The Gem Energy Approach – A 3 Way Approach
At Gem Energy our ‘3 Way Approach’ is a method we adopt when analyzing the needs of our customers and developing and implementing a strategy around those needs. We have seen the hard evidence that this approach works and saves our customers money in the short term and long term.
- Analyse, Assess and Understand.
This is the first step we take with our customers when assessing their needs. The first things we establish are:
- What hours does the business operate?
- Is there a need for hot water at the property? If so, is it Gas or Electric?
- Are there a lot of lights used at the property?
- Is there an adequate amount of roof space for the required system?
- And most importantly, can we obtain a load profile or interval data?
Once we have obtained this information we can get a good understanding of when and how the power is being used. We can also assess our options in order to develop a structured cost saving strategy.
- A Cost Saving Approach.
Once we have identified and understood the power consumption profile of the business we can then look at our wide range of solutions to see if we can implement any of these as a cost saving method. The key focus of Stage 2 is to see what we can do to reduce the amount of power being used at the property. In doing this we can effectively reduce the power bill immediately and thus reduce the size of the system required to tackle the power bill.
Our most common solutions include:
- LED Lighting – This is generally the first thing we recommend every business to consider before an investment into solar for a variety of reasons. Not only do they offer improved reliability and longer life spans they don’t produce heat like the standard halogen or fluro lights which means that air conditioning units don’t have to work so hard thus making an immediate saving on power consumption. Furthermore, and most importantly, LEDs can save up to 80% on power usage compared to a standard light. In the cases of most businesses the most popular light we replace is a 4 foot Philips fluro tube light that uses 36 watts of electricity per hour with a brighter LED 4ft tube that only uses 18 watts per hour. This immediately halves the cost of the lighting for all tube lights and better still it effectively reduces the demand charge as lights have fixed power consumption so every watt saved on lighting reduces the demand charge by that many watts. As demand charges can exceed $33 per kWh this can lead to LED’s having an extremely fast payback period (sometimes less than 6 months).
- Timer Switches – The installation of these units allows you to control when power is going to those circuits. Using timer switches on certain circuits can also greatly improve the savings from very little cost. A great example here would be rooms or areas that only require light or power for one of 2 hours per day. We have seen some businesses put certain operations areas on timers for lunch breaks. They can also be effectively used on hot water systems to stop them cycling at night time when nobody is there using the hot water etc.
- Solar Hot Water or Heat Pumps – This is usually only viable for businesses that use a lot of water that needs heating like hotels, motels and restaurants. Once you reach a certain amount of hot water usage solar hot water systems pay for themselves very quickly.
By the time we get to Implementation stage we have a perfect understanding of the usage patterns of the business and how we can tackle the issues in the most cost effective way possible.
A large amount of our competitors go straight to the solar option and put on a system to cover your problem but at Gem Energy we believe that fixing the problem where possible should be the first point of call. Of course this can lead to a smaller investment for our clients into solar but it provides better long term results and due to our wide range of services we are able to build a trusting relationship with repeat clients.
By reducing the amount of fixed power being used at the property by 20% that simply leads to a capital saving of 20%. That capital saving can be used to fund the other cost saving solutions. This may still end up being a similar amount to what was originally budgeted or what our competitors are quoting but our solutions are simply far better and offer a real solution to the problem, we don’t just cover it up.
We also install extensive monitoring equipment so we have direct access to the power usage and solar system performance at all times which allows us to provide on-going support once the system has been fully commissioned.