Archive for the 'Steplight' Category

Strata Building Case Study

This case study is for a 10-storey building with 75 residential units, 15 commercial units and 3 underground car park levels.

Energy savings

Our energy audit identified cost effective energy saving opportunities that could achieve the following:

  • Reduction in energy consumption by 36%.
  • Payback time on the investment of 2.6 years.
  • Carbon emissions reduction potential of 318 tonnes per year.

Energy usage

Fluorescent lighting in the service areas and car park levels accounted for 30% of the total electricity usage on-site. Most of these areas were unnecessarily illuminated 24/7.

The residential corridors were lit 24/7 by circular fluorescent tubes, which accounted for 10% of the total electricity usage.

The entry lobby, lifts and commercial access areas were lit 24/7 by halogen downlights.

Several energy-saving lighting upgrades were identified:

  • Install occupancy sensors to switch off lighting in unoccupied areas.
  • Replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes.
  • Replace circular fluorescent tubes with LED oyster lights.
  • Replace halogen downlights with LED downlights.


We were surprised to learn that our lighting wasn’t very energy efficient, as we’re quite a new building. However, we’re very excited about the savings and will be recommending these changes to the Executive Committee. The energy savings are higher than expected…we should have done this sooner.
– Craig, Building Manager

Understanding Your Gas Usage

Have you received a high gas bill recently? Can’t figure out what’s causing it?

This post will help you understand how to read your gas bill and gas meter, which may help you take control of your gas usage.

Understanding your Gas Bills

If your gas bill is a bit confusing, look for a section that looks similar to the one in the box below. It should contain the following information:

Gass bill

  • average daily gas usage in megajoules (MJ)
  • average daily cost
  • average daily usage compared to the same time last year
  • a graph showing your usage trend

Continue reading…

Fridge Buyback NSW – Over 40,000 Fridges Recycled

Ever wondered how much that old fridge in the garage costs to run? How often is it used anyway?

You might be surprised to know that old fridges and upright freezers are some of the biggest energy users in the home costing up to around $300 a year to run. Cost aside, an old fridge contributes about 1 tone of carbon pollution to the atmosphere every year. Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if you really need that second fridge.

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How to Identify Heat Loss with Thermal Imaging

Flir i7 in use

Thermal imaging is an effective way to identify the sources of heat loss within your home or business. You can use a thermal imaging camera to:

  • See air leaks around windows and doors
  • Check the effectiveness of your weather stripping and draft stopping measures
  • Discover if insulation is missing, defective or even present
  • Check duct work for leaks

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Water Cooler / Water Boiler Energy Consumption Revealed

Most offices have at least one water cooler and many of these have both a ‘chilled water’ and ‘boiling water’ function. So how much energy do they actually use?

The actual energy consumption of your water cooler will depend on how it is used, and how many people are using it. The only way to know the actual energy consumption of your water cooler is with a plug in power meter. Here are our test results…

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Arlec Electrical Energy Cost Meter – Review

Arlec Energy Cost MeterWe keep seeing the Arlec Energy Cost Meter at Bunnings, Coles and other shops. It costs about the same as our power meter, so we thought we’d give it a comparative review.

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What is Green IT?

Energy Star logo

Green IT refers to an IT system which has little or no impact on the environment. It also refers to IT that restores and enhances degraded environments. ‘Green IT’ as a paradigm aims to reduce the use of hazardous materials, promote renewable energy, increase energy efficiency, increase the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials and promote recycling.

One of the earliest examples of Green IT was by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 with the launch of Energy Star. This type of appliance energy rating system has now been adopted globally.

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Does Green IT Exist?

Not yet. True Green IT needs to take into account the environmental impacts of the entire life-cycle of the equipment, from design and manufacture to use and ‘disposal’. Many companies are working towards increasing their Green IT credentials in order to stay ahead of the competition but there’s still a long way to go for the IT industry to be ecologically sustainable. One of the greatest challenges is sustainable disposal of electronic waste or ‘e-waste’, which is discussed below.


Each year 20-50 million tonnes of electronic products are discarded globally. The average life span of computers in developed countries dropped from six years in 1997 to just two years in 2005 and mobile phones have a consumer lifespan of less than two years. In Australia, the volume of e-waste being generated is growing at three times the rate of general municipal waste, which is largely due to built-in product obsolescence and the consumer culture.

Another contributing factor is the lack of accountability placed on companies that produce IT equipment. Most could take greater responsibility for measuring resource consumption over the entire lifespan of the product but unfortunately there is little incentive for them to do this. The end result is that hundreds of thousands of old computers and mobile phones (with all of their toxic elements) end up in landfills every year.

Hopefully, this will soon reduce with increased awareness and programs like the National Television & Computer Recycling Scheme.

Green IT Keyboard

What can I do?

The greenest piece of electronic equipment is the one that you don’t buy. Ask yourself if this is something you really need. If it is something you really need and you want to become greener, here are some things you can do:

  • Become energy efficient. One of the simplest and smartest ways to ‘green up’ your IT is through energy efficiency. It’s positive for the environment, positive for your bank balance and it doesn’t have to be a drag. Small changes in behaviour and smart initial decisions can have a big impact. Steplight’s Business Energy Auditing Workshop and course in Energy, Water & Waste Efficiency for Households will help you learn how to do this.
  • Check energy rating labels. Pay attention to energy ratings and product comparisons before buying new equipment.
  • Build an energy efficient home and office culture. Establish clear energy efficient policies, ensuring that family or staff members can understand and follow it easily. For example, put up simple reminders to use energy saving modes on computers and to power down workstations overnight.
  • Eliminate standby loads. Switch equipment off at the power point. Standby loads account for about 10% of household energy use.
  • Understand your energy consumption. Once you become aware of how energy is used you can start to make real savings. Steplight’s wireless energy monitors allow you to see the total energy consumption of your home or small business, and to track your energy use over time.
  • Measure and monitor. Identify your energy-hungry appliances. Steplight’s Power Meter will show the energy consumption of plug-in appliances.
  • Get an energy assessment. A Steplight energy assessor can do a site assessment of your home or business, identify energy savings opportunities and provide a written energy-savings action plan.
  • Vote with your dollar. Support companies with environmentally sustainable practices. The Greenpeace guide to greener electronics rates companies on their commitment to, and progress in, three main categories – Energy and Climate, Greener Products, and Sustainable Operations. Place pressure on companies from which you already buy to improve their practices. There are many easy ways to actively engage with companies (email, facebook, twitter) so let them know what you think. As consumers we have much more influence than we realise.
  • Invest in renewable energy. Once steps have been made to increase energy efficiency, consider your options for renewable energy. Check if Solar PV is a good option for your home or business. Also consider opting for some of your electricity to be ‘green power’. This means that your utility company must provide a portion of your electricity from renewable sources.

- Holly Lovell-Smith

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How to Calculate Wattage (Watts) – Apparent Power vs Real Power

The power consumption of an appliance in watts is often said to be equal to current multiplied by voltage.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. This conventional wisdom or ‘rule of thumb’ will have you calculating Apparent Power rather than Real Power (what you get billed for).

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Fridge Power Consumption – Can the Star Rating be trusted?

The power consumption of domestic fridges is typically between 100 and 200 watts. Over a full day they are likely to use around 1-2 kilowatt-hours (kWh).

The actual energy consumption of your fridge or freezer will depend on many factors. These include:

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Rooftop Solar and Community Renewable Energy

Communities and individuals across Australia are taking electricity generation into their own hands and choosing clean renewable energy.

Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the polluting effects of coal- and gas-fired electricity generation. Together with ever-increasing utility bills, more and more people are looking for alternative sources of energy. Waiting for government and the energy industry to transition to renewable sources is proving too long for some households.

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Community Bulk Buy - Click Here

Power Meter - Find your energy guzzling appliances.

Energy Monitor - Reduce your power usage by 5 to 40%.

Energy Audits - Advice to reduce your energy costs.

Sustainability - Broaden your knowledge or start a new career.

About us

Steplight has been helping customers of all types understand and reduce their ecological footprint since 2007. We deliver most products and services Australia-wide. Some of our past customers are shown below. Click here to read more.


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