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Taking The Heat Out Of Summer Energy Bills

Beenleigh School Program slashes power bills.

As large parts of Australia swelter through the latest heatwave, energy expert ERM Power is urging schools and businesses to consider a number of energy saving initiatives that will help take the sting out of their power bills.

“We know from our many years of working with schools and large commercial and industrial sites that summer is traditionally a very expensive time for them. Unfortunately, extreme weather conditions like those we’re seeing this week will help to push up their electricity bills,” said ERM Power Executive General Manager Energy Solutions Megan Houghton.

“However, there are a number of measures that can be put into place right now that will help them more effectively manage their energy consumption, and therefore their electricity costs.

“In the medium term there is a range of energy solutions such as lighting, sensing and controlling and demand alerts which helps to better manage machinery and equipment, particularly at peak periods, to manage down consumption and cost.”

ERM Power’s top tips to keep your school or business cool now:

  • Ventilation is the key to keeping cool – use your fans and bring more in (it’s much cheaper than air conditioning).
  • Set air conditioning at a minimum 25 degrees, or even higher if you use fans as well to increase the cooling effect.
  • Consider turning off air conditioning for 5-10 minutes every 30 minutes, or switch it to fan-only mode.
  • For schools, consider consolidating classes into one larger air conditioned area such as a library or hall – this will allow you to potentially turn off air conditioning to one full block of classrooms.
  • Turn off anything that is not being used – eg lights, computer monitors, laptop/tablet charging stations, televisions/digital displays, printers, coffee machines and microwaves, empty fridges.
  • Put a checklist near the door for the last person to leave the room – remind them to turn off the lights, appliances, and most importantly, the air conditioning.

Smart solutions for longer-term savings

Ms Houghton said that schools could benefit significantly from integrated energy management programs that would help them reduce consumption and costs, while achieving environmental benefits through lower emissions.

“One such example is Beenleigh State High School, which is benefitting from lower energy bills and reduced emissions through energy behaviour and technology measures put in by ERM Power,” she said.

Beenleigh State High School saved $28,000 in energy in the first eight months following the deployment of a fully integrated energy efficiency program. In addition, using ERM Power’s demand alerting technology, the school was able to modify their behaviour at peak times last summer to reduce their charges by $10,000.

“ERM Power designs programs specifically for schools that use the latest technologies in energy management. These include high efficiency LED lighting, reflective roof coatings, non-essential load controllers, smart meters and smart controls for air conditioners,” Ms Houghton said. “The heat reflective coating alone that we installed at Beenleigh State High School was able to defer $28,000 in planned capital expenditure for air conditioners.”

Savings achieved through energy efficiency programs can be redirected into core education services, allowing the school, students and the community to see immediate and tangible benefits of reduced consumption.

“Additionally, the savings achieved by the energy efficiency programs such as this can be used for the ongoing costs associated with new equipment such as air conditioning,” Ms Houghton said. “These programs are a sensible precursor to accurate assessment of solar capacity needs in Queensland schools because it reduces demand before solar rooftop is sized and installed.”

Schools also benefit by heightening students’ awareness of energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.

“Integrated energy solutions in schools make sense for many reasons, given the imperative for emission reductions and the impact of rising electricity costs on the education sector. Importantly, they also engage students in sustainability in a way that’s meaningful and relatable,” Ms Houghton said.

-ENDS-

For further information

Tracey Palmer
Phone: +61 7 3021 3266
Mobile: +61 438 310 539
Email: tpalmer@ermpower.com.au

About ERM Power

ERM Power is an Australian energy company operating electricity sales, generation and energy solutions businesses. The Company has grown to become the second largest electricity provider to commercial businesses and industrials in Australia by loadi. A growing range of energy solutions products and services are being delivered, including lighting and energy efficiency software and data analytics, to the Company’s existing and new customer base. The Company operates 662 megawatts of low emission, gas-fired power stations in Western Australia and Queensland.

iBased on ERM Power analysis of latest published information.