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Measuring energy efficiency

MIRVAC is an integrated real estate group with activities across the invest ment and development spectrum. In addition to its own initia tives, the group is subject to a number of climate change related regulatory schemes, including various state and federal building codes. Mirvac was able to extend its existing energy efficiency program and meet government require ments, as stipulated by the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) Act.

Along with the EEO, Mirvac follows the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), a performance based rating system for existing buildings, which is a national initiative managed by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.

NABERS rates a commercial office, hotel or residential building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment, and provides a simple indication of how well the site is managing these environmental impacts compared with others.

Buildings under the Mirvac portfolio have a measurable impact on the envi ronment. Because of this, Mirvac has set up a sustainability team to monitor and recommend strategies for the develop ment of climate sensitive buildings.

By doing so, Mirvac will be able to make the most of its resources and deliver the best impact for climate sensi tive buildings, and ensure efficient oper ation of Mirvac’s assets.

Part of the team’s responsibilities include monitoring and identifying necessary changes to the way energy is used to provide lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation, as well as moni toring water use, waste management, air quality, impact on local biodiversity, and on toxic materials that may be present in Mirvac buildings. To achieve this, the Mirvac sustainability team established a national energy audit program that complies with the EEO Act and is recog nised by NABERS.

Before Adrian Michaels, sustainability manager and Steve Zinga, sustainability engineer for the Mirvac sustainability team can monitor energy usage and effi ciency; they must first set up a bench mark of energy usage within a building. The team uses this benchmark to compare with future data, and to verify that the building is operating at maximum efficiency levels and to ensure future recommendations work.

For Michaels and his crew, data helps the sustainability team analyse exactly what takes place in a building. Zinga said: “We monitor all energy usage against this initial baseline and compare it to results after 12 months, to see if energy usage has decreased. This is an on-going process for the Mirvac sustain ability team. We need to constantly improve a building’s efficiency to prop erly plan for a building’s future.”

To help accurately measure the power usage of its sites, Mirvac chose the Fluke 1735 Power Logger for its ability to conduct energy studies and power quality logging. The Power Logger can be ready within seconds, using the included flexible current probes and colour display.

The power quality meter can measure a building’s electrical power parameters, harmonics, as well as capture voltage events. “We needed a high performing, quality tool that could keep up with our needs and offer accurate readings, which in turn will affect any decisions we make to our buildings’ energy usage. Fluke 1735 Power Logger did just that and more.”

Designed to measure the most critical three-phase power parameters, the Fluke 1735 can log rms voltage, rms current, phase angle, voltage events, voltage and current THD, voltage and current harmonics up to the 50th, active power, reactive power, power factor, active energy, reactive energy, and more.

With memory for up to 45 days of data, the Fluke 1735 can uncover inter mittent or hard-to-find issues. The four current probes are connected with one plug; the instrument automatically detects, scales and powers the probes, making this product very easy to use. These variable range current probes are easily set to 15A, 150A, or 3000A for high accuracy in nearly any application.

The voltage connections are single leads, enabling easy and quick setups. The colour screen provides instant confirma tion that connections are correct, and then logging begins when the Record button is pressed. The energy assessment capability in the Fluke 1735 Power Logger quantifies energy consumption before and after improvements.

This functionality will help Mirvac’s management team justify investments in energy saving devices within a building. Zinga says that the ability to monitor loads helps Mirvac optimise the effi ciency of buildings by verifying electrical system capacity before adding loads.

Energy and power quality assessment used to validate performance of facility improvements can be quantified by energy consumption, power factor, and general power quality, before and after improvements.

“As we have rolled out our energy auditing programme across the property portfolio, the Fluke 1735 is a key tool to identify energy saving opportunities,” said Michaels.

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