Opal Aged Care takes a shine to solar

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OPAL Aged Care is embarking on one of the biggest energy efficiency programs in the aged care sector, by proposing to install over 10,500 solar panels and 28,000 energy efficient LED lights at 54 properties, which will reduce its reliance on grid electricity by up to 42%.

The energy efficiency program is being managed by leading energy services business Verdia at aged care homes across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

The solar panels will be enough to cover 78 double tennis courts or 43 average suburban blocks.

The program will cut onsite grid electricity use by about 42%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% or 6,872 tonnes CO2, which is the equivalent of taking 2,109 cars off the road and powering 727 homes.

As part of the project, Verdia completed a series of trials at several properties to test technology and lighting quality.

In just one facility, the measures will help reduce electricity costs at Opal’s Macquarie Place aged care home by about $53,000 a year, including the reduced lighting maintenance costs. The initial investment for the program will pay itself off in just over five years.

Verdia CEO Paul Peters said said the lighting improvements would also produce better energy performance and was being delivered by teams of contractors working across three states.

“About 80 electricians, installers and manufacturers are helping to deliver the program over six to nine months. It means that project benefits are delivered sooner.

“There is a very big focus on quality and safety, but we’re still able to accelerate the program and deliver results in a short timeframe,”

Peters said about 35% of total energy consumption at a typical aged care facility is used for lighting.

“We’ll reduce the amount of energy consumed via more efficient LED technology and we are also helping Opal produce more of the electricity they require on-site via solar PV.

“All up we expect to cut electricity use by about 42% across the 54 residential homes. That’s a very good environmental outcome, but it’s also helping to improve the operational efficiency of each facility.” Peters concluded.

Australian Property Journal

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