UOW student projects (undergraduate and post graduate) and internships / work experience. In long term, industry will develop capabilities to test innovative technologies and new jobs will be developed because of this.

Project reports

LLS1 Living Labs Educational Sector Energy Baseline and Key Performance Report – Analysis of energy consumption in Australian Schools
LLS1 Renewable Energy and Enabling Technologies and Services Roadmap for Schools
LLS1 Lessons learnt report
LLS1 Sub – project knowledge sharing report
Renewable Energy and Enabling Technology and Services Evaluation Frameworks (REETSEFs) for Education Sector
LLS1 Technical Report: Living Labs Educational Sector Energy Baseline and Key Performance Indicators V2.0
Lessons Learnt Report
LLS1 Technical Report: Whole of life assessment guide for HVAC technology replacement decisions: Education Sector

Evaluation Framework

All sub-projects within i-Hub are evaluated as part of the ongoing i-Hub project management process. Evaluation is completed by the project manager and reviewed by the Activity Leaders Group and i-Hub Steering Committee. Please click here to read the Evaluation Framework.

Created on 31/01/2020