Feature, Industrial

Case study: How a cold storage company froze its bills

Swire has managed to save more than 90 per cent of its lighting energy across four facilities.

Swire Cold Storage has a network of temperature-controlled warehouses across Australia with a total volume of nearly two million cubic metres. As well as its cold-storage facilities, it has a fleet of refrigerated trucks that deliver the chilled goods to a broad range of businesses. The company’s customers include many Australian and international food producers, distributors and retailers. It also exports bulk commodities such as beverages and products for the pharmaceutical industry.

Sustainable growth

Swire is committed to sustainable growth and development, and the company has made energy efficiency a high priority at all its sites. In the first 18 months of its commitment, it has saved over 1,000,000kWh by following the Australian government’s Energy Efficiency Opportunities legislation.

A key element of this programme is intelligent LED lighting, which has dramatically reduced energy use for lighting across a number of sites.

A number of LED products were considered, and eventually Swire Cold Storage decided that fittings with integrated intelligence – movement sensing, control and wireless management – were the key to achieving dramatic energy savings from lighting.

The system

The final system is a network of intelligent LED fixtures with built-in occupancy sensing, power metering, a microcomputer and wireless networking, all managed by LightRules energy management software. It ensures light is only provided when and where employees are present, lights are on in the areas where employees are working and off or dimmed when no-one is present. Each fixture reports its power consumption, occupancy sensing and on/off/dimmed data to LightRules, which shows exactly how much energy is being used and where.

Initially, Swire Cold Storage installed the Digital Lumens Intelligent LED Lighting System at Laverton in Victora, Hemmant in Queensland, Lurnea in New South Wales and Dry Creek in South Australia. The results spoke for themselves.

‘In addition to impressive energy savings, LightRules gives us detailed information on the savings and justification to retrofit additional facilities in a timely manner,’ says engineering project manager Ramana Haran.

‘Further, having operational data about occupancy patterns, down to usage patterns in particular aisles and rooms, provides a valuable perspective on how our facilities operate, how we can support our staff, and how we can further optimise the placement of our inventory.’

Swire Cold Storage then worked with specialist energy consultant Maser, on the second stage of the project. Detailed audits were performed on Banjup and Welshpool in Western Australia, Homebush in New South Wales and Clayton in Victoria, and Maser analysed existing 400W lighting fittings, energy costs, maintenance plans, and facility occupancy patterns. It then recommended a number of lighting upgrades, including detailed calculations of potential energy savings.

Further installations

Maser managed the installations and system commissioning to ensure the project was successful and in line with Swire Cold Storage’s established project goals. It worked quickly to minimise disruption and costs while performing the wholesale lighting upgrades.

The system met and/or exceeded Maser’s initial energy savings estimates, with the results as follows:

  • Banjup 273,851kWh a year, or 94.80 per cent
  • Welshpool 558,328kWh a year or 95.32 per cent
  • Homebush 776,977kWh a year or 94.01 per cent
  • Clayton 111,015kWh a year or 95.41 per cent

With proven energy savings across multiple facilities and almost no maintenance or re-lamping required, Swire Cold Storage is now expanding its use of intelligent LED lighting to retrofit projects, as well as to new sites such as the expansion of its warehouse at Laverton, Victoria.

‘Historically, lighting was an energy-intensive, high-maintenance activity in our cold facilities,’ says Haran. ‘With the move to intelligent LED lighting, we are achieving our energy efficiency goals while gaining a data-driven perspective on business operations.

‘Our lights typically operate in daytime hours, which is when electricity pricing is highest,’ he says.

Cool advantages

LEDs produce less heat than most conventional light sources, and for a cold storage facility this is an extra benefit. As well as the direct lighting energy savings, Swire is using less energy for refrigeration energy too, because there is less heat to remove.

‘The LED lights last 35,000 to 40,000 hours, five to seven times as long as the older metal halide lights that are being replaced,’ says Haran. ‘In fact, our investments in efficiency are having a positive impact in a number of areas in our business where lighting has never had a role before.’


Project Overview

Locations: Laverton (VIC), Clayton (VIC), Hemmant (QLD), Welshpool (WA), Lurnea (NSW), Banjup (WA), Dry Creek (SA), Homebush (NSW)

Previous Lighting Solution: 400-watt HPS

Project Type: Lighting Retrofit

Lighting Energy savings: 1,000,000 kWhrs annually, Lighting energy use reduced by 90 per cent

Re-Lamping / Re-Ballasting: N/A

Lighting Maintenance Costs: $0 annually