Garry – Kurrajong NSW

I’ve got a domestic application, a panel of about 1.2m in length, about 800m wide, which is hooked up to my air conditioning. We installed the system about March last year because my partner has a medical problem and gets very cold; even in summer she has to have a warm shower to warm her up. Here we are, at Kurrajong, in NSW, this morning it was minus 2 outside, and in summer we get very high temperatures. We keep it between 24 and 26 degrees, summer and winter, so our bill was pretty massive, or it would be if we hadn’t got this system. That was why we moved into another house. As a consequence of leaving the air conditioning on, the electricity bill in the house we moved from was $1800 per quarter. We are talking thousands of dollars a year, so that was why we went to look for something to alleviate the problem. Now, we have about 300 square metres and we have a consistent temperature running throughout. Since we moved into the new house, which has this better air conditioner, our bills are down to $700 a quarter.

We’re using it 24 hours, day and night, and we are using it to heat and cool, and it’s performing well. The benefits to us are the savings and we can keep a steady temperature on even the hottest and coldest days. And environmentally, it’s sustainable because it’s not using power from the the grid. It works for us, it solves all of our problems and saves us thousands of dollars a year . I think there are benefits every way you look at it.

I’d recommend it to anyone, I’m very happy with it.

Mario Scalzi, Property Officer, Campbelltown

We had a small unit installed in one of council buildings and I can definitely say that the people who occupy the building are thrilled with it, and it works really, really well. It’s a fairly small system for a fairly small building, but the costs of running it are extremely low compared to other air conditioners. The building’s the old Campbelltown Council’s office chambers in Newton Road, and it’s been used as a community hall for the last 25 years. It’s a heritage-listed building, with office accommodation and meeting rooms.

It was used by various community groups, and then we leased it out to an Italian aged facility which provides services to the Italian community on a full-time basis. Approximately two years ago and the building was leased and it was old and the air conditioners in there were fairly dated and the tenants were obviously in some kind of discomfort in the summer months. The air conditioners there weren’t coping with comfort, so we were approached and it was recommended we look at this new system. We investigated, and decided to go for it. After two years, the costs are down and the comfort factor is greatly improved. We’re using it both to heat and to cool, every weekday, 9am to 5pm, and it’s equally effective in both applications. Obviously the energy and cost savings are there, but a key benefit, I think, is that the impact on the environment is far decreased; it absolutely has a lower impact than if we were to install a normal reverse-cycle system.

We were quite impressed by the amount of energy it uses to run and to provide the comfort that is required for that type of building, and I’ve already recommended it to one group I was contacted by in Queensland.

John Kennedy, Campbeltown Council, SA

I’m an elected member for the City of Campbelltown, and the system was installed about 12-18 months ago in the Hectorville Community Centre. Before that, there was an underperforming evaporative system in place and I think it was just inefficient. This system was recommended to us and was installed for its environmental attributes. The hall we are talking about is part of a complex with two halls. The larger one has the capacity to seat around about 200 people, and it will commonly have about 250 people sitting in it, and that’s the reason the evaporative system wasn’t working properly. The hall is very heavily used; you’ve got people using the facility during the day and then you’ve got a hirer come to use it in the evening, so it’s very, very heavily used, under pretty testing circumstances. The system could be on at 9am through to 1am the following morning.

We use the system predominantly for cooling, probably 60:40, but it is used for heating as well, and it is in operation pretty much all the time. We have three or four outlets in the wall in the large hall, and it’s performing well, no problems at all. I have just had an electricity audit done, and looking at the graphs it looks like we’re beginning to save electricity usage, and I’d say the unit is saving us money.

The benefits to us are its environmental friendliness and cost savings. We have 50,000 people in our community and everyone is concerned about saving the environment, saving energy and cutting their costs. It was selected in anticipation that it would meet everyone’s demands, and given that set of criteria, given the demands of the community, given the expectations of the people we serve, SolarKool meets those demands.

At the moment we are seriously looking at putting at least another two systems into the complex, that’s how heavily it is used, so that’s the reason we’ve gone for this system, plus its environmental advantages. I’d recommend it to someone else, it’s working efficiently, there is now nothing wrong with the systems we’ve got at HCC.

Jason Burnett, Murrumba Downs, Qld

We were having huge power bills at our old house, so we moved to a new home, and we installed it just after we’d moved in, about 16-18 months ago. It’s ducted air conditioning that we have in our home. We wanted air conditioning, but this being Queensland we didn’t want the cost associated with it and the representative was quoting 60 per cent savings on a normal ducted system. We thought if we get some savings, it’s got to be better than nothing, but he’s been absolutely spot-on. The Queensland state government has an initiative where they come round and install an electricity meter in your home and test your power and give you some free energy-saving light bulbs, and so on. The guy came round while we had the air con running fully in summertime. He was saying your usage is really reasonable, It’s fairly average for a normal home, and he said, of course, that would go up if you had air conditioning. When I said it’s actually running, he was absolutely shocked. The kilowatts we were using were actually the same as for an average home and we’ve got a four-bedroom home. I think we have eight or 10 outlets, and we have a huge unit, 14kw, which is a lot for a residential home.

We’re using it to cool, and it’s getting used in summertime. We never turn it off because we were told it’s actually cheaper to run it that way. The house we had before had two split systems and we were trying not to run them all the time. Now, our electricity count now in the peak of summer, with the air conditioning running continually, is hundreds of dollars cheaper than running two split systems. We are absolutely saving money.

We were paying something like $1300 a quarter (with two teenage boys), but now I think our first full bill in this house on that system was about $800 and since then, we’ve had a bit of a drop on that. I recommended it to a lady in WA and I told her the main benefits for us are our cost savings and the service we received.

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