November 2017

What is smart energy?


While not all consumers will be aware of the term ‘smart energy’, there’s no doubt they’ve all heard of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. Australia’s ongoing energy debate, while often politicised, has seen smart energy’s profile rise to the level of household recognition.
Rising energy costs and increasing consumer frustration means that households and businesses alike are turning to smart energy solutions providers which can help to lower their energy costs, reduce their reliance on the grid, and reduce their impact on the environment.

Smart energy explained

Smart energy incorporates renewable energy supply with conscientious power usage to provide cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions. For businesses to become smart energy savvy, their entire approach to energy must be geared towards smart solutions. This means that simply installing a solar power system is not the panacea it is sometimes imagined to be. A tailored solution, which often requires an overhaul of energy management systems, infrastructure and equipment is needed to ensure that the entire energy cycle is ‘smart.’
Whether provided by a solar system, a cogeneration system, or even by the grid, businesses can improve on their energy costs by incorporating systems which make the best use of their energy source. Old and tired HVAC systems, heat and bio waste, inefficient lighting and even refrigeration, heating and cooling all represent the potential for energy savings.
Examples of smart energy solutions include:

  • CHP/CHCP or ‘combined heating and power’ or ‘combined heating, cooling and power’
  • HVAC upgrades (heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
  • Energy storage solutions
  • Lighting upgrades
  • Metering, monitoring and data management
  • Smart meters
  • Renewable energy
  • Thermal systems
  • And more…

Why smart energy?

Businesses face increasing energy prices, and more often than not in 2017, shrinking margins. Controlling energy costs is vital to business success. Furthermore, making the best use of equipment, and ensuring its longevity will assist businesses to run efficiently and profitably.
Simply installing a solar power system, while it will reduce energy costs, will not ensure that your business has sufficient power to fuel its operations. Knowing when and how a business’ power is used by its equipment and infrastructure is key to ensuring the effective use of its energy source. Smart energy solutions, like HVAC upgrades which increase the longevity of the system while improving its efficiency, can save thousands of dollars in maintenance, energy costs and even equipment upgrades.
Smart energy solutions can result in:
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Reduced labour costs
  • Reduced equipment costs
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Improved business performance
  • Improved community sentiment

The Australian state and federal governments are eager to see businesses undertake smart energy upgrades, and provide a range of incentives to help bear the cost burden of such improvements. ESCs or ‘energy savings certificates’ can offset the cost of smart energy upgrades for businesses, and reduce the impact of the associated costs on the bottom line.
The Smart Business Hub case study files showcase many examples of businesses who have benefited from the ESC program. Smart energy upgrades not only result in cost savings, but help to build resilience against rising energy prices and unpredictable grid power.

Coal is dead, and gas is on its way

 Coal has long been recognised as a depleting energy source and changes need to be made to our energy consumption, as a nation, in order to protect against an energy crisis in the absence of coal. As Australia’s mining boom draws to a close, and international energy markets turn away from coal, it is clear that investment in renewable energy sources is critical to both economic and social development around the globe.
Coal-fired power stations are closing at a rapid rate, as investment in this once-secure commodity dwindles. Britain hopes to fully phase-out coal use by 2025, and the United States’ coal production is at its lowest rate since 1978. Furthermore, even developing nations, which Australia has relied on for our enormous export market, are moving away from coal.
Gas, it seems, is soon to follow coal’s lead in becoming a redundant energy source. Recent headlines have cried out against the lack of gas available to Australian homes and businesses, as we continue to export our gas in great quantities. This finite resource will soon too be out of reach for many Australians.
In over 30 countries around the world, solar and wind power are already as affordable, if not more affordable, than traditional energy sources even without subsidies. Even countries like India and China, whose developing economies have relied heavily on coal, are calling a halt to new investments in coal power plants. It’s clear that we’re likely to see a completely renewable energy-driven future, within our lifetimes.

How to make the move to smart energy

Businesses around Australia are already taking advantage of the smart energy movement. Our Smart Business Hub solutions providers provide countless examples of their smart energy case studies, and the incredible impact that these have had on businesses just like yours.
Providing tailored solutions to fit any size of operation, or budget, Smart Business Hub solutions providers deliver turn-key smart energy systems which can see your business reducing energy costs, saving on maintenance, and more. Take a look at our case studies here, and find out just how your business could benefit from a smart energy solution. 

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