300 solar panels and 800 new LED lights for Opal Macquarie Place

  • 100kW of solar PV
  • 300 solar panels
  • 800 LED lights
  • 38 percent reduction in energy costs
  • 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions

Energy use at Opal’s Macquarie Place residential aged care home near Newcastle in NSW will be cut by up to 25 percent and the internal and external lighting vastly improved after an 800 LED light fit out and the installation of a 100 kilowatt solar PV system.

The energy efficiency improvements are part of a program spanning 54 Opal Age Care sites across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland managed by energy services business Verdia.

The 120 bed Macquarie Place residential aged care home in Cameron Park is about ten years old and caters for permanent residents as well as respite and palliative care. The spacious facility has a well-planned interior including common rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms and living space.

However, since it opened there have been major advancements in solar PV and lighting technology and cost competitiveness, which had the potential to deliver better lighting amenity, reduce the environment impact of the facility and improve its operational efficiency.

Opal Macquarie Place, Cameron Park NSW

The new 800 LED lights and 300 rooftop solar panels were installed in June this year. The local electricity distributor has now performed its final grid connection checks and the 100 kilowatt commercial solar system has been commissioned.

About 35 per cent of total energy consumption at a typical aged care facility is used for lighting, so with each LED light using about 50 less energy than older style lights, the LED replacement program was an important first step to tackling energy use. The 100 kilowatt solar PV system helps further reduce the remaining energy consumed on site.

LEDs perform better than most other lights because they don’t waste energy in the form of non-light producing heat. An LED luminaire is also expected to last at least five times as long as old lighting technology, meaning less maintenance.

The energy efficiency 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. This means the initial investment for the program will pay itself off in just over five years and provide many more years of reduced energy bills.

It’s estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from the property’s electricity use will be cut by a quarter after the upgrade.

The lighting upgrade will deliver a lot more than cleaner and cheaper energy.

There were a range of decorative glass and recessed lights installed at the facility using standard CFL and halogen luminaries and older style fluoro tubes.

They performed well but produced inconsistent lighting levels across the building. And each light wasn’t necessarily designed for each specific space. The quality of light also varied, with the CFLs degrading over time.

The new LED lights provide a better quality and uniformity of light. LEDs installed in bedrooms and living spaces produce a brighter and warmer light. Others installed in bathrooms or kitchen produce a brighter, whiter light that’s more appropriate for these rooms.

All outdoor lights must be specially rated for outdoor use, so new outdoor LEDs are designed to be more dust and water tolerant.

The new lighting placement were based on trials at several Opal residential aged care facilities that tested for the best light colouring for each space.

The end a result is improved amenity for residents, their family and guests and staff at the home along with reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from the facility.

SUMMARY
Solar PV Solar Panels LED Lights Electricity Cost Savings pa Greenhouse Gas Emission Savings
100 kW 300 800 $53,000 (38%) 260 t CO2-e (25%)