Multiple regions Cooler Classrooms Program
The Cooler Classrooms Program is a $500 million, five-year program to provide sustainable reverse-cycle air conditioning and ventilation to improve learning environments for staff and students in schools across NSW.
$500 million program over 5-years
900 schools in the program
>25 million in savings through optimisation of electrical network upgrades
Sustainability focus using solar photovoltaics, batteries and smart energy systems
The program does more than just cool the air. It provides year-round comfort with reverse cycle heating in winter and cooling in summer, improves air quality, and promotes sustainability and awareness using renewable energy sources and smart energy management systems.
NSW Public Works are collaborating with Schools Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) to develop, manage and deliver this program. A bespoke delivery model was developed to meet SINSW’s needs and deliver early gains where they were most needed. This included pilot schools to test and refine the approach in the initial stages and development of a program specific Standing Offer contract, which allowed preparation of technical designs to meet the accelerated requirements of the program.
NSW Public Works' state-wide network and our ability to harness specialist resources has proved critical to the program. As well as providing on-site project management and undertaking more than 2,200 due diligence assessment services, delivery has been enhanced through access to the in-house advice of NSW Public Works experts in areas such as environmental planning, heritage advisory, electrical supply, procurement and contract administration.
Over 200 schools have required upgrades to high voltage electrical networks. NSW Public Works has identified and gained approval for electrical system design optimisations in many instances, collaborating with energy supply authorities to deliver improved outcomes. This has resulted in more than $25 million in direct savings to-date, returning valuable funds back into schools.
Sustainability and social benefits
An objective of the Cooler Classrooms Program is to provide systems that are sustainable in the long-term. A pilot program was undertaken involving the installation of solar photovoltaics, batteries, and load management technology to improve sustainability outcomes and reduce the need for high voltage network upgrades. Learnings from this pilot will inform future projects across the SINSW portfolio.
An additional social benefit has been SINSW’s establishment of a work experience program to expose high school students to trade works. NSW Public Works have worked closely with SINSW to identify projects and opportunities to bring this program to fruition.