How Your Electricity Bill Changes Year to Year

Over the past decade, as costs rise and environmental awareness has been heightened by advertising, media coverage, and education campaigns, we have seen a dramatic decrease in per capita consumption of electricity. Our fridges, washing machines, lights, and other electronics have been traded-in and swapped out to make way for low-energy, high-efficiency models.

Our pricing system for electricity is also changing, and as that happens, so to will our daily consumption habits. As we switch to time-of-use monitoring and billing, we'll choose to do our washing overnight instead of when we arrive home from work. The dish washer is turned on before the last family member turns in. Air conditioning is more likely to be left off during the peak hot period while most of the family is out of the house. All these measures reduce our electricity bills. Our savings, however, can spell major trouble for the electrical distributors.

With economies of scale, electrical distributors buy bulk electricity from producers at a low rate, and re-sell the electricity to electrical retailers at a slightly increased rate. Those retailers in turn sell to individual users (homes, businesses, industry) at another increased rate. When the users consume less electricity, there is less of a profit margin for the distributors, and thus less available funding available to support the maintenance of the network.

With a spate of windstorms blowing through Melbourne and surrounds over the past few months, we've seen many examples of the labour and materials required to keep electrical networks running. Overhead transmission lines are susceptible to wind damage from trees or stress and also from bush fires, floods, and vehicle crashes.

These are some of the reasons why your electricity bills may still be on the rise. Each half-year, the distributors have the ability to request changes to their "network tariffs" for electrical distribution expenses, which covers the installation and maintenance of services. Each distributor must submit business cases to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for the increase to be approved, and you've likely received notices regarding the changes a few months in advance. This January 1 past, Victoria's electrical distributors had a range of changes, some distributors managed to reduce costs, and others posted increases.

So what does this all mean for you? You've done all that you can to reduce consumption: changed the lights, appliances, practices. What else is left?

There are modifications which can be made to your building that will save you even more. The larger your building, the more savings you could see by applying solar reflective coating. Council managers, factory facility managers, property managers and others have started to take an interest in Solar Reflective Coatings which can reduce the internal temperature of your building by several degrees, which reduces the electrical demand on your facility's air conditioning systems on hot days. In fact, the hotter it gets, the better Solar Reflective Coatings works for you.

With a heatwave finally reaching Melbourne this coming week, its the right time to call Cocoon Coatings on 03 9720 5964. We work with you to maximise your savings and ensure a quality installation that will continue to benefit your building long after the paint has dried.

Solar Reflective: Demonstrated Savings

In 2007, Cocoon Coatings was installing Solar Reflective Coatings on a number of school buildings across Victoria. Most of the work was being completed on portable buildings (MOD-5 Design) that contain a classroom and ancillary room. Most of these buildings are fitted out with air conditioning to provide a comfortable learning environment during the summer months.

Around this time, McKinnon Secondary College in the southern suburbs of Melbourne received funding for new portable buildings, and Cocoon was there to coat one with a solar reflective coating. A forward-thinking Facility Manager took the iniative to create a monitoring program on two of the new buildings: one control and one with Cocoon's Solar Reflective Coating. The two buildings are located adjacent to each other on the property, and receive the exact same solar exposure.

McKinnon Secondary College Portable coated with Cocoon Coatings Solar Reflective
The portable buildings at McKinnon College: the coated building is apparent from Google's Satellite Images
Electricity meters are normally installed solely for the purpose of tracking the electircal consumption of one user on a property, and will not show the individual consumption of each building. In McKinnon College's case, the Facility Manager installed individual meters on both of the 'test case' portable buildings. The meters kept track of the overall electrical consumption of the two buildings from the time of installation.

A year later, Cocoon Coatings received a testimonial from the Facility Manager, reporting on the success of the testing. The Solar Reflective Coated building had shown consistent energy savings over the 12-month period. Barry and Wayne were thrilled with the results, and shared the story with prospective clients.

Fast forward to November of 2013, and we were interested to see what was going on with the demonstration buildings. We had heard that the Facility Manager that had installed the meters had moved on from McKinnon a year or two ago, so we got in touch with the College to find out what has happened there since.

The new Facility Manager hadn't been informed of the past project, and wasn't aware of the electricity meters that had been ticking away for six years. The experiment had been forgotten! Wayne and Barry asked to visit the site, talk about the Solar Reflective Coating, and see what had happened with the electricity meters.

Sure enough, the meters were still keeping track, and had recorded all six years of data. Here are the results:

Mckinnon Secondary College energy savings with Cocoon Coatings

For six years, the two buildings were used in the same way: similar class sizes, similar usage patterns, and they were exposed to the same temperatures and sun exposure. Cocoon's Solar Reflective Coating helped the one building to use 53 percent less electricity over the course of an average year. This was a result of the Solar Reflective Coating preventing heat energy from reaching the building interior, keeping the internal temperature at a lower point to begin with, and reducing this building's dependence on air conditioning to provide a comfortable learning environment.

Cocoon Coatings is excited about how we can save schools extra operating costs over the hot summer months. This is money that can be re-invested into needed facilities, resources, and other services that help our students to thrive!

If your local school is looking for ways to "Beat the Heat" and provide better a learning environment for students, give us a call today. We'll be happy to visit your board and discuss our products and services.

Find out more about Cocoon's Solar Reflective Coating.

Where's Cocoon?

Cocoon Coatings has been active in providing solar reflective coatings and water proofing membranes for over a decade, and we have many satisfied customers. Our work stands out in a crowd.

Here's a little guessing game taken from Google Maps: which of the buildings shown below have been Coated by Cocoon?

Roof maintenance is important to all property managers - a good roof keeps the sun, wind, and rain off your workforce and equipment. When leaks are apparent, there may already be thousands of dollars of damage to the building and services.

Cocoon's water proofing membrane can be applied with rust inhibiting coating layers, which will slow down the deterioration of your roof and provide a longer lasting building overall.

Find out more about Cocoon's Solar Reflective Coatings and Water Proofing Membranes.

In The Forecast

Rain, rain, go away!

Cocoon Coatings does a lot of business that is weather dependent. Fortunately for us today, our installation team is up in Sydney completing some indoor Epoxy Floorings work.

Here in Bayswater, however, someone left the shower on.

One of our favourite tools at Cocoon is the Weather Radar provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Here's an image from a few minutes ago.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology:
We know all too well how much damage can be done with a leaking roof: damaged framing, electrical shock, mould, and disintegrating walls are all potential outcomes. At Cocoon Coatings, we can install a waterproofing membrane that also includes solar reflective properties, so once you've saved your roof, you'll continue to reap energy savings.

Find out more about Cocoon's Waterproofing Membranes!

Asbestos Encapsulation

This past week, the Victorian Government in partnership with WorkSafe Victoria, Department of Health, and the EPA, launched a detailed web portal relating to Asbestos. The key message of the website relates to the identification and monitoring of asbestos materials at home and at the workplace.

At Cocoon Coatings, we encourage the safe use of asbestos products, and recommend that all property owners act in the interest of personal and public health and safety. Cocoon's Asbestos Encapsulation services are designed primarily for roofing applications where the material contains bonded/non-friable asbestos, as described below:
"Bonded (non-friable) asbestos
Bonded asbestos products are made from a bonding compound (such as cement) mixed with a small proportion (usually less than 15%) of asbestos. Bonded asbestos products are solid, rigid and non-friable, and cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure. The asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the product and are not normally released into the air.

Examples of non-friable asbestos containing material may include:
  • asbestos cement sheet
  • asbestos cement moulded products
  • bitumen-based water proofing
  • vinyl floor tiles.
Over time, some non-friable material may become friable.
Examples of non-friable asbestos-containing material that can become friable as a result of a work process include:
  • asbestos cement sheeting that has been crushed
 Identification of Asbestos materials before they are damaged is key to the implementation of the Cocoon Asbestos Encapsulation service. Cocoon installers follow all OH&S protocols for working with asbestos materials, and it is best to work in conditions where the asbestos has not yet been loosened by damage or wear. The Asbestos Portal offers an interactive tool to assist you in identifying asbestos materials on your property:

Take a few minutes to complete the tool for your property. If you find identify bonded asbestos products, give some thought to how you can best monitor and manage the situtation.

If you think Cocoon's Asbestos Encapsulation service is the right method for your building, contact our office:

03 9720 5964 //