Practical Solutions Deliver 40 per cent Energy Savings and Cash Rebate

Nine months after championing a detailed energy retrofit at 89 York Street in Sydney CBD, National Sustainability Engineer David Odd proudly presented a cash rebate cheque back to building owners Fife Capital - It’s not every day you get money back from a Government initiative!

1 Aug 2013


Project delivery was on time and with minimal tenant disruption. To date the savings have exceeded our expectations –

Matt Dingwell, Investment Manager, Fife Capital

Only one of a suite of energy reducing practical solutions championed by AE Smith at the high-rise commercial property; the lighting retrofit saw building owner Fife Capital qualify for the NSW Government Energy Savings Scheme (ESS). This scheme sees building owners receive an upfront cash rebate equivalent of up to 10 years of carbon emission reductions on initiatives that qualify. Working with trusted certified providers, AE Smith’s David Odd organised and hand delivered the rebate cheque to the happy customer.

As AE Smith’s primary sustainability engineer and Accredited NABERS Assessor, David Odd has the very important responsibility of helping customers reduce their energy costs and apply for government grants and funding opportunities.

David’s most recent success story is 89 York Street, Sydney. Working closely with AE Smith’s NSW Team and AE Smith Building Technologies, David recommended and implemented a solution that has seen energy usage at the 89 York Street property reduce by an impressive 40%, averaged over the first nine months since implementation. That’s double the 20% guarantee AE Smith promised the client, Fife Capital. Impressively, the total cost of the project will be recouped in energy savings in just over two years.

Matt Dingwall, Investment Manager for Fife Capital said of the project, “Project delivery was on time and with minimal tenant disruption. To date the savings have exceeded our expectations”. Keeping tenants comfortable throughout the project ensured the client maintained their occupancy level and rental income.

Much more than just air conditioning:

David Odd has been implementing sustainable solutions for AE Smith clients for 5 years. He was first attracted to AE Smith because of its long standing reputation and leading approach to energy efficiency and design. When asked what he likes most about working with AE Smith, David responded, “We do what we say we are going to do. We can provide guarantees and we’ve always met them.”

This is in no small part due to David’s holistic approach to sustainability, which is enabled, and executable because of AE Smith’s multidiscipline range of services. “We’re not tied to any particular technology, so we’re not just trying to sell a particular product. The right solution is the one that’s best for the customer,” says David.

He added, “Importantly, we don’t just focus on the air conditioning system – we look at the whole building. This may include window glazing, insulation and lighting, right through to fuel substitution and solar power. We look to find ways to reduce overall load on the heating & cooling system because they contribute up to 70% of the energy use in a building.”

Grey and green colour column graph showing the dramatic difference in base building energy consumption before and after implementing AE Smith energy saving measures at 89 York Street.

Take the time to find the right outcome:

Finding the right sustainable solutions for 89 York Street Sydney began with listening to the client’s needs. “The brief was to save energy in order to reduce the outgoing costs for tenants,’ said David. “Some clients have concerns that a sustainable approach will compromise comfort, or that they’ll outlay a lot of money and not see the return. We always take the time to explain our approach and get all stakeholders onboard at the outset.”

At the commencement of the 89 York Street project an Energy Opportunity Study was conducted. This identified all the areas in the building where energy wastage was occurring. An Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) was then prepared outlining each recommended initiative, detailing the cost and the anticipated energy savings of each initiative. David commented on the ESP, “We align the solution with the overall financial plan of the building. It has to be practical and make sense financially to the client.”

With the air conditioning units upgraded in 2009, many of the recommendations focused on ensuring overall system efficiency. The current HVAC control system was in need of an upgrade so AE Smith Building Technologies supplied, programmed and commissioned a new Tridium Building Management System. Taking advantage of the more sophisticated system now in place the Sydney AE Smith team, led by Project Manager, John Michelakis completed mechanical works such as installing modulating controls. This ensured that the electric duct heaters, cooling tower fans and pumps accurately matched the required load.

Other installation work included a carbon monoxide monitoring system to control car park ventilation and inefficient lighting, such as halogen and T8 fluorescent lights were replaced. In low traffic areas, such as in toilets, lift lobbies and the car park, PIR motion detectors were installed to turn lights on only when needed. Finally, AE Smith rebalanced all the air and water systems across the building. In addition to huge energy savings, this improved tenant comfort levels.

Access to energy saving government grants:

The lighting retrofit saw Fife Capital qualify for the NSW Government Energy Savings Scheme (ESS). This scheme sees building owners receive an upfront cash rebate equivalent of up to 10 years of carbon emission reductions on initiatives that qualify. Working with trusted certified providers, AE Smith organised and hand delivered the rebate cheque to the client.

With a seemingly endless list of outstanding project deliverables, one of David’s final comments was unexpected. “The savings are even better than you’d expect because the client added another floor to the building, equivalent to an additional 7% tenanted floor space after the original energy audit. So, with more space, using more power, we still managed to deliver double the guaranteed energy savings.”

To ensure AE Smith’s clients, like Fife Capital, realise the savings, energy levels on the property are being monitored for the first 12 months. The AE Smith maintenance team will then incorporate sustainable practices into their ongoing service routines to ensure the savings achieved continue for many years to come.

When asked what he was proudest about on this project, David explains, “To achieve such a large reduction in energy without disruption to tenants was a fantastic result. We took the time to hear what was important to the customer and then we delivered on that.”

David Odd will be speaking about AE Smith’s practical solutions for alternative maintenance and monitoring at the Retrofit & Refurb Conference in Sydney this September.

Retrofit Results – 89 York Street, Sydney

Energy reduction of 40% – double the AE Smith project guarantee
Energy saving value will equal project cost in 2.1 years
Client maintained occupancy levels and rental income
Tenants happy with the upgrade
Project qualified for NSW Government Energy Savings Scheme
Energy savings are equivalent to taking 160 cars a year off the road

Signs of a building in need of a retrofit:

Older buildings where pumps and fans operate at constant speed
The air conditioning control systems are old and unreliable
Air conditioning systems poorly commissioned
Tenants are complaining of temperature irregularities such as hot or cold spots
The building owner is experiencing rental churn because of high energy costs
Lighting is T8 fluorescent or halogen
Lighting is constantly ‘on’ in places of intermittent use such as toilets, car parks and fire stairs