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South East Water (SEW) has engaged Lyndhurst Primary School students to participate in an urban cooling research and development project.

The project involves using SEW’s OneBox®+ controller to manage and monitor sensors, irrigation and misting to cool the landscape, mitigating inner city warming, also known as the Urban Heat Island Effect. This research aims to test a hypothesis that water may be cheaper than electricity when cooling the environment we live in.

The project is a collaboration between SEW, University of Melbourne and the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities.

Aquarevo House is being used as the test site and Lyndhurst Primary School as a second  control site to undertake the research.

SEW will be using commercially available climate stations and SEW-developed, low-cost prototype sensors to monitor ambient temperature, ambient light intensity, relative humidity, soil moisture and soil temperature. 

This data will be fed into the OneBox®+ controller and SEW’s central data system, so it can monitor the sensors, and control the irrigation system and misting remotely. 

SEW Acting General Manager Liveable Water Solutions, Terry Dalgleish, said, “We’re excited to share this project with Lyndhurst Primary School. 

“Some of the students are, or may eventually be, residents of the Aquarevo Estate – so it’s great that they’re learning with us and supporting our ongoing research to find integrated water management solutions that contribute to tackling challenges like climate change and water security.

“If successful, this technology could potentially offer cheaper energy bills by using less air conditioning inside, and a smart irrigation system that only waters plants when they need it.”

As part of the partnership with Lyndhurst Primary School, SEW has installed a climate station at the school and will be sharing data from the climate station on humidity, ambient light intensity, soil temperature, soil moisture and ambient temperature so the school can use this information as part of their climate studies.

SEW has also recently installed sustainable garden beds at the school for their bush tucker and kitchen gardens, providing the students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience growing veggies and learn more about Indigenous foods and culture, and the role of water in sustaining them.

This project is an extension of SEW’s Aquarevo development in Lyndhurst, where 460 homes will be plumbed with three sources of water: drinking water, recycled water and rainwater. The water sources are integrated using innovative water technology, including a rain-to-hot water system and the OneBox®+ controller. By using recycled water for the washing machine, toilet and garden, and rainwater for showering, Aquarevo residents are able to reduce their water usage by up to 70 per cent.

The first Aquarevo residents moved into the development in May 2019, and there’s now around 150 occupied properties in the estate.

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