Thursday, June 13, 2013

Alice Springs’ largest electricity user gets energy efficiency overhaul

The largest single electricity user in Alice Springs, the Alice Springs Hospital (ASH) has completed a major energy efficiency overhaul to save over $200,000 on its annual power bill and 700 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum.

The savings have been realised through a joint $631,000 project between the NT Department of Health and Alice Solar City, with outcomes released in a case study report today.

“In addition to making big savings, the project has helped inform and motivate energy management initiatives at the other four public hospitals in the Northern Territory”, says Alice Solar City General Manager Sam Latz.

“ASH had a detailed energy audit in 2009 and we have been pleased to work closely with the hospital since then to assist them achieve the greatest financial and environmental returns possible.”

At the time of the audit it was found that 57% of electricity was used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and 24% for lighting.

One of the most important changes made was to the HVAC system, where outside air brought into the hospital was evaporatively ‘pre-cooled’.

“This allows evaporatively cooled and filtered outside air to condition the hospital during mild conditions - substantially improving indoor air quality and reducing the use of energy intensive refrigerative air conditioning.”

Stage two of the project saw the HVAC system fine-tuned to allow for further energy savings, and Stage three saw the upgrade of an existing gas fired boiler to improve the efficiency of the hospital’s piped steam system, used to pump steam around the hospital for a range of heating and sterilisation uses.

Other energy efficiency measures included:

 ·       Evaporative pre-cooling of the nurse quarters and re-instating economy cycles

·       Winding back air conditioning in the pathology laboratory after hours

·       Installation of motion sensors and time delay switches for split system air conditioners in 16 residential units

·       Replacement of electric hot water heaters in residential units with solar hot water

·       Installation of automatic lighting controls in the pathology laboratory

·       Variable speed drives on staff swimming pool pumps

·       Installation of 160 low flow showerheads to save both water and the energy required to heat water

 Health Minister Robyn Lambley commended the team at Alice Solar City and Alice Springs Hospital on their achievements through the energy efficiency project.

“The Alice Springs Hospital Energy Efficiency Project has been a model in cooperation in the Centre between government, industry and community. The result is an impressive reduction in the energy consumption of the town’s biggest energy user which means savings for the community,” Minister Lambley said.

The full Alice Springs Hospital Energy Efficiency report is available on the Alice Solar City website at

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