Queensland’s Electrical branch have won 2 state National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) excellence awards:

  • 1 William Street Brisbane, a large government building won in the category Energy Efficiency and Environment,
  • The NRGS rail works yard won for Industrial Medium Project
1 William street during construction

1 William street during construction

1 William street: a brilliant and illuminating win.

The award for 1 William Street was given for a sophisticated approach to modelling lighting efficiency that turned conventional industry wisdom on its head in several ways.

The engineering team were able to present a precise cost and practical methodology to support the idea that replacing lights in bulk at the right moment before they die is less expensive than waiting for them to fail one by one.

They also contradicted several respected engineering and cost assessment firms by demonstrating that LED’s can be considerably more cost effective and energy efficient than the most efficient T5 fluorescent lights when maintenance cycles are factored in.

To argue this involved marshalling some very big data about real world lighting performance – as opposed to laboratory conditions. The team used a real time feedback monitoring system on the fittings called DALI (digital addressable lighting interface). This removes a lot of the guesswork from the calculus of how lights perform and deteriorate over time.

LED’s can churn out more light than is needed for standards compliant light and glare levels, and operating at full brightness shortens their life.  Also, their brightness fades over time more than fluorescents.  Fredon’s team found a way to automatically calculate and control the dimming level of the lights and boost it over time, via software, to extend their life and compensate for the natural fall off of luminence from the LED lights, keeping the illumination they provide at compliant levels.

Another enemy of LED light performance is heat, and the team attacked this weakness by integrating return airconditioning slots into the lights.

By using these techniques, the light fittings in 1 William street are expected to run for 15 years before being partially replaced.  This very long life cycle, combined with the bulk replacement policy that such a measured system allows, led to a predicted direct power consumption saving of over $7000 per year, and the elimination of a 4 yearly cost of over $100000 over the current government estimated maintenance costs.  The details of the system are complex and hard to understand, but the cost and energy savings spoke simply and powerfully to the clients, who were delighted with the outcome.

Fredon is well down the path to being a world leader in this area, thanks to the excellent work by Brenden Harris, engineering manager, and the team. A well deserved win and surely a hot tip for the national award.

New Generation Rolling Stock (NGRS): attention to detail in adapting to some unique challenges

The electrical works for the rail maintenance centre presented some unusual challenges, and Fredon’s design and construction team responded with a high level of specialist expertise, and a strong holistic understanding of the project and the way the electrical works could be integrated.

A key issue was safely negotiating the swichover from the DC power that operates the trains from overhead wires, to the 240/415v AC supply that the docked trains are plugged into for maintenance.  It required careful thinking about earthing and safe switching, and even the weight of the plugs and cables, which impact on the OHS standards for the workers at the facility.

The facility is made of structural steel, the strength and durability of which was enhanced by Fredon adopting a zero tolerance to drilled fittings.  Various conduit clamps and bus suspenders utilised specialist fittings, that came with side benefits of labour reduction and more efficient earthing conductor arrangements.

The working relationship with builders Laign O’Rourke was exemplary and goes towards demonstrating Fredon’s industrial and infrastructure credentials. The team even found time to volunteer services and materials towards a new playground for the local Ipswich Special School.  An example of not merely managing to handle a complex project, but bringing flair and added value to it. Kudos to Shane Hagetian, Project Manager and the team.

Below Left: the NGRS facility, Right:  road 1 lifting jacks and operators control panel, and on the wall behind one of the 2000A bus ducts that run east-west through the maintenance building, an initiative Fredon suggested to future proof the power needs of the building in a way that would have little or no impact on the structure of the facility.

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