COOLmob Chats: COOLmob Commercial has launched!

COOLmob Commercial has just launched and we sat down with Matt Hoogland, the Commercial Energy Consultant to hear all about it.  

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I live in Darwin with my partner Emma, and I enjoy playing the guitar.  

I started my career at Exergy Australia in Canberra in 2007, which only had about five employees at the time. We quickly grew alongside a booming industry, which Dr Paul Bannister, owner of Exergy, was one of the driving forces.  

I moved to Melbourne in 2010 to start-up the Melbourne Exergy office and our team gradually grew to around 10 people.  We were doing interesting work; tuning some of Melbourne’s most prominent commercial buildings to perform at the highest level on the NABERS rating scale, as well as conducting energy audits in numerous industrial-manufacturing sites around Victoria.  I really enjoy working on large scale mechanical systems like chilled water, refrigeration, steam and extraction systems.   

When did you make the move to Darwin? 

In 2018, I finally called it quits on the only job I‘d had in the first 10 years of my career.  In 2014, Exergy had been acquired by ASX-listed Energy Action and when my partner, Emma, had a job opportunity come up in Darwin, we pounced on it.  We were both excited to get back up to the Territory after a 2016 Darwin-to-Broome road trip, and I’m now looking forward to collaborating with new people in the NT energy efficiency industry.      

It’s so hot up here, meaning that most businesses pump the A/C! What excites you most about  auditing in Darwin?  

I look forward to great paybacks for solar PV and air-conditioning measures! As a technical challenge, I’m looking forward to working on optimisation for active dehumidification systems and temperature/flow control strategies in a mould-risk environment.     

Can you break down a commercial audit for us?  

An energy audit is the first step towards driving energy performance improvement.  The audit will identify and detail a range of energy saving measures with associated capital costs, energy savings, emissions reduction and paybacks.  It is an engineering study and provides an understanding of the key issues for energy performance at the site, from which a strategy can be developed for improvement. 

The savings identified vary from site to site, but typically, an energy audit will be able to uncover savings of 15-20% via energy savings measures with paybacks within 2-4 years.  Further savings, up to around 50% are often available through measures that require larger investment and can be tied in with required lifecycle or refurbishment works. 

The audit looks for savings opportunities across all energy-using equipment on the site.  We like to focus on measures that make the most out of equipment that already exists, rather than replacing existing equipment with new.   

On average, how long does it take from quote to completion? 

Typically, it takes around 4 to 8 weeks, from the site visit to report delivery. The main factors that impact timing are the type of audit, the complexity of the facility and how quickly we can get the right data from energy retailers, site contractors etc. 

What are the main things you look at in an organisation? 

Everything that consumes energy is on the hit list. In some sites, such as warehouses/workshops, the lighting is going to be the main consumer. In others, such as offices/shopping centres, the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air-Conditioning) are the biggest drivers. The crux of every energy audit is the “End Use Breakdown”. This analysis shows how much energy goes where at the site and helps to direct the focus of the audit. 

Who is normally involved from an organisation? 

A few different people – usually the facilities manager or engineering manager is the main contact.  If the organisation has a sustainability manager, they are also be involved. Where relevant, it helps to bring in the contractors too, as they are the people who will be conducting the installations of any capital works. 

How important do you think it is for businesses to include their staff in energy efficiency upgrade projects? 

It depends on the scope of the opportunities available for each particular business. For some sites, a technical solution might require some behaviour change, for example an email-request system might be installed to prevent an air-compressor from running over the weekend “just-in-case”, requiring staff to plan their requirements. I like to favour technical solutions that require as little behavioural change as possible, as these have an opportunity to create savings despite behaviour.  

In saying this, COOLmob Commercial encourages all businesses to create a culture among staff of sustainability, energy and waste reduction. If staff of all levels are regularly updated on how the organistaion is performing on these measures, and encouraged to participate, they are more likely to be motivated to change their behaviours at both work and in their own homes. Introducing sustainability competitions among staff is a positive and fun way to boost education and engagement, and can even lead to employees offering ideas for future sustainability benefits.  

In a past commercial audit, have there been any crazy reductions made possible? If so, can you enlighten us? 

I was recently at a manufacturing site in NSW that has gone through a lot of changes over the past 40 years.  They had a legacy water-cooling system still in place to serve five or so ovens that was originally designed for serving over 50 ovens! The savings in redesigning it will be about 90%. It’s important for manufacturing sites to evolve with the changes that roll through their facilities. 

In the office sector, one of my favourite projects was Collins Square in Melbourne. My team and I managed to achieve total site savings of 30% without changing any of the site’s infrastructure – we simply optimised the control strategies for the HVAC systems (with the help of the controls contractor). It didn’t cost the building owner much at all, paybacks were within a year or so, and Tower 3 is now one of the best performing office buildings in Australia.  

If I would like an audit from COOLmob Commercial, what do I do? 

We’d like to know the energy consumption of your site, and after that the first step is to decide whether we’re looking at a Type 1 or Type 2 audit. 

The Types are defined by Australian Standards.  

Type 1 finds the quick win opportunities and provides general details on anything that will have a longer payback than a couple years. Type 1’s are applicable for smaller/simpler sites or complex sites only wanting a general assessment.  

Type 2 is a more detailed audit, where costs and savings figures are calculated rigorously. This is applicable for more complex sites that need more accuracy in the cost/savings figures. We can help you decide which is most applicable for your situation. 

You can start the conversation here or otherwise just give us a call.