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How to create an energy-efficient office building

By Andy HeepsDecember 15, 2015Emissions

Energy use across Australia is changing, and many of the country's businesses are investigating ways to reduce their costs and carbon emissions, resulting in greener operating practices. 

Energy use is on the rise for Australian businesses.

Many organisations believe they are limited to receiving power from the grid only and don't realise that off-grid solutions such as microturbines are drastically changing the way they consume electricity. 

According to the Department of Industry and Science, while energy use is falling in the residential sector, it's on the rise for businesses in a number of industries. In these cases, it's up to individual organisations to pursue the technology solutions likely to make the most noticeable difference to their energy consumption. 

What drives enterprise energy use?

The Energy Efficiency Exchange (EEX) investigated the technologies and operating practices that use the most electricity in the country's commercial and services sector. The organisation found that the areas where businesses can save the most include those that are always in use.

One of the key examples provided is lighting, an essential part of any office building and an area that EEX estimates could be made up to 40 per cent more efficient. Businesses that don't attempt to remedy this with either improved lighting structures or onsite power generation solutions risk spending much more than necessary while also growing their carbon footprint. 

EEX also discovered that heating and cooling costs are some of the most demanding for businesses to manage. In a country such as Australia, where temperatures are known to skyrocket over summer, it's little surprise that these concerns continue to challenge energy efficiency

Rising temperatures will challenge energy use. Rising temperatures will challenge energy use.

Onsite microturbines can greatly reduce energy consumption in this area or eliminate it entirely. The process of cogeneration allows for free heating in some cases. To do this, the system uses waste heat from the energy generation process to alter the temperature throughout a building or in its water system. 

This also provides a much needed fixed cost in an area where changing temperatures and weather effects can make it difficult to manage power security. 

The Capstone difference

Optimal Group is the Australian distributor of Capstone microturbine energy generators, technology which has already proven itself in Australia's trying conditions. 

Unlike most forms of onsite cogeneration technologies, Microturbines are modular and flexible, meaning they can adapt to changing energy demands of a building through the years.

Currently, two new office buildings in Melbourne are having their energy supply augmented with Microturbines to make them more energy efficient and reduce reliance on grid power, adding to the twenty six already operating in Melbourne's CBD. The installation will be used for heating and cooling in order to mitigate the costs and carbon emissions of this process. 

To find out how microturbines can make a difference to the cost of powering your business, contact the team at Optimal Group.