From its humble beginnings in 2004, Prolux had a vision to revolutionise electrical building maintenance and provide turnkey electrical fit-out solutions. Fifteen years later, Prolux is providing electrical building compliance solutions and maintenance to over 400 commercial and industrial properties throughout Australia.
The introduction of convenient lavish end-of-trip facilities is fast becoming adopted by commercial offices and workplaces to cater for those choosing to help themselves and our environment by ‘riding to work.’
Employers are getting on board with end-of-trip facilities as they know the importance of corporate social responsibility and their role in an era of addressing a greater environmental consciousness and increased awareness of health for their employees.
A healthier office leads to more productive and happier staff and less cars on the roads equates to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; a win win for all.
Cars equate for over 50% of Australia’s total transport greenhouse gas emissions
For the employer, a reduction in traffic reduces the need to allocate more parking spaces, less construction costs associated with building parking towers and more space to be utilised to benefit the tenants in other ways: relaxation areas, chill-out zones or exclusive lounges. And by taking care of cyclists, joggers or walkers who get to work based on their efforts and not by those driving or utilising public transport, they’re not only creating a healthier workplace, but also helping to reshape the way in which our city is engineered. For what seems as convenience, is in fact forward-thinking in design.
It’s all about the end-user
A healthier workforce, increased staff well-being, higher productivity, an improved corporate image and reduced demand for car parking are all seen as benefits for leasing tenants, along with a reduction in carbon emissions for us all.
So what do end-of-trip facilities provide?
End-of-trip facilities include provisions such as bike racks, change rooms, showers and personal storage lockers. Many lavish tenancies are providing more appealing facilities to ensure busy executives have a clean, calm and comfortable place to start their day, or freshen-up after lunch-time recreation.
Take one of Melbourne’s prestigious office towers for example, located at 101 Collins Street. Last year the entire ground floor car park was replaced with a luxury end-of-trip facility, boasting personal grooming stations, lounge seating and parking for 500 bikes. This facility mimics the amenities of a six-star hotel or wellness centre with its fluffy towels, muted lighting, terrazzo floors, wood-panel and fabric walls, black marble showers, hydration stations and an opulent reception lounge.
Developers are incorporating such facilities into new commercial buildings, along with many older buildings being refurbished to host the highly sort after amenities. These changes are happening in response to the rising number of people who are using alternative methods of travel to work, rather than driving or using public transport. And that’s great news for sustainability.
Photos C/O: AXA Investment Management
In 2003 when an aspiring young man by the name of Alex Lamblin decided to start his own business as an electrician, it was simply – one man, one van, one set of tools.
Today Alex is the Director of this business, Prolux Electrical Contractors, leading the company as electrical experts in commercial and industrial building maintenance solutions throughout Melbourne and growing…
The main reason I started my own business was to fill a void or should I say stigma attached to tradesmen being unreliable, untidy and costly. For me it was about providing great service from the beginning and that’s been my main focus.
Fast forward 15 years to 2018 and Prolux have managed to achieve success not only by becoming one of Melbourne’s sort after electrical maintenance contractors, but expanding to what is becoming a National enterprise.
Our vision is to revolutionise electrical building maintenance procedures and provide professional, turnkey fit-out solutions.
Prolux kicks off in Queensland
This year saw Prolux set up shop in Brisbane, with Ashley Hyne leading the team.
Ashley has been with the company for nearly a decade. In addition to his vast electrical knowledge, he brings expertise in the areas of automation systems, computer networking and wireless infrastructure to projects.
For me, working with multi-national property groups, global real estate entities, health, education and government institutions allows us as electrical contractors to help shape the future of the buildings in which they occupy. We go in with a mindset of achieving sustainability and efficiency for the client, whilst utilising technology in the best possible way.
So what’s the Prolux difference?
With the lack of electrical contracting companies focusing on customer service, reliability and consistency; Prolux hold these as their core values and point of difference; along with achieving solutions and outcomes for their customers as priority is what makes Prolux stand out. Looking ahead, Prolux is set to building on their solid reputation by consistently providing five-star service to Facility Managers, building owners, fit-out companies and direct businesses alike.
Never compromise on Core Values
Prolux live and breathe their values, they’re attainable and commendable.
Communication above all else
This is the most important value. Without communication everything else falls part.
We are Prolux
It isn’t about the individual, but about what the team can achieve. Everyone takes ownership of the business and treats it as their own.
Quality that inspires
We utilise our skills, knowledge and fellow team members to create inspirational & industry leading work. Everyone takes pride in what we achieve together.
Uphold honesty and integrity at all times
Building strong and long lasting relationships with our clients based on honesty and integrity.
Work hard, have fun and make a difference
We work hard first and foremost. As a team we enjoy a joke, smile and have fun in what we do. When we work hard, enjoy each other’s company and have fun, it makes a difference to the quality of work and provides the customer with a positive perception.
Alex feels that in order to maintain the company’s core values, the rate of growth has to be carefully monitored, to ensure these values are never compromised.
Prolux has a strong presence, reputation and repeat clientele which stands as proof that we are a trusted name within the industry. Our values are who we are and that will never change.
September 2020 marks the cut-off date for the nationwide ban on halogen light bulbs.
The halogen ban was announced in February 2018 at the COAG Energy Council meeting.
Ministers met to discuss their top priority – ensuring the security, reliability, affordability and sustainability of the electricity market whilst working towards a lower emissions future.
Many consumers have already made the change and prefer LED products. Good quality LED lamps can last up to 15 times longer than halogen lamps and consume one-quarter of the energy to produce the same amount of light output, said Lighting Council Chief Executive Richard Mulcahy.
It is expected that shops will phase out halogen lights before the ban comes in effect. The bulbs are manufactured overseas and then imported into Australia, so once current stock depletes the bulbs will be phased out.
It should be noted however that there will still be a small number of exemptions for applications where LED technology is not yet suitable e.g. oven lights (high temperature) and particular theatrical lighting.
The bulb switch estimates to save Australian consumers in excess of 1.5 billion, over the next 10 years.
Why are Halogen light bulbs being phased out?
Halogen bulbs are quite hot to touch, due to the halogen gas sealed within the bulb. They have been linked to fires, and are essentially a fire hazard. Halogen bulbs are quite expensive to run and they are harmful to the environment, with their inefficiency converting all the electrical energy into heat rather than light. So why use them in the first place? Put simply, they look good.
The Federal Government’s policy is mirroring action being taken in Europe to totally phase out halogen lights by 2020 and introduce minimum standards for LED lights; minimum efficiency requirements of 85 lumens per watt and a maximum standby power of 0.5W on all light sources as part of a review of the Ecodesign laws.
Still need to upgrade your workplace to LED lighting or looking for ways to save on energy?
Call us today on 1800 800 880 for a free ProGreen Sustainable Solutions Audit at your workplace.
As a Facility Manager you’d be aware of the importance of using compliant electrical accessories and undertaking electrical testing to Australian Standards, but have you given much thought to the regulations surrounding Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) running throughout the commercial buildings you manage? NHP has and as a result they’ve released a compliant EMC Isolator for use with Variable Speed Drives (VSD’s) which successfully addresses EMC concerns.
Firstly let’s take a look at the issues surrounding EMC, and how you can identify them and effectively manage the problems.
What is Radio Frequency Interference and how does it affect EMC Compliance?
Have you ever had electronic equipment within close proximity to VSD’s that malfunction? If so, this is caused by Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), due to high frequency switching in the inverter of the VSD. This malfunction emphasises the importance of using screened cables (commonly referred to as VSD cables). What is not always understood is the importance of earthing the screen of the cable at the VSD and the motor end, in order to prevent RFI emissions. If an isolator is required on the output cable of the VSD, then a metal lined EMC Isolator with metal EMC cable glands must be used and adequately bonded to the screened VSD cable. This continuation of screening creates a ‘Faraday cage’ between the VSD and the motor, ensuring that no RFI is omitted from the circuit. The level of allowable RFI in a VSD circuit is outlined in AS 61800.3-2005. An EMC Isolator ensures consistent operation of industrial and electronic equipment, making it ideal for use where maintaining EMC Compliance throughout the installation is vital – particularly applications with motors controlled by VSDs, e.g. water pumps and air conditioning systems.
Achieve improved power quality with the ‘NHP Katko Series EMC Isolator’
Locally tested to comply with EN55011, the Katko EMC Isolator ensures safe operation in environments with electromagnetic disturbances, so you can ensure a high level of safety without compromise.
For added application flexibility, the compact unit has been specifically designed to occupy less space, ensuring easy installation and operation with a choice of larger enclosures for increased wiring space.
The key benefits include:
- Electromagnetic Compatibility to EN55011 – safe within a sensitive environment
- Pre-installed earth terminal – protects people and equipment from interference
- EMC glands – suitable shielding of cable for electromagnetic purposes
- Quality IP65/IP66 rating – ‘dust tight’ and protected against moisture (heavy seas or powerful jets) and heat
- Copper coated enclosure lining.
How can you reduce Harmonics and enhance performance within power systems?
Another factor to consider in your building is reducing harmonics. Harmonic voltages and currents in an electric power system are a result of non-linear electric loads (e.g. office equipment such as computers and printers, fluorescent and LED lighting, battery chargers and also VSDs – equipment used to control the speed of machinery, as these can all play a part in power quality problems. As an example, if an internal power supply regulation is too noisy, that can adversely affect sensitive analogue measurements (for sensor products), or lower the performance of a radio transmitter (for wireless products).
Harmonics within power systems can also result in an increase in generating heat within the equipment and conductors, creating torque pulsations in motors (premature bearing failure) and misfiring within variable speed drives. Therefore, a reduction of harmonics is also considered highly desirable.
How are non-linear loads affecting Harmonics in buildings?
Years ago, non-linear loads were mainly found in heavy industrial applications, such as furnaces, heavy rectifiers for electrolytic refining, large VFDs, etc. The harmonics they generated were typically localised and often addressed by knowledgeable experts. However, times have changed, and today harmonic problems are common in not only industrial applications but in commercial buildings as well. This is primarily due to the new power conversion technologies, such as the Switch-Mode Power Supply (SMPS), which is found in practically every electronic device. The SMPS is an excellent power supply, but it’s also a highly non-linear load. Their proliferation has made them a substantial portion of the total load in most commercial buildings.
An LED light is one example of an electrical load with a non-linear characteristic, due to the rectifier circuit it uses (as shown in the above graph). The current waveform, blue, is highly distorted.
Prolux Electrical Contractors specialise in commercial and industrial electrical building maintenance and are proficient in replacing standard isolators with quality VSD EMC Isolators to maintain EMC Compliance.
Call us on 1800 800 880 to ensure your commercial building’s equipment is protected and running efficiently, whilst complying with regulatory standards.
Building Owners and Facility Managers need to be careful of sales companies offering LED upgrades for free. These ‘pop-up’ companies are cashing in on the Government’s incentives and offering substandard products that can’t last the distance. This can pose huge complications down the track when Building Owners are stuck with products that are failing and these pop-up companies are nowhere to be found. The cost to rectify the work without any government incentive can be very expensive. Tenants should not engage pop-up companies on their own accord. Any type of lighting upgrade should seek approval from both the Facility Manager and owner of the building itself. On the positive side, there is a huge potential to have lighting upgraded and/or solar added to industrial and commercial premises with long term benefits for the Building Owner with the VEET scheme. If you haven’t already, then it’s time to take advantage of the energy saver incentive.
“Remember – you can only claim once.”
What is the VEET scheme?
As many of you aware, the Victorian Government has introduced a VEET (Victorian Energy Efficiency Target) scheme promoted as the Energy Saver Incentive on 1st January 2009 under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act 2007, administered by the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The main purpose of the scheme is to reduce greenhouse gases and to make energy efficiency improvements more affordable.
Under the scheme, accredited businesses can offer savings on selected energy reducing products for residential, commercial and industrial premises. These incentives are very attractive for industrial storage and manufacturing facilities, generally providing a ROI of less than two years, on the upgrade of existing conventional discharged lighting fittings to LED and/or the installation of solar panels.
Prolux Electrical Contractors can provide sustainability audits to determine the long term benefits to your tenants, while the incentives are still strong.
It’s our understanding that these incentives will be around for three more years, after that they may not be renewed. Therefore, it’s a perfect time to take advantage of the benefits that are currently available. This being said, it’s important that you are aware of the unaccredited pop-up companies that are doing the rounds trying to push their poor quality, inferior products onto Building Owners and Managers, with the promise of unjustifiable savings. You know the old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.
In order to classify for VEET approval, an LED fitting needs to emit a certain amount of lumens, along with achieving a particular lux level below. A lumen is specified as the total light output from a light source, regardless of the direction the light travels. Lux is defined as the level of brightness at a particular distance from the light source; one lux is equivalent to one lumen per square metre. A desired lux level can be achieved by tightening the beam angle (spread of light emitted from a luminaire), expressed in degrees. However, a building’s existing fittings are not taken into consideration for this evaluation and those fittings with a wide beam angle may be replaced with a narrow beam angle and are therefore not complying with Australian Standards.
A number of these pop-up companies are currently being investigated by the Essential Service Commission (ESC). Many are providing fittings with a 60 degree beam angle. By tightening the beam angle, companies have been able to achieve the adequate lux beneath the light, however the fittings aren’t providing a sufficient beam angle (spread of light), resulting in spots of darkness. Prolux ensures the fittings we use provide an adequate beam angle, which results in a more even light spread.
The beam angle of an LED light is initially determined by the ceiling height or the distance of an object from the light source, and the lux level that is required for a particular object or floor area. It is therefore important to remember that for given lumens output, actual lux levels at working or floor height will vary depending on the beam angle of the fitting used. A wide beam angle combined with a high ceiling will result in a lower level of overall light, as the majority of the light output would be absorbed by the surrounding areas. The opposite is true with a narrow beam angle combined with a low height ceiling, which would result in spotting (patches of darkness).
Prolux insist on obtaining an EM21 Test Report to prove that the running life of the fittings installed are guaranteed to sustain longevity. We will present the TM21 test reports (measuring lumen depreciation) for the fittings we provide.
Issues arising for Facility Managers and Building Owners include:
- Getting caught out – they become liable for an accident caused by insufficient lighting if the tenant changes the lighting without the building owner’s approval.
- Inferior fittings start to fail or stop working inside their warranty – these pop-up companies are nowhere to be found and building owners are stuck with repair costs.
- Factories and warehouses underlit – buildings are then non compliant with Australian Safety Standards.
- Cutting on costs and quality – fittings aren’t performing or lasting the distance of warranty claims.
- No warranty backing with pop-up companies – will they still be around when their products fail?
“When you try for a warranty claim, these pop-up companies are gone.”
Significantly reduce electricity costs for your tenants
If you have a tenant with high electricity usage, Prolux can undertake a sustainability audit for the tenant and identify huge savings for them long term. If they choose to proceed with the works at their cost, then the Building Owner can also benefit with the upgraded asset, which is more attractive if the property ever sold or went up for a lease renewal. A Prolux site assessment would identify the potential for significant cost savings with the implementation of LED products for a commercial and industrial lighting installation. Many industrial and commercial premises have extremely inefficient existing lighting, which continues to escalate their energy bills. The fittings Prolux install are of very high quality, they are proven to be better than 95% of other lights on the market.
Just how efficient are LEDs?
LED can consume around 80% less power than a standard halogen light of equivalent brightness. Let’s look at the table below to compare.
Comparison of Light Types
|Incandecent||60 watts||770 lm||13 lm/w|
|Halogen||50 watts||750 lm||15 lm/w|
|CFL||11 watts||740 lm||65 lm/w|
|LED||10 watts||720 lm||72 lm/w|
A Comparison of Light Types. Table from Lighting Matters – Lumens, Lux & Efficacy; 2017.
(Luminous efficacy is a measure of how well a light source produces visible light. It is the ratio of luminous flux to power, measured in lumens per watt in SI).
What benefits and savings can be expected with an LED upgrade?
Take a look at an example…
Let’s look at a warehouse currently using 24 x 450w Metal Halide/HPS High Bays running for eight hours per day, five days per week, 52 weeks per year, totalling 2,080 hours per annum. Current annual power usage is 22,464kw and electricity costs are at $6,290.
By taking advantage of the Government’s VEET scheme and upgrading the warehouse to 24 x 130w LED High Bays, this tenant would reduce their energy costs by 75.7%, reduce their annual power usage to 6,240kw, and save $4,543 per year on electricity costs (running comparable hours).
The initial outlay on installation would cost the tenant $8,712, however taking advantage of the rebate would provide a $2,760 discount, with the out-of-pocket expense being $5,952 (ex gst); with a payback of 1.1 years. Proposed overall lighting savings each year would equate to $5,443, with an estimated cumulative ten year savings of $54,427. The LED High Bay would offer this tenant significant cost savings, with a much lower wattage usage, less maintenance (estimated at an additional $900 per year) and a wider beam angle – brighter lighting throughout the warehouse. The LEDs would come with a six year warranty period and an approximate 60,000 life hours of operation. They would also provide a greater light/lux level to what is currently installed and would offer much greater efficiency, whilst significantly reducing electrical building maintenance requirements.
Our warranties are backed by a 3 tier system:
- Prolux Electrical Contractors
- AWM – Australia’s largest electrical wholesaler, with over 300 stores nationally
- Light Planet – Lighting manufacturer, with offices in three countries
Contact Prolux Electrical Contractors on 1800 800 880 to arrange your building’s VEET scheme LED lighting site assessment and data review. Prolux will ensure you’ll have piece of mind with our accredited, 3 tier warranty.
Human Resource Management is one of the big issues a company faces. A main problem for some is moving too prematurely into recruiting someone and not ending up with the right person.
Employers will view new employees as an investment and therefore anticipate a financial return over time.”
Prolux Electrical Contractors – electricians in Melbourne – witnessed first hand the managerial, financial and cultural impact of recruiting in a hurry.
“I had to recruit within three days,” the electrical company’s Managing Director, Alex Lamblin, says.
“Unfortunately, the candidate could not perform to our standards. I could only work with what was available at the time and it backfired.”
“I went through two more electricians before I had the right mix. As a result, the overall management and quality of the project slipped. That consequently cost me financially and put a dent in my credibility.”
“During the whole process, I had to step in and fill the gaps. The project went for 12 months and consumed about 16 hours of my week, for about 20 weeks.”
Commercial & industrial electricians, Prolux Electrical Contractors were among BRWs Fast 100 in 2011. Other Fast 100 victors mentioned that recruiting the correct person with the right set of values, an employee who will fit well into the company’s culture, can rank ahead of formal qualifications and prior work experience.
Mr Lamblin says “I have always been a firm believer in recruiting from attitude, not skill. You can teach the skill, not the attitude. A willingness to learn and motivation goes a long way in my opinion. Someone that is prepared to go that extra mile can make a world of difference.”
Implicit in this approach is the view that while an employer is capable of teaching their employees what to do, they can’t give them personality implants.
Networking is also a successful route that generates results in recruiting.
In many cases an applicant would be willing to apply for a position even when it’s not the best step for them. Although it may seem to be a real asset to get an employee who has more qualifications and or experience for a particular role, in hope that they would bring their expertise to the company, and be hired on a cheaper salary, it’s not a wise move. If there’s no future for them to grow within the company, then they are likely to become bored or demotivated and therefore resign within a short period of time.
People who are willing to take a pay cut can be a bad idea.”
It can be very tempting to employ a candidate who is willing to take a pay cut, however if it isn’t in their best interests, e.g. a good progressive step for them, then their motivation will undoubtedly expire, their longevity will always be uncertain and they won’t be an investment for the company in the long-term anyway.
A Forbes recent study states the cost of hiring a single bad employee at between $25-50,000. The cost of seeking, interviewing, engaging and training new employees is quite high. New employees generally require a desk or workstation tools, computer or laptop, phone, car and other industry related equipment, let alone the other costs associated with salaries, benefits and taxes.
5 points we consider when hiring:
- Does the candidate have a sufficient level of competency? Do they have adequate skills, experience and education to successfully complete the tasks of the role? As an employer you want to be sure that you’re hiring somebody who can not only complete tasks, but show effort to take on further responsibility.
- Will the candidate fit the culture of our company? Will he or she follow certain values, policies and procedures? They need to respect the company and believe in our vision and mission statements.
- Will the candidate get along well with the other employees and also our clients and stakeholders? Reference checks will determine if they have had issues with work relationships in the past.
- Is the candidate of good character, are they trustworthy and a team player? Somebody who helps others in our company to achieve great results for everybody.
- Is the candidate just looking for their next job? Recruiting costs money and takes up precious time. We want to hire employees that want to grow and learn with our company and who envision being with us for the long term.
Prolux Electrical Contractors are always on the look out for enthusiastic people to join our vibrant and dynamic team of electricians. If that’s you, express your interest today by applying via our online employment tab.