Published: The Daily Telegraph Date: 13 September 2010
Save Power Challenge... Ern Phang (L) of Phang Legal at his office in Parramatta, western Sydney.
Source: Sarah Callister Photography
There's no such thing as a business that is too small to save energy.
Every business can make changes that will cut power bills and reduce carbon pollution at the same time. For example, switching to compact fluorescent lighting can cut lighting electricity use by up to 75 per cent
Replacing an old, inefficient air conditioning system with a high efficiency system can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 40 per cent.
Ern Phang, of Phang Legal in Parramatta, recently had a power monitor installed in his offices and was quite excited by the prospect of being able to monitor his consumption in detail.
"It's quite interesting, and I love gadgets, so I've had to be very disciplined not to turn things on and off to see how they affect the meter," he said. Ern's view is that the energy efficiency changes should mean that the power bills will stay around the same level as now, even as spring comes and the air-conditioner is used
Besides the Power Monitor, Ern's Save Power Challenge journey so far has seen him replace the air-conditioner with a more efficient model, and he has put splitter switches and timers on lights. This means the Parramatta legal firm can turn on lights on only half the floor, rather than the whole floor.
Other no-cost, or low-cost energy savings recommended by the assessor were to set the thermostat to between 24C and 27C in summer and between 18C and 20C in winter.
Interestingly, for every degree you will save up to 10 per cent in energy use.
David Goodall, owner of Goodall Quality Meats in Merimbula, says his power bill for the business is close to $20,000 a year.
He is all for making savings. "Twenty thousand dollars is a lot of money, but if I implement everything on the energy action plan the assessor prepared for us, the savings will be $7,225 a year, which is an excellent outcome. I don't think I'm going to go all the way this year because of cash flow, but I'm going to try and do as much as I can," he said. "I've already decided to replace one of my very old air-conditioners.
Replacing the air-conditioner would cost around $5,500 and save over $1,780 a year in bills, paying for itself in a little more than three years.
Simply putting a blanket on the display chest freezers at night to improve their insulation would save David $259 a year in electricity costs.
The assessment showed that refrigeration was the biggest energy user in the business, accounting for 57 per cent of David's power bills.