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Building the most environmentally friendly prison on the planet

Clarence Correctional Centre (CLA) is the largest and most technologically advanced correctional facility in Australia. Set on 195 hectares and surrounded by over 6 kilometers of secure fencing, it comprises 65 buildings and has capacity for 1,700 inmates. It is also arguably Australia’s most innovative correctional facility and the most environmentally friendly prison on the planet.

Serco is contracted to operate and maintain the facility for the next 20 years. The longevity of this contract has led to a new approach in the delivery of Asset Maintenance.

“A lot of money gets spent building infrastructure, and even more on operating and maintaining it,” says Liam Parry, FM Operations Manager for Serco Asia Pacific Justice & Immigration, “but expectations around FM are changing. They’ve got to change. There are tremendous opportunities to reduce waste, optimise the consumption of energy and push the operation of infrastructure towards carbon neutrality. This project was a chance for those of us that operate and maintain infrastructure to have a seat at the table with the builder and prove that there’s a better way.”

An impressive range of forward-thinking solutions have already been carefully woven into the operation of CLA. For example:

  • All artificial light is constantly modulated to account for the presence of natural daylight. This sensor-less daylight harvesting system uses daylight models created during the design phase and 355,000 computations every 15 seconds to reduce the facility’s electricity consumption by over 1000mWh each year.

“It reduces the amount of electricity we use,” explains Liam, “which in turn reduces the carbon footprint of the site. It also extends the life of light fittings and that means we’re generating less waste as well. What’s not to love?”

  • In partnership with the Asset Institute and Queensland University of Technology, the FM team at CLA have already implemented analytics for the detection of operating anomalies and are now working to optimise asset maintenance by applying critical degradation and failure models using this data.

“The more data you have, the smarter you can get,” says Liam, “and this partnership with academic research will ensure the data we collect now and into the future is given the best opportunity to refine and optimise how we maintain and lifecycle.” 

  • An embedded ‘zero waste to landfill’ commitment will govern how the facility manages its waste. Even the most problematic waste streams - from textiles to toothpaste tubes - are managed as recovered resources, for which suitable solutions must be found through collaborative partnerships.

“Zero waste to landfill forces you to think through all the waste that you’re producing and can provide great opportunities for localised circular economies. Take our wastewater treatment plant, for example; the microbial processes there produce an organic waste stream that would otherwise get sent to landfill. But here it will be used by local sugar farmers for improved regenerative agriculture. They provide us with sugar, and we provide them with fertiliser. It’s an environmentally friendly win-win for everyone.”

And so, while the lighting at CCC is carefully moderated, the centre’s future is looking very bright indeed. But as impressive as all the science and technology may be, the systems are only as effective as the people who manage them. Fortunately, the FM team assembled at CLA are every bit as formidable as the tech. 

“They could eat other FM teams for breakfast,” says Liam, proudly. “We came up with all these ideas and then we had to find the right people to bring it all to life. Now we’ve got HVAC technicians considering Weibull and Bayesian models alongside academics – that’s just the new normal here.”