Renewable energy-powered classrooms trialled in NSW

School children across Australia could soon be taught in classrooms powered entirely by renewable energy as a result of the innovative Hivve modular classroom, now being trialled in two New South Wales schools.

On behalf of the Federal Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing Hivve Technology Pty Ltd with $368,115 in funding to pilot its modular classrooms in a school environment.

Known as the Hivve, the portable classroom incorporates solar PV generation, real time energy metering, CO2 metering, data capture and communications to actively manage energy demands and control indoor environment quality.

Each Hivve classroom has the potential to generate enough electricity to power itself and two other classrooms in the school.

A regular classroom can consume on average 3800KWh per year, but when a HIVVE classroom is in use, there is an estimated net energy generation of 7600KWh per year.

Ready for the start of 2018 school year, the two pilot classrooms are being trialled at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Holsworthy in Sydney’s south-western suburbs and at Dapto High School in Dapto where the performance of the Hivve classrooms will be monitored and evaluated during a 12 month period.

A prototype building built by Hivve Technology Pty Ltd has successfully demonstrated the functionality in a controlled environment and this will be the first time the Hivve classroom and technology has been trialled in a real school.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said there was enormous potential for Australia’s public schools to not only educate on renewables, but also reduce their reliance on the grid.

“This is a great way to get the next generation involved in renewables at an early age and educate them as to what the positive benefits will be as Australia continues its shift towards a renewable energy future,” he said.

“The success of the Hivve project could lead to a nationwide adoption of the modular classrooms, reducing reliance on the grid and even providing a significant amount of electricity back to the NEM.”

Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the classrooms had the ability to not only power themselves, but also generate enough power for two additional conventional classrooms, totalling approximately 11,400Kwh per year.

“The portable classrooms, which are fully air-conditioned and have abundant natural light, incorporate solar PV generation, real time energy metering and air-quality monitoring,” he said.

Data, collected in 15-minute intervals from a network of meters and sensors installed in each classroom, will enable the schools to actively manage energy demands and control indoor environment quality via a user friendly dashboard.

“This is a great opportunity for out students to learn about energy production and consumption as well as various exciting technology developments – many of which Australia is at the forefront,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Hivve director David Wrench said the Hivve Technology was conceived and designed to deliver sustainable solutions – both environmental and economic – to help meet Australia’s growing school infrastructure needs.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with ARENA on this exciting project. We have carefully designed every element of the Hivve classroom to create the best possible learning environment for students,” Mr Wrench said.