University of Birmingham: Digital solutions from Siemens help make its campuses smart, sustainable, and fit for the future.

Redefining the future of universities

The University of Birmingham has established a global partnership with Siemens to make its campuses in Birmingham, UK, and in Dubai the smartest net-zero campuses in the world.
The Insider Podcast: Redefining the future of universities with the University of Birmingham

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Sustainability and new opportunities

Designing the world’s smartest net zero campuses

In setting out an ambition to be net zero by 2035, the University of Birmingham has committed to make its Edgbaston and Dubai campuses among the smartest, most intelligent, and sustainable globally.

Net zero, cost savings, and new opportunities

To reach its ambitious goal, the university, which is one of the largest in the UK, has established a global partnership with Siemens. The partnership addresses infrastructure, research, and teaching, and it focuses on a digital transformation. It includes collaboration on a diverse range of fields such as energy, carbon emissions reduction, transport, big data, IoT, and even healthcare. It also comprises the access to and integration of a wide variety of datasets that can be embedded into the curriculum as well as a fully engineered plan to transition university to net zero in a commercially and technically viable way at minimal cost – in this way making education, research, and campus life more attractive and at the same time maximally sustainable in the social, ecological, and economic sense.

The use of sensors, the Internet of things (IoT), and a digital twin of the campus energy system makes it possible to increase transparency on building utilization, heating, and power consumption. Digital sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning help to provide a reliable basis for comprehensive optimization of the entire energy system including distributed power generation from renewable sources, energy storage, HVAC, and mobility. In this way, a reliable roadmap for achieving both net zero and energy cost optimization can be developed. 

At the same time, the vast amount of precise data available creates new educational and research opportunities: The project includes the largest rollout of IoT technology at any university campus in the world so far, which holds enormous research potential. On top of that multiple PhDs have already been sponsored by Siemens, and there’s potential for 20 additional PhDs in coming years.

Accelerating the net zero transition

Collaboration with a partner like Siemens is the first step toward a net-zero campus. We’re going to make the ways we use the campus, how we utilize the infrastructure, how people work, and how they learn more efficient. And as the smart campus and the available data teach us more about these factors, they’ll contribute to a change in behavior that will hopefully take us to exactly the place we need to be.
Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal of the University of Birmingham

Siemens Xcelerator – the digital ecosystem to optimize student experience and campus operations 

Siemens Xcelerator is our open digital business platform enabling efficiency, resiliency, flexibility, user experience, and sustainability. Making digital transformation easier, with faster time to market, and at scale.

It comprises:

  • a curated, modular portfolio of software and IOT-enabled hardware built on standard application programming interfaces and a range of services from Siemens and certified third parties
  • a growing ecosystem of partners – from solution vendors to technology partners
  • a marketplace, that will grow over time, as a central point to explore, educate, exchange and transact alongside a community of customers, partners, and developers

With clear technical and commercial governance based on highest standards and values, we facilitate co-creation and collaboration between partners, customers and developers. Together, we can accelerate your digital transformation!


Digital technologies that will change university life

The project is being implemented in several steps, with Siemens providing long-term advisory to the University of Birmingham. With the first phase almost completed after two years, a whole range of technical solutions have already been implemented.

LED lighting with Enlighted

A major lighting program will significantly reduce electricity consumption. The rollout of LED lighting devices along with Enlighted sensors for automatic light level adjustments to take advantage of ambient daylight will significantly reduce energy requirements for lighting and at the same time create the world’s most intelligent campus:


Enlighted sensors measure ambient light along with motion (people in room), energy consumption, and temperature, in this way enabling comprehensive optimization of space and energy utilization as well as new research opportunities.

Financing: Making the most of the given budget

To meet its sustainability and carbon emissions targets despite budget constraints, the University of Birmingham has selected Siemens as a strategic partner to provide building efficiency as a service (BEaaS) with guaranteed energy efficiency results. The university pays service fees for technology and services over a 10-year period, Siemens Financial Services (SFS) finances the underlying technology under a prime contractor lease.


Leading by example

The use of digital technologies will unlock data and information that can be harnessed to underpin the university's roadmap to net zero. At the same time, it will provide living laboratory opportunities that reach far beyond the campus.

More information

Smart urban communities

Discover the future of urban life!

The University of Birmingham’s smart campus initiative illustrates how digital technology can help to transform university and city life – and the world at large. It will enhance the physical and digital foundations of the university, promote the development of future technologies, and at the same time enable considerable cost savings. Click the button to learn more about smart urban communities.


Let’s make the world more sustainable together – one smart urban community at a time.

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