Overview SWEP: The Schools
Water Efficiency
Program.

SWEP is a data-logging interface that tracks water use in Victorian schools to identify leaks.

If schools can find leaks early, they save water and money. Money that is better spent on computers, equipment and other resources.

Tested on real kids in the real world, the program aligns to the national curriculum from grades 2 to year 10.

SWEP is generating big results and world-wide acclaim for its efforts in sustainability, innovation and education.

SWEP – making schools more sustainable through data made beautiful and meaningful by August.

See more at myswep.com.au

“SWEP is generating big results and world-wide acclaim for its efforts in sustainability, innovation and education.”

What we did

Research, analysis
+ concept

Information architecture

UX design, interface
design
+ branding

Custom development
+ systems integration

Hosting
+ maintenance

In partnership with

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Yarra Valley Water Department of Environment and Primary Industries

0+
billion
litres saved

$0+
million
saved

History Making it better

Back in 2011, when August became immersed in the project, SWEP was already a successful initiative. But the problem was this: what could we do to better engage students and save water at the same time.

The answer lay in the combination of technology and design. We made data beautiful and accessible to the SWEP audience.

Two years later, we achieved our goal: SWEP's reach extends to more than 680 schools. Hundreds of thousands of active participants are joining in the conversation.

...and dive

Platform How SWEP works

A sophisticated custom backend system ensures seamless integration, automated reporting and information share between multiple stakeholders

Supplier

School
A

School
B

School
C

School
D

Swim faster...

Design Making data beautiful.

By adopting a vibrant aesthetic, data becomes beautiful.

We get excited about data here at August. It gives us the evidence in which to test our assumptions and pursue our ideas. So in devising the aesthetic for SWEP, it was essential that data was presented in a fun and appealing way to relate to kids of all ages.

Through colour, illustration and typography, we hoped to challenge the notion that data is boring.

Tread lightly...

Technology Bringing data to life.

The simplicity of the SWEP interface hides a complex system architecture that connects multiple user groups with data from a number of suppliers.

The interface updates every 15 minutes and provides users with status boards and easy-to-interpret graphs. The data gives teachers accurate, practical, evidence-based material to engage with students by showing rather than telling them about the benefits of saving water.

Results The water revolution.

As the builders of the platform, August is immensely proud to be part of Victoria's water revolution.

SWEP is a globally recognised sustainable education program. It may be used in schools, but its inherent value is in provoking behaviourial change. The next generation is learning why it is important to save water at home, in their garden and in the community.

Initiatives like SWEP can nudge people towards a shift in attitude. And this can only be a good thing.

  1. 0+ billion litres saved

  2. 0+ schools

  3. $0M + saved for schools

1 of 1

...Kick, kick, kick

The lowdown The SWEP journey.

The idea of a data-logging platform lends itself to tracking electricity and solar energy. Bill shock? Gone. Wasted water? Gone. Wasted electricity? Gone.

A large part of the success of SWEP is the way in which schools have embraced it – in the classroom and beyond.

We were over the moon when SWEP won this United Nations award. It is awesome global recognition for a platform built locally in Melbourne.

A brief timeline A short history.

2006

SWEP is launched by the Victorian government as part of the Water LILI (aka “Live it. Learn it.”) data-logging module. Its focus is on plumbing repair works in schools. The programs is wildly successful and runs for three years.

2009

2009 Victorian dams dwindle to an historic low of 25.9 percent. Saving water is top of mind and of concern to all Victorians.

2010

A report is commissioned to survey 60 schools on SWEP. The findings are clear: teachers demand better use of technology in the classroom and more ways to engage students.

2011

The Victorian government allocates
$3 million to fund the second iteration
of SWEP.

September 2011

August is engaged to build the
SWEP platform.

March 2012

SWEP phase two launches.

August 2013

SWEP is adopted by 300 schools
and counting.

2014

Two days after installing SWEP data loggers Wodonga Secondary College identified a leak of approximately 1200 litres per hour due to a cracked boiler pipe. Immediate repair of the pipe reduces the school's water leakage by 90 percent.

2014

SWEP gives schools tangible outcomes. Mill Park Secondary College bills drop by 50 percent in the 12 months since installing SWEP data loggers.

June 2014

SWEP wins the United Nations Environment Day award and is a finalist in the Sustainia100 annual guide.

November 2014

Celebration time as SWEP reaches its target of 500 schools.

2015

The future is now: solar, electricity and a more robust platform are on the cards for future development. Stay tuned.

Design Say hello.

The SWEP website and interface uses lively illustrations, friendly typography and a bold colour palette.

The beauty of the SWEP aesthetic is its simplicity and warmth. From the moment you log on to the platform, you're greeted with a site that has married technology with a visually appealing design.

Colour pop!

The platform is punctuated with pops of colour and iconography that work to reinforce the SWEP brand, but also makes sense to the people using the platform, particularly younger students.

Cute schoolkids, everyday objects and idyllic scenery help turn data logging and tracking into a playful and fun learning experience.

Playful ilustrations

We chose an illustration style that was fun, fresh and playful to deliver a big personality hit to the SWEP interface.

Illustrations of common objects align with the calculations by way of comparison. They help put water usage in perspective.

Mikado, the friendly font

To bring the words to life, our design team chose Mikado as the primary font. Designed by Hannes von Döhren, it's a fun, friendly typeface with a casual feel.

The logo

We refreshed the SWEP logo, giving it a clean, modern feel. It's not hard to see that we were inspired by the need to conserve water – the SWEP logo is a metaphor for making every drop count.

Technology Data transfer
and processing.

The platform includes reporting functionality, analytics and third-party systems integration, all of which are automated where possible.

Every morning, data is received from each of the suppliers (both water and electricity). The data is processed and cached to ensure users can query the data quickly and efficiently. A number of APIs are set up to facilitate delivery of this data in common formats.

Each day, we process 15-minute interval data from 680+ schools, with more than 850 meters, resulting in over 80,000 individual meter readings each day.

Symfony 2

The SWEP platform is built on a fully open source technology stack. We used Symfony2 for its ability to deliver a robust framework for ongoing development.

The diversity of the target audience means a complex set of authentication and authorisation requirements. Using Symfony2 allows us to limit data access to specific users based on their individual requirements.

Hosting

The database is hosted on a secure Linux server that is monitored 24/7. We aim to provide a seamless hosting environment for the SWEP platform.

In 2014, SWEP had 52 minutes of downtime. That's 364.96 days of uninterrupted uptime.

The lowdown SWEP is electric.

The idea of a data-logging platform lends itself to tracking electricity, although the challenges for power are greater than those for water usage.

Why? Because schools properties need the power to be on at all times, for things such as alarms, lights and fridges. It makes it that little bit more difficult to identify ‘problem' spikes of electricity in the same was as we identify water leaks.

Four schools are participating in a trial SWEP electricity program, with a plan to roll out a pilot program to 100 schools.

Four schools are trialling a SWEP electricity program

SWEP electricity is designed on the same platform as the water component and leverages the existing data management system.

With power prices on the rise, tracking water and electricity usage using the same platform just makes sense.

Technology + Sustainability Global recognition.

While we've not in it for the awards, we we're over the moon when SWEP won the United Nations award in June 2014. It is awesome global recognition for a platform built locally in Melbourne. The unique combination of innovation, sustainability, design and technology proved a hit with the judges.

In the same month, we became part of the Sustainia 100, an annual international award that honours outstanding performances within the sustainability arena. SWEP was selected for Sustainia's annual guide that highlights 100 innovative sustainability solutions from around the world across a range of sectors.

Sustainia100 puts us in inspiring company – from growing trees in deserts with minimal water usage to electric cars, bike-sharing apps and products that turn food waste into exotic leather – we're humbled to be recognised for our part in SWEP.

The Sustainia Award is changing the focus of the climate change debate towards tangible solutions that can make a real difference.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sustainia100 Chair

And then there's Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former Governor of California chairs Sustainia100 in what we think must be one of his most interesting roles to date.

  • Winner 2014

    United Nations Association of Australia (Victorian division) World Environment Day Awards.

  • Finalist 2014

    Sustainia 100 (Global)

  • Winner 2013

    AWA Innovation Award (Victoria)

  • Finalist 2013

    19th Annual AIMIA Awards, Most Effective Best Government Best Education & Learning

The Lowdown What they're saying about SWEP.

  • Steven Capp, Assistant Principal

    Mcclelland College, Frankston, Victoria

    “We've saved more than 7 million litres of water a year since participating in the SWEP program, and that equates to more than $15,000 a year.”

  • Les Walker

    Department Of Sustainability & Environment

    “August has been innovative in their approach to the development of the program's web platform. They have met our needs in providing the digital and creative aspects of SWEP.”

  • Tony Kelly

    Yarra Valley Water

    "Data loggers fitted to water meters enable schools to monitor and manage their water usage, increasing their efficiency and enabling them to fix problems such as leaking pipes quickly. By using the supporting online education materials at the same time, the school will save water and money and set a great example to students."

  • Kerry Archer

    Mcclelland College, Frankston, Victoria

    "It is up to our children to carry this through to future generations, so it is essential that they understand the importance of water and how to use it in the most sustainable way possible."