Energy Saving and Green Initiative
Client Represented: Phuket Condominium
Location: Layan Phuket, Thailand
Topline: Energy and cost savings that deliver environmental benefits
CBRE’s Property Management team provided solutions for energy saving by improving efficiency for air conditioning systems and using solar energy.
The property was built in 2006 when electricity costs were low in Thailand and climate change was not a well-accepted concept. Consequently, little thought was given to energy saving measures.
Owners at the property were keen to keep costs down and reduce environmental impact. Any proposals would have to fit with a building design and electrical infrastructure where significant alterations could be costly.
CBRE Phuket staff were invited by a local non-profit environment organization to help prepare a green property guide that could be used by hotels and residential properties. In researching local suppliers of alternative energy systems very efficient and low-cost solar equipment was found that was tailor made for use in the local climate. By sourcing of the correct solar panels yield can be improved because the power supplied is heavily dependent on weather conditions particularly the amount of diffuse/direct sunlight and the operating temperature of the panels which in Phuket is generally high. Panels are given a rating (Pmax Temperature Coefficient). This gives a figure for the power loss for each degree increase in temperature. The supplier had bespoke panels made with a Pmax Temperature Coefficient of 0.39% which compares very favorably with typical average figures for other manufacturers which lie between 0.45 and 0.50. Solar panels are supplied with either Poly Crystalline or Mono Crystalline cells. The Mono Crystalline cells produce more power output on cloudy days and it is estimated that the yield could be 5-10% greater in a year based on typical weather patterns in Phuket. The Mono Crystalline panels are slightly more expensive but will give a better ROI.
Historically solar systems have been self-contained to provide power to a limited number of appliances matching the power capacity of the solar array. However modern inverter can be directly connected to a mains distribution system without major wiring changes allowing the solar power to be used to its capacity and reducing the amount of mans electricity consumed.
At the property, air-conditioning condenser units are mounted on the flat roofs of apartment blocks where they are exposed to direct sunlight increasing the operating temperature. The efficiency of these units drops dramatically if the condenser cannot dissipate sufficient heat. By using the solar installation to provide shade the cooling efficiency is improved leading to a significant energy saving.
The electrical yield has met with predictions and performs well in all weather conditions. The ROI timescale is around 7 years, but the product lifetime is estimated at 20+ years so the benefits carry on way being the time when the investments is repaid. Overall costs were low enough for the scheme to attract universal support from owners who have added to the solar capacity year-on year and have seen a marked drop in power consumed as well as prolonged life of AC condensers and more efficient cooling. The client has since continued to use CBRE’s services for strategic advice on energy saving and environmental initiatives and has also installed a rainwater harvesting scheme that we devised.