Capturing, managing and analysing data across multiple campuses and locations is no small task – particularly if you’re relying on key personnel and spreadsheets. By implementing sustainability management software, Trellis, The University of South Australia is transforming its sustainability journey, saving thousands of dollars each year on internal administration alone.

Based in South Australia, Uni SA has six campuses, more than 35,000 students and over 3,000 staff. Annually, the University consumes between 27 and 31 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity, as well as between 28 and 35 terajoules (TJ) of natural gas.

Despite being under the NGER Act thresholds for mandatory energy and emissions reporting, UniSA is closely monitoring its growth, as well as the likelihood of triggering this in the near term. Additionally, the University chooses to voluntarily report its energy, emissions and broader sustainability through the Tertiary Education Facility Management Association (TEFMA) and by applying the National Carbon Offset Standard Guidelines for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

The University has a complex environment, with multiple geographically dispersed campuses, including many electricity and natural gas accounts and meters. Previously, they were reliant on manual data capture and management processes largely using spreadsheets and BMS’s at some of their large facilities. This required external consultants, and various staff undertaking manual integration and entry of invoice and other data. This was time consuming, and meant that the University needed to initiate external audits to build confidence in the results being reported.

Trellis provides a single source of truth

“The adoption of Trellis at the enterprise level was a logical progression in managing  a significant annual spend on energy and resources” says Wayne Shore, University of South Australia’s Services Engineer.

The Software as a Service platform allows the University to track its energy and water consumption, waste and recycling and other resources and activities in an engaging and innovative way.

“Trellis’s focus on data extraction from actual invoices means we have a full history and access to the bills in the system, as well as the many levels of customisable and automated reporting around our consumption and spend”, says Wayne. “The opportunity for increased collaboration between our finance unit and facility and environmental management with the reporting is significant and exciting”.

An easy, common-sense transition

Since implementing the Trellis platform, the University of South Australia has automated its data capture processes and increased the auditability and accuracy of energy and sustainability reporting.

The transition was swift, and did not require any additional infrastructure. This included the checking, vetting and upload of 10 years’ worth of historical data into Trellis, ensuring its completeness.

A greater focus on strategy

According to Shore, the biggest benefit of Trellis is that it allows the University’s facilities department to look beyond data management and reporting to focus on more strategic areas re-deploying staff to more valuable things in the process. This includes energy management, facility benchmarking and detailed exception reporting considering cost and consumption.

A partnership approach

“The Trellis team is working closely with us on this journey, providing advice and flexibility in the use and development roadmap,” says Shore. “We have been really encouraged by the partnership approach and enabling easy and fast configuration to our needs as a dynamic, complex and expanding operation.”