The price of electricity has dramatically risen since 2009, with an average increase of over 25% in Victoria and over 15% in New South Wales. Largely, these rises have been passed onto businesses through their electricity costs. Energy efficiency is now on the radar for all Australain businesses.
Thankfully, both state governments have made a concerted effort during this time to support energy efficiency activities under both the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) in Victoria and the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) in New South Wales. In face of the rising costs, many businesses have been able to reduce their energy overheads through energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting. In fact, despite being the fastest growing population of all the states, electricity consumption in Victoria has actually decreased in the past year, largely due to the good work of the VEET scheme.
So what are your options to curb the rising costs? How can you reduce the amount of electricity you use and which energy efficiency initiatives will give you the largest return on investment?
Lighting energy efficiency
Lighting is a significant proportion of a business’s energy use and depending on what industry you are in, can account for as much as 10 to 50% of business’s energy costs. The good news is that energy use associated with old lighting technology can be reduced by up to 80% by retrofitting with LED lighting.
Not only will switching to LEDs reduce your electricity bills, it will improve the lighting quality in your business, while eliminating the need for frequent light changes and the expense and time involved.
Solar energy efficiency
Solar power systems will reduce the amount of on-grid electricity your business will use, instead drawing on your own sun produced energy. The amount of money you will save largely depends on the system you install, where you work, the amount of work done at night, the time of year, and the weather conditions. Based on the best of conditions and only working during daylight hours, upgrading to a solar system can save up to 50% on electricity costs.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) energy efficiency
Depending on the building type, HVAC systems can be responsible for between 40 and 60% of energy used, particularly in commercial office environments. There is plenty you can do such as adjusting temperatures before you look at a full blown replacement, but if you are considering installing a high efficiency ducted heating product, you can reduce your HVAC energy consumption by up to 40%.
Building controls energy efficiency
Building automation and control systems integrate the information for all the building’s technology. Building controls regulate the heating, hot water, air-conditioning and lighting, amongst other things. This works through timers and sensors based around variables such as temperature and daylight levels. By installing building controls, a business can reduce their energy consumption by up to 10%.