A Level 2 energy audit at Cairns Hardware found tens of thousands of dollars in potential annual energy savings. $5500 a year would be saved simply by changing to a more appropriate energy tariff;.$12,000 a year could be saved by replacing lighting on the company’s 3 sites with light emitting diodes (LEDs). Even air conditioning bills could be reduced, either via stronger air-curtains or automatic doors (a potential saving of $11,500 per annum). The company acted quickly, and has already begun making savings.
Cantilever Interiors, a Victorian firm of furniture designers and makers, has long had an environmentally-focussed product offering. Customer demand drove the change to using ‘greener’ product made with sustainable materials in their furniture. In their own premises metal halide lamps and light emitting diodes (LEDs) lighting were installed, they are more efficient than incandescent globes and have a longer life-span, reducing landfill. New insulation was installed, nullifying any need for heating and cooling. A new more efficient air compressor was installed.
At Carlton’s Café Lua, a local program helped inspire a range of sustainability improvements. These include switching to compostable take away cups, installing water-saving tap aerators, installing energy-efficient lighting and installing louvre windows for ventilation – a move which reduces the need for energy intensive air conditioning.
At Northcote’s Café Koula, changing the lighting has led to changing the atmosphere in the busy café. Compact fluorescents replaced 105 watt metal halides, giving an equivalent light while using less energy, and improving light in the café’s work areas. A produce garden is popular with families, and waste is fed to local chickens or in a retrofitted worm farm. Financially, the business has saved $140 a year electricity and maintenance costs, while reducing its greenhouse emissions.
At sustainable architecture practice Breathe Architecture, the company applies the principles it uses to help clients create buildings with lighter footprints to its own office. Insulation, fans and smart design of window placement draw cool air in and push hot air out, negating the need for air conditioning. Amongst other things: second-hand furniture and fittings save money and carbon emissions, and staff are given a sustainability induction to discuss these and other measures in place.
The not-for-profit organisation, Arts Project Australia, provides an inner city studio and gallery to nurture and promote artists with an intellectual disability. Owning the building makes environment actions even more compelling, so when an audit helped clarify priorities, the organisation got started. It installed double-glazed and operable windows, replaced halogens with light emitting diodes (LEDs), and switched power companies. Their first bill after the changes was $1200 less than usual.
When the Alto Hotel was built in 2006, sustainability features were built into the design. Today, the hotel achieves outstanding savings in energy, waste and water use. While these features added approximately $450,000 to the $5 million build, savings on electricity, water, gas and chemicals are estimated at $50,000 per annum, and creates a point of different for customers.
At the Albion Budget Supermarket in Brunswick West Melbourne a public event helped provide funds for sustainability improvements. Called a ‘Carrotmob’, this event promises businesses a ‘mob’ of consumers in exchange for the business owner spending some of that additional revenue on sustainability improvements. The $700 raised at this event covered the cost of replacing half the supermarkets existing lights with more efficient T5 fluorescent tubes. In turn, that has saved the owners money. The supermarket is on track to save over $600 in electricity costs every year.
Newcastle French Hot Bread, a busy bakery and café in Newcastle in NSW, used an action plan to gradually implement the improvements suggested by a local energy assessor. Changes included maintenance and repair of seals on oven doors, using an off-peak timer for the electric hot water system, and separating lights to different circuits, allowing for zoning. A bill analysis also showed they’d been overcharged by their energy retailer: working via the Ombudsman recovered the business $30,000.
Keech Australia has been designing and manufacturing high integrity steel castings for almost 80 years. Its carbon reduction strategy, started in 2010 aims, to reduce Keech’s carbon intensity but up to 30%, improve yield and competitiveness, and reduce productivity costs by 20%. This case study details the changes Keech Australia has made to meet these goals.