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Improving Energy Efficiency at Council

Council aims to be a leader in the use of new energy efficient technologies. Local businesses, community groups and households can learn from Council's experiences and potentially invest in these technologies as well, thereby reducing their energy costs and CO2 emissions. Council has recently installed several energy reduction technologies:

Ammonia based chiller

While Ammonia based chillers have been used in industrial refrigeration applications for many years, the system installed at Council's Administration Centre is the first example of this technology being used to supply office air conditioning in Australia. The technology provides three cost and environmental savings:

  • By using Ammonia, a so called 'natural refrigerant', rather than conventional Freon refrigerants, the system avoids high supply costs usually assoicated with refrigerants,
  • The system is highly energy efficient with a coefficient of performance of 5.79, radically reducing energy costs, and 
  • Any ammonia leaking from the system will have no global warming impact as opposed to Freons which have a large global warming impact.

Solar PV

Council has invested heavily in solar PV in recent years, installing 16 systems. More details on Council's solar PV systems are available on Council's solar PV webpage.

Energy efficient lighting

The lighting in numerous Council facilities has been upgraded using more energy efficient technologies. For example, as part of the wholesale refurbishment of sections of Council's Administration Centre, the previous double T8 fluorescent light fittings were replaced primarily with single T5 fluorescent fittings, resulting in up to a 65% reduction in electricity consumption per fitting.

Dichroic halogen down lights were also once common in Council buildings. These have now either been replaced with LED down lights or are in the process of being replaced. The latest generation LEDs offer comparable light levels but use around 70% less electricity. They also have significantly longer life spans meaning that savings in maintenance costs can be achieved in addition to the electricity cost savings.

Both of these technologies have recently been installed at the Beenleigh Events Centre and Beenleigh Library.

Variable speed drive pumps

Council has connected a number of its water pumps to Variable Speed Drives (VSD). These allow the pumps to only work at the level that is required, rather than either at 100% power or entirely off. A pump running at 80% load will use only 50% of the electricity of full load operation; thus energy savings are made.

Voltage reduction

On certain pieces of equipment only, voltage reduction can be a good a way to reduce electricity consumption. Older fluorescent light fittings with magnetic ballasts are one such piece of equipment, particularly where existing light levels are higher than required. Voltage reduction equipment was installed in the gym at AquaLogan Springwood. In this case the energy consumption of the lights was reduced by around 30% yet light output reduced by only 15%.

Hot water systems

With the help of the Federal Government under the Local Government Energy Efficiency Program (LGEEP) Council replaced many of its old mains electric storage hot water systems with highly energy efficient solar hot water systems or heat pump hot water systems. By using the heat of the sun as their primary energy source, these require far less electricity from the grid. A total of 22 systems across 13 Council owned facilities were installed.

Street and park lighting

With the help of the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Council has replaced the existing public lighting at thirteen locations across the city with compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs.

Stadium lighting

The stadium lighting at the Cornubia Insports Centre and the Mount Warren Sports Centre has recently been replaced with LEDs. These save on electricity costs plus their hardy design combined with the long life span of LED technology is providing further maintenance cost savings.

Pool blankets

Pool blankets are utilised where applicable on Council operated pools. They help to retain heat and therefore reduce water heating requirements.