Reducing energy at the University of Victoria's Kelburn campus by 26 percent could lead to a prestigious sustainability award.
An innovative project lasting a year has led to the reduction at the university's Rankine Brown and Hub buildings.
It has earned Victoria a finalist position in the Built Environment category of the Green Gown Awards Australasia.
The awards are a recognition of sustainability in the Australasian tertiary sector, says project manager Jonny Parker.
"Victoria staff and graduates, energy consultants from Beca and maintenance contractors all came together to fine-tune the performance of the mechanical systems in the buildings," he said.
"We tweaked time schedules, fixed faulty sensors and controlled air flows, among other things."
The reduction was equivalent to the annual power usage of 61 houses and carbon savings was equal to the annual output from 50 cars.
Shaan Cory, a building scientist at Beca and a PhD graduate of Victoria's School of Architecture, says it was satisfying to come back on campus and contribute to the university's sustainability objectives.
"Victoria's Hub and Rankine Brown buildings were low energy designs when they opened in 2013," he said.
"Beca returned in 2015 to review their energy performance. This fine-tuning helped realise the design's energy efficiency potential, and enabled Victoria to achieve its sustainability goals."
Other campus developments will also go through the same fine-tuning process, Mr Parker said.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor Marjan van den Belt hopes it encourages other universities in New Zealand to go through the same process.
The Green Gown Awards will be announced in Melbourne on November 2.