Energy savings case studies

Businesses across regional Queensland are making significant savings on their electricity bills through changes – some simple and some more capital-intensive. Ergon Energy has been working with companies of all sizes and industries to help them understand how their business uses electricity and then identify measures to lower their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

Take a look at our online videos and read the following case studies to get some great ideas from what other businesses have done and take a step towards energy efficiency:

Ergon Energy, working together to make your business more energy efficient.

Transcript

We all recognise the name Royal Flying Doctor Service.

They do such important work for remote communities right across Australia... Did you know that in Queensland alone they treat a patient every 7 minutes?

The numbers are staggering, and as an aeromedical  organisation , their overheads are equally sky high!

The Flying Doctors recognised that by being more energy efficient they could save money, and in turn, invest these savings into their lifesaving work.

So, the team at their Townsville Base set their sights high and discovered ways to bring their energy consumption back down to earth, starting with the building itself…

First, they insulated the cavity of their roof, reducing air conditioning use. At the same time, regular maintenance to compressors, filters and fins ensured the air conditioner ran as smooth as a jet.

They also swapped fluorescent tubes with high efficiency LED lamps.

Next, the old electric hot water service was then replaced with a heat pump.

Solar photovoltaic panels were placed on the roof as well as a simple timer-switch on the hangar lights to turn them off after a set period.

And finally - would you believe a small but power hungry sterilizer unit was using electricity 24/7. It turns out it only needs to be on for about 3hrs per day.

It just goes to show, some of the smallest changes can actually add up to the biggest saving.

So don’t overlook them…

And don’t overlook the importance of involving your staff either, because the people on the ground, and in this case the air, are often the ones who know the ins and outs best.

And so,

With lower consumption,

lower demand,

and lower emissions...

the savings have stacked up with the daily electricity cost down by 18.8% for the Royal Flying Doctor Service...

...But that’s just the start of the story really.

The Townsville Base was a perfect pilot (pardon the pun), forging the way for an Environmental Policy to be adopted by all 8  of the organisation’s Queensland bases.

It’s all engines go for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, so what’s stopping you?

Go to ergon.com.au to help you choose an energy efficiency consultant and take the first step towards reducing your business energy costs.

Transcript

Kith and Kin is a small, not for profit organisation that extends a range of great services to those with various disabilities, as well as acquired brain injuries.

They make a BIG difference in people’s lives.

But money was tight and naturally, Kith and Kin prefer spending their dollars on helping their clients than paying for electricity.

So they rolled up their sleeves and put in place a range of smart, affordable, energy-saving ideas.

But how? Well, let’s begin at the bottom and work our way up:

The air conditioner is often the foundation for energy savings. Kith and Kin discovered that some of the outside condenser units were pumping hot air into the adjacent units - never a good thing. So a number of metal baffles were installed to prevent hot air discharge from being recirculated, allowing the system to work efficiently.

Ceiling fans were installed to create air movement and allow the air conditioning plant temperature to be set at a higher point. Every degree counts, especially in Townsville!

The next bright idea was to remove excess light fittings and replace what remained with LED bulbs.

Finally, they ended up on the roof. Kith and Kin had already installed a solar photovoltaic system in 2009; a great start! But by adding a coat of heat reflective paint to the roof, they made things a lot cooler inside.

And that’s it! Every little bit counts, and with these simple changes, Kith and Kin were able to slash their electricity bill by 43.7% and put more money back into helping their clients.

Kith and Kin’s story is proof that it’s possible to do more with less.

So what are you waiting for?

Go to ergon.com.au to help you choose an energy efficiency consultant and take the first step towards reducing your business energy costs.

Transcript

Queensland Health’s Storage and Distribution Facility in Bohle, North Queensland plays a pivotal role in the ongoing health of our community.

The building itself works hard to maintain an optimum temperature so that in turn the shelf-life of supplies is also maintained. That’s no small ask for a 4,400 square metre warehouse only half of which is air conditioned, let alone in the tropics. It’s little wonder then that all that hard work had led to some ailments of its own.

So Queensland Health ordered a thorough examination of the patient, from head to toe, and revealed the main source of their headache was an upset air conditioning system.

Merely updating to a traditional system would have been too expensive to run, so instead a Central Chiller Plant proved to be the perfect cure.

This clever system responds to local climatic data, de-humidifying the air, and pressurising the whole building so that dust and odours can’t enter, meaning clean medical storage is maintained. But they weren’t finished there...

Next, they installed skylights to reduce the reliance on electricity for lighting.

Existing lighting was replaced with LED hi-bay fittings, and at the same time, earthing systems were upgraded.

And finally, a new main switchboard was installed and connected to a standby generator - ensuring the facility was ready for any storm Mother Nature could throw their way!

Like the vital medical supplies being delivered so were energy savings…

…with electricity consumption down by 31%!

Of course, an investment like this doesn’t come without cost, but the solution will have paid for itself in roughly three years.

There are real health benefits too -- improved air quality and working conditions have meant Qld Health have been able to introduce a second work shift – a brilliant example of sustainability empowering productivity!

A dose of clever thinking is all it took to keep Queensland Health’s temperature down, so what are you waiting for?

Whether you’re a small, medium or large business, we all need to take the same steps towards energy efficiency.

Go to ergon.com.au to help you choose an energy efficiency consultant and take the first step towards reducing your business energy costs.

Ergon Energy, working together to make your business more energy efficient.

Transcript

With the all important job of preparing young minds for the future, and a growing school of nearly 1200 students, St Anthony's College in Townsville needed an energy plan for the future too...

The college had received federal funding to enclose and air condition a multi-purpose covered area. Great! But the problem was installing a traditional system would have put the project way over budget.

So the college developed an innovative plan that reduced costs and maximised sustainability - a smart approach to energy.

Like all things smart, they started with getting the basics right.

First, they cut lighting costs by installing motion sensors and energy efficient LED fittings.

Timers were installed on appliances to reduce energy wastage as well.

Ten 1.5kw solar photovoltaic systems were installed on roofs.

And a 365 day timer was added onto drinking fountains, hot water systems and ZIP water boilers.

Of course, knowledge is power, or in this case power savings, so staff and students were given a lesson in how to use lights and appliances more efficiently.

Then came the biggest challenge--the air conditioning. Many of the college’s 87 split system air conditioning units needed replacing and together with additional units required as part of expansion plans, the estimated cost was around $850,000. Ouch!

Instead of going down a traditional route, they opted for a central chiller system....

pretty cool now, and, into the future, as it allows for ongoing expansion to new buildings.

And so by lowering consumption,

demand,

AND emissions,

...the college managed to save a whole lot of energy, and in the process, a whole lot of money.

The capital cost saving of installing a central chiller unit rather than expanding and maintaining its traditional air-conditioning systems was $300,000.

And the operating and maintenance costs added up to about $67,000 in savings per annum.

A valuable lesson indeed.

St Anthony’s College made some smart decisions, so what are you waiting for?

Whether you’re a small, medium or large business, we all need to take the same steps towards energy efficiency.

Go to ergon.com.au to help you choose an energy efficiency consultant and take the first step towards reducing your business energy costs.

Ergon Energy, working together to keep your business energy costs down.

Transcript

Reef HQ Aquarium is the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world. It’s also the national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef. Located in the heart of Townsville, the aquarium is home to well over 100 species of fish, coral and marine life.

But looking after a little piece of the Great Barrier Reef was proving to be a lot of energy...

Power bills were getting hefty, rising at a rate that was unsustainable. So in 2007, the aquarium set out to lighten their energy consumption… with an ambitious aim to reduce their power use by 50 percent.

First, they addressed the small things, like asking staff to close doors and switch off unused equipment.

Windows were tinted to provide insulation, and the building’s general air conditioning temperature was raised by 1.5 degrees a little change, but one with big results.

Then, it was time for a refurbishment.

With the help of government funding, the team got to work, starting with the lighting. Fluorescent tubes and downlights were swapped with energy-efficient LEDs.

Next, they replaced the filtration system, installing new low-voltage submersible pumps, made from carbon fibre and plastic. These delivered not only a breath of fresh air, but a great return on investment.

On the roof, a 205 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array was installed, and finally…the old Building Management System was replaced with a new one. It offers better control over the aquarium’s operations and can target where energy is being used at any time.

Which brings us to the main challenge how to cool a building in sub-tropical Townsville and its four million litres of water.

The existing air-based cooling method was performing poorly, with circulation and efficiency issues.

So they installed a new, water-cooled, Long-Life Chiller System that maintains an optimum temperature for both visitors and marine life alike. They also painted the roof with a reflective coat, reducing the heat load on the building overall.

By diving into the project, Reef HQ Aquarium has achieved their goal, cutting down energy consumption by 50 percent.

Their chiller system alone will produce savings of around 4.8 million dollars over 25 years.

And their big efforts earned the centre the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism. Now that’s making a splash!


So, if your business is fishing for answers, go to ergon.com.au to help choose an energy efficiency consultant and take the first step towards reducing your business energy costs.

Ergon Energy. Working together to keep your business energy costs down.

Open welcome popup

We've made a few changes so that you can find information more easily.