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Museums Victoria to slash energy costs by one-third with co-gen, efficiency

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A Victorian-government funded program to install rooftop co-generation, and other energy and water saving measures throughout the buildings of Museums Victoria is expected to cut the organisation’s energy costs by nearly one-third.

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The $11 million project will be undertaken by global engineering firm Siemens, which was chosen for the job by the Labor Andrews government’s Greener Government Buildings program.

Siemens will install LED lighting and ultra-efficient chillers and water systems throughout the organisation – including the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, the Exhibition Building, Scienceworks and two storage facilities – as well as a co-generation unit on the roof of the Melbourne Museum.

All up, the project is expected to reduce Museum Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent, cut water usage by 6 per cent, and reduce electricity costs by 32 per cent.

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Museums Victoria, which is Australia’s largest public museums organisation, is expected to repay the cost of the project within seven years using its savings on energy.

The project marks another small step towards the Andrews government’s target of net zero emissions for the state by 2050, which was written into law just last week with the successful passage of the Climate Change Bill.

State finance minister Robin Scott said it would make a “real difference – not just for the environmental benefits, but proving there are ways we can think outside the box and work together to achieve environmental targets.”

The state is also targeting 25 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025, and to that end has just this week launched its first large-scale solar auction, the 75MW Solar Certificate Tender.  

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  • Ren Stimpy

    Another benefit is the demand/load that is taken off the grid, which will ultimately lead to savings on grid infrastructure by eliminating the need for ‘gold plating’. If every large building installed LED lighting and ultra-efficient chillers there would a huge amount less load on the grid at all times. Every bit of load reduction counts on hot days where there is high demand, and this is the very best type of load reduction which doesn’t require the consumer to give up anything – they can light up and chill out the same as always.

    • Jonathan Prendergast

      Agree. Rob Murray-Leach explains it really well in this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kuLPds-_M8

      • Ren Stimpy

        Thanks, and spot on.

    • Alastair Leith

      Plus DSM.

      • Ren Stimpy

        Yes agree.

        I think the best DSM would be non-loss DSM, such as if say a million homes had battery storage, when demand on the grid gets up to peak and puts the n/w at risk then remotely switch some or many of those homes, depending on their individual storage available, to temporarily use their own battery storage to take a large amount of load off the grid. Without any loss to anyone’s personal electricity requirements.

        LED lighting and efficient appliances/systems I would categorise as Always-On-DSM.

  • Ben Courtice

    Seriously? Co-gen? Locking in gas burning, now? Co-generation (or even tri-generation) is significantly less efficient than heat pump based HVAC, which can be run on solar for example. Bad move, Vic government, to fund this second-rate technology.

    • Alastair Leith

      Agree. At BZE we showed City of Sydney the folly of the $1 million they spent designing and promoting a precinct power scheme that would have been reliant on digging up their entire CBD to run hot water pipes and force property owners to give up space in their car parks for new chillers in addition to the ones on the rooftops which had to stay. Thankfully most of that mis-investment led by internal cogen/trigen marketer Alan Jones sunk without a trace.

  • Alastair Leith

    “Siemens will install LED lighting and ultra-efficient chillers and water systems throughout the organisation”

    This part is good. EE is great, locking in fossil gas infrastructure is short sighted.