Living labs

Putting research excellence into practice on our campuses
We are engaging our staff and students in using our campuses as ‘living labs’ to create, test, evaluate, and implement new examples of sustainability research to solve infrastructure-related issues across our campuses.

Gelion solar smart benches

Gelion Technologies, an Australian battery innovator, has installed six solar-powered benches at the t the Camperdown/Darlington Campus, taking its revolutionary battery technology to pre-market stage.

The Endure batteries that power the off-grid smart benches will be the first commercial installation for the company, which was spun-out from the University of Sydney by founder and chemist, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer.

Gelion tested the batteries' charge and discharge rates and understanding the user experience of the solar benches. Information related to the benches' performance were displayed on screens in the Services Building (G12).

Since the installation of these benches, Gelion has joined forces with Battery Energy Power Solutions to make and distribute the Gelion Endure zinc-bromide battery for the Australian market.

Curriculum Garden

The garden was created to mark National Tree Day in 2021, with staff and students partnering with IndigiGrow, a local Aboriginal-owned social enterprise, to plant and create the garden. The University’s first curriculum based Living Lab project, the garden has since won the prestigious Green Gown Award Australasia 2022 ‘Creating Impact’ and is currently a finalist in the Green Gown International Awards

This new garden provides an opportunity to activate the synergies between the Sustainability Strategy, which is underpinned by a foundation of Caring for Country, and the pillars of the One Sydney, Many People (OSMP) Strategy (pdf, 4.61MB): Nguragaingun, Ngara, Pemulian – Sydney basin language representing Culture and community, Education and research, and Environment. 

Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell uses the garden’s critically endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub species in her formal Botany teaching curriculum. She says designing and driving the project provided the opportunity for the campus community to better engage with living campus environments and to learn about plants.

During the planting of the garden, Peter Cooley, founder of IndigiGrow and First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation, shared with the Grounds team on the uses of the plants and how to best care for them. Knowledges of these plants, and their Indigenous language names, will feature in signage and added to Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell’s CampusFlora app, featuring plant information and curated trails on campus. 

Curriculum Garden

The award winning Curriculum Garden showcases cultural and environmental collaboration.

Circular economy concrete

The Waste Transformation Research Hub (WTRH) specialises in research on the circular economy and how we can reuse and recycle material. They have developed a new formula eco-concrete pavement incorporating fly ash, ground recycled glass and importantly, carbon dioxide into the mix.

To test the composition of the concrete’s base components to find the optimum pouring ease and durability to make it ready for commercial use, the WTRH are testing it on campus.

The first concrete pavement can be found between the Engineering glasshouses and the Community Garden on the Darlington Campus with more pavements planned for this year, which will contribute to the University’s zero-waste-to-landfill target.

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