Small changes have big impact on power bill

Small changes at the Shire's administration building have resulted in power savings

​Power saving measures at the Shire of Mundaring Administration Building have halved the amount of power consumed during September and October, compared to the same time last year.

Shire Manager Building Assets Rene Baur said the latest power bill revealed an extraordinary saving. 

"During the October 2018 billing period we consumed 42 MWh (around $13,000) of electricity, and this year it was down to 21 MWh ($6,500)," he said.

"While we have saved a substantial amount of money, vitally we have also halved our greenhouse gas emissions for September and October 2019!"

Mr Baur said a range of power saving measures had been introduced this year including:

  • A night purging system for the central/main air conditioning control which, under set conditions, introduces cool air during the night, cooling the structure, meaning the air conditioning system does not need to work as hard the next day

  • Air conditioning settings have also been fine-tuned to complement seasonal changes. This includes not warming the building as much in winter or cooling it as much in summer. "Small adjustments can save a large amount of power," he explained. 

  • Continuous replacement of internal and external light fittings (as the old units fail) with LEDs

  • ­Staff have assisted by turning off lights and air conditioning units after using meeting and office spaces, where that control exists outside of automatic systems

  • The refurbishment and upgrade of the solar PV system on the roof which increased output from 5% of the building's power usage to an average of 10%. A new monitoring system provides comprehensive data on system performance down to panel level. Data captured includes power import, power generation and usage information which enables the Shire to improve its management of power.

Shire President Cr John Daw welcomed the savings, saying they were a positive move towards the Emissions Reduction Target set by Council in 2018.

"These results are a fantastic step towards reducing the Shire's emissions by 30% by 2030, from 2016/2017 levels," Cr Daw said.

"I applaud staff for implementing all of these measures – including some small but significant daily changes – and for continuing to find new ways to reduce power consumption and emissions."

Mr Baur said additional power saving initiatives were planned for the Shire's buildings.

"Next up we will be trialling, on a small scale, a new refrigerant gas for the Administration Building's air conditioning systems," he said.

"We've been advised that this gas could result in a saving of between 25% and 30% of power consumption for those systems. If the trial is successful we will start using the same gas throughout the entire air conditioning system in the Administration Building and at the Shire's other major sites."

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