Time to chill out

Despite our less-than-balmy start to the season, it’s finally high summer! Getting the temperature right in your building can be tricky during this season. There is often staff near ‘the freezing corner’ of the office wearing cardis when it’s a sweltering 40 degrees outside while others will be proverbially melting in their seats.  This is a sure sign that the building’s plant equipment – such as chillers, are not performing to a high standard of energy inefficiency, costing the business tens of thousands in utility bills per year.

Chillers are the single largest user of electricity in most commercial and institutional facilities and can drain a significant amount of energy from buildings.  Approximately 25-35% of a base building’s total energy is consumed by chillers producing chilled water for air-conditioning. Improving the efficiency of chillers through consistent maintenance, upgrades and engineering can improve the overall energy efficiency of buildings and subsequently improve the economic outcomes of a building facility.

EUA finance incorporated with the 1200 buildings project allows the retrofit of buildings to occur behind the scenes through the installation of chillers, boilers and cooling towers.Replacement and maintenance of chillers can prove a costly exercise for building owners. Chillers not only signify large financial costs for building owners, but they also require a significant amount of physical space. That being said, a chiller-based system can be much more efficient in terms of space utilisation within a building because components need not be located within the same space.

To minimise energy costs, purchasing the most energy efficient chiller is only the beginning. Maintenance of chillers is not only essential for optimum performance, but in most cases if not maintained it produces an offset by increased energy costs.

Conducting an energy audit is another way you can effectively manage your building’s energy usage and makes good business sense.

Understandably, the costs of maintenance can deter building owners from investing in upgrades.

With EUA finance upgrades are not only made possible, but commercially attractive due to a number of key benefits. An EUA secures finance for a building owner to make the chiller upgrades, with payback periods of up to 20 years on offer in Victoria. A special Environmental Upgrade Charge (EUC) can be contributed to the loan repayments by tenants, creating a new revenue stream for the building owner and making it easier to justify the expense. The tenant energy costs, reduced as a result of the chiller upgrade, mean that the EUC payment leaves the tenant in a healthier environmental position and an immediate no-worse-off financial position.

So rather than melting or freezing in your building and have your business continue to waste money on not using energy efficiently, why not use it to make work a better place to be in these hot days of summer?

View our EUA success stories, most of which included a chiller upgrades.

Applying an upgrade and improving the functionality of a chiller plant can allow for overall efficiency.

Image credit: Johnson Controls


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