6 Star Energy Efficiency Electrical Maintenance

Energy Management Solutions Melbourne

Prolux Electrical Contractors are committed to bringing innovation to energy management and delivering positive environmental outcomes for tenants, business owners and Property Managers.

We are proud of our energy efficient initiative, ProGreen, which promotes and implements sustainable energy solutions for Australian businesses.

In office tenancies, good energy management means using energy efficiently and avoiding energy waste. The skill is in minimising energy use but still providing the working environment you need to support your business’s operations.

Many businesses, that haven’t as yet made any technical changes to improve their energy efficiency can typically reduce their energy use and associated costs by around 20%, simply by modifying business practices behaviour. This is not only significant for your organisation’s bottom line, but is a significant saving in greenhouse gas emissions, which is of major benefit to the environment.

Understanding the energy use of your business
The amount of electricity your business consumes on a daily basis will vary, depending on the number of people you have employed (both in your office or factory and other locations), your equipment and it’s requirements (the amount of computers, printers, machines, etc), the working hours (the amount of time equipment and other resources are running) and the overall design of your office space (taking things into consideration like natural lighting and use of lifts, air conditioning, toilets, etc), as well as any measures you have taken to improve your energy efficiency.

Typical energy use in an office
While all office environments use energy differently, a typical office energy use can cost up to $35 per square metre annually, this results in up to 500kg of greenhouse gas emissions per square metre every year. Factors like air conditioning can add even more to the equation.

“It is important to understand how your business uses energy, what you pay for directly out of your own pocket and what you pay for indirectly, in the form of base building maintenance services.”

Typical business tenancies use energy as follows:

  • Lighting 30–65%
  • Computers 20–45%
  • Office equipment: such as printers, copiers, small power, etc 5–20%
  • Kitchen equipment 5–10%
(Source: OEH research.)

Three steps to determine how your business consumes energy:

  1. Analyse your energy bills – Look into the best possible price for your business in terms of your consumption patterns and location. Shop around and get the best price, negotiate an electricity supply agreement with an energy retailer.
  2. Analyse your pattern of consumption – You need to do your research or have specialists in electrical building maintenance record data to determine how much energy your building is consuming and in which areas you’re consuming what amounts, in order to implement an efficiency energy strategy. Most corporate office buildings will also be equipped with a Building Management System (BMS). A BMS will have data recorded that you can use to analyse your patterns of consumption. Calculate the average power use per square metre (in W/m²). Use the formula below to calculate:
    Power use (W/m2 ) = (kWh x 1000)/(time interval in hours x floor area)
  3. Calculate your energy rating – To work out your energy rating, you will need:
  • the area of your office premises (in m²)
  • hours of occupancy (in hours per week)
  • postcode
  • number of computers in your office
  • energy use for the tenancy over the past 12 months

To calculate your energy rating, enter this data into the National Australian Built Rating System (NABERS) online calculator, which will estimate a star rating on a scale from 0 to 6. A rating of 6 stars indicates that your premises have market-leading energy efficiency and 0 stars suggest that your building premises are very inefficient in using energy.

Setting up a system to collect, analyse and report on your business’ energy consumption and costs can help you to:

  • maintain savings from existing energy efficiency investments and initiatives
  • identify areas of energy wastage and any new opportunities to save money
  • develop a solid database to enable cost control and external comparison
  • understand trends of energy consumption in your office
  • monitor the greenhouse impact
  • communicate progress

Want a 6 Star Energy Rating for your building?
Installing energy efficient lighting and equipment as part of the base building will achieve cost savings for you. Lighting and equipment include:

  • energy efficient light fittings: T5 or LED lights – lights considered efficient consume less than 8 W/m2
  • configured wiring, so that light switching can be zoned – in this way areas of 60–100 m2 can be switched separately and only small areas will be switched on when they’re needed
  • movement sensors for lighting areas when they are not in use: boardrooms or for office areas after hours
  • photo electric (PE or light-level sensitive) cells to turn off perimeter lights, when there is sufficient daylight
  • sub-metering – tenant lighting and power can be tracked
  • blinds and/or shades on windows – control solar heat gain


Energy Efficient Electrical Maintenance Case Studies:

Base Building Electrical Maintenance

Designing for energy efficiency
Achieving energy efficiency is easiest when you have control in designing the building premises. This is the perfect time to incorporate energy saving technologies, within the design. It is imperative that your premises are designed to be energy efficient from the outset. Once the design has started it becomes increasingly difficult to change and this can also be expensive. With the right brief and knowledge, it is relatively straightforward to design your energy efficient office fit-out, building premise, factory or industrial space.

Lighting for energy efficiency
Lighting can account for more than 60% of tenants’ energy costs in offices, and is one of the biggest consumers of energy directly controlled by tenants. Increases in lighting efficiency will have a significant effect on your energy use. Light fittings available today are far more energy-efficient and have longer lives than in the past, making them cheaper to run and reducing replacement costs. They can provide a range of light qualities for different uses.

Factors to incorporate into your energy efficient lighting plan should include:

  • high-efficiency lamps
  • high-efficiency light fittings
  • low-loss ballasts (preferably electronic)
  • innovative ways to maximise natural light
  • movement detectors
  • light sensors
  • timers

How efficient is your current lighting system?
Office buildings may have inefficient lighting systems; they may be over lit or have outdated equipment. There will be multiple ways in which lighting can be improved to achieve better quality of light to suit the work in your building or factory, energy efficiency, lower heat loads and reduced electrical maintenance.

“Australian Standards suggest that the lighting levels in a typical office should be not less than 320 lux. An efficient lighting system can achieve this by using 7 W/m² or less.”

How much light do you need?
Different tasks need different amounts of light – known as ‘illuminance.’ (Illuminance is measured as the amount of light striking a surface.) Luminance, on the other hand, is what we measure off the surface that has light hitting it. (Luminance is the measurement of the product of the incident light and the surface – anything that is reflected). Illuminance levels for different areas are prescribed in Australian Standards, which set out recommendations for illuminance in lux, lamp colour appearance and rendering, and maximum glare. Find out your building’s lighting requirements and the wattage per square metre prerequisites.

Office equipment and appliances
Do computers, monitors, printers, photocopiers, AV components, etc have a ‘sleep’ mode facility and are they enabled?

Is factory equipment running efficiently? Is 3 phase power being used on industrial machinery and large air conditioning systems and communication and server rooms (data centres)?

Are kitchen appliances highly efficient, with an energy rating of 4 stars or higher?

Can you assign a 24-hour, 7 day timer on the hot water system?

Office planning
Does the planning and design of the office facilitate flexibility in the office layout, and minimise the demand on building services?

Auditing the energy use of your business
An energy audit will evaluate your current energy use and show how you can make and prioritise improvements. An energy audit can be as easy as just walking through the premises and identifying obvious areas of excessive usage or wastage, or it may involve a comprehensive analysis, including sub-metering and data cataloguing to provide a detailed cost-benefit analysis for investigating energy-saving actions. Prolux Electrical Contractors have extensive knowledge in providing clients with energy efficient solutions, saving usage wastage and money: Power Factor Correction, Voltage Optimisation and lighting controls (including LED lights).

Getting the right equipment
Buying energy efficient equipment, have it set-up specifically for your needs and training employees on how to use it effectively will save you money. It will provide you with significant electricity savings and also savings in your air conditioning costs, due to reducing the amount of heat your equipment generates.

“Any equipment that draws electrical power should be chosen based on its efficiency, or managed efficiently to minimise its power use.”

Data centres, communication and server rooms maxing out?
In buildings with large or highly intensive data centres, the IT equipment may in fact take over from lighting as the number one, highest consumer of energy. Data centres and server rooms can typically use between 20 to 100 times the amount of energy per square metre, as a typical general office area. Three phase power can help to improve the energy efficiency of these large data centres and also deliver substantially more power all at the same time.

If you’re looking to achieve a 6 star energy rating for your office building, industrial or commercial building, then don’t hesitate to call Prolux Electrical Contractors today, for a no obligation analysis of the buildings you manage.

Call Prolux Electrical Contractors on 1800 800 880
The electrician for all of your electrical maintenance requirements.