Significant savings made at holiday resort, thanks to EcoXpert

by FM Media
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With private residences, retail outlets and holiday accommodation, the Cumberland Lorne Resort is a well-established tourism destination, located along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.

Overseeing the different tenancies at the site is the Cumberland Lorne owners’ corporation. They manage the public areas of the site, such as car parks, walkways and a conference centre, as well as energy purchasing and distribution through an embedded network.

The private embedded (electricity) network operates on the understanding that larger energy users are able to better negotiate electricity costs than smaller energy users are. The embedded network is created with the use of a parent meter, which is installed between the incoming supply and the main switchboard.

Subsequent meters are then installed after the switchboard to keep track of the energy usage of each tenant. Electricity bills are issued from the owners’ corporation to the tenants at regular intervals. This set-up means the tenants benefit from having an energy rate that is lower than the retail cost, and the owners benefit by having an additional revenue stream from the building.

The problem

With the contract for the existing embedded network coming to an end, the electricity rate that was being offered to the tenants was not considered to be competitive.

Peter Gestos, EcoXpert – Energy Adviser from JMS Automation, suggested to the owners’ corporation that an embedded network be investigated with a new rate negotiated and Schneider Electric energy meters installed in place of the incumbent system. As well as being tied to the unsatisfactory electricity network, the existing meters were not suitable as each month a member of the owners’ corporation was required to manually visit each of the 135 meters, installed across five switch rooms, and record the energy usage of each one. This process was both time consuming and open to human error.

Block E's original set-up.

Block E’s original set-up.

Peter also put forward a proposal to carry out an energy audit at the site to determine whether any further energy savings could be made in the areas that were wholly under the control of the owners’ corporation.

Possible savings revealed

The audit revealed several areas where immediate action could be taken to reduce energy usage and costs. Of particular interest to Peter was an anomaly on the resort’s electricity bill that showed a spike in the energy usage at the site of 750kW during a summer period when usually the energy usage was around 450kW. This spike resulted in the supplier ensuring this level of supply was always available, and therefore a higher electricity rate was being charged.

In the conference facility, the energy audit highlighted the need for a lighting upgrade. Peter removed the energy-hungry, heat-creating halogen lights and installed LED lighting in its place. This has had a two-fold effect, not just reducing the energy usage of the lights themselves, but also reducing the level of air conditioning required to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

The solution

Using a combination of Schneider Electric iEM 3155 and iEM 3255 meters, Peter created a system that could monitor and record the amount of energy used by the individual tenants. The 3155 meters provide a direct connection to the 63 amp and the 3255 meters are connected to the CT for the bigger supplies. The meters were DIN-rail mounted allowing for relatively quick installation. Peter then connected these to the Schneider Electric iRIO energy management controller through five EGX100 gateways, which allowed the meters to be monitored remotely, anywhere an internet connection is available.

Block E's after the installation of Schneider Electric systems.

Block E’s after the installation of Schneider Electric systems.

Now, instead of having to manually record each meter, the owners’ corporation can easily trigger a report via the iRIO controller which can be provided to them in a CSV file format and then used for sub-billing purposes.

The meters also allow the owners’ corporation to manage their maximum electricity demand, so they will not inadvertently go beyond their standard 450kW usage. Load shedding will be implemented if the power usage goes beyond a certain level.

Bottom line

“By being able to see where and how the energy is being used, the owners’ corporation can call to action load shedding in certain areas if it is required,” Peter says. “Being able to see what we are doing has given us much more control. The project has delivered a lot of benefits for all parties.”

“The skills that I have learnt by being part of Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert program certainly gave me the confidence to carry out the audit and complete the work required in this area. As a result of this project, I now have the confidence to approach other buildings and look at how I can help them save energy and money too.”

5 Typical panel with 8 meters

“The project was really well handled and well staged so that there was minimal disruption to any individuals or the owners’ corporation. Peter is an excellent operator and he kept us informed about the project’s progress and our potential savings all the way through,” Lee Gordon, resort manager at Cumberland Lorne Resort says.

“Aside from the significant savings, the new system has achieved (around 30 percent), it is much more reliable than what we were using previously and the remote monitoring is very convenient. Having visibility of our energy usage also allows us to consider ongoing savings for the future. It is an excellent system.”

Peter hopes that with such good results, individual tenants at the resort may also want an energy audit completed at their business to help them save energy and money.

Click here for more information on Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert program

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