Ensuring our telephone exchanges continue to operate at maximum efficiency is a key priority for Telstra and my team is always on the case, investigating ways we can save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Energy use at exchange sites, especially our larger facilities, can be significant. In fact, the internal heat that is generated by communications equipment alone within exchanges is so considerable that the process of cooling, to stabilise temperatures within our sites, can equate to almost half the total energy consumed.

The use of external fresh air cooling, as opposed to refrigerated air-conditioning, is an excellent energy-reduction initiative that is used extensively throughout Telstra’s network buildings to stabilise temperatures within our sites.

A Telstra Exchange (that's not this blog!)External fresh air cooling in our exchanges is a great way to show we care for the environment, save energy and reduce emissions; and we’ll continue to audit sites to ensure we’re receiving optimal benefits from these set ups.

We recently organised for partner Silcar to conduct an energy audit of Charlotte Exchange in Queensland, where we discovered that the economy-cycle cooling was being under-utilised.

During the audit, the programming code in the building management system was examined carefully to determine the most favourable conditions that outside air could be used to assist in cooling at the site.

We then optimised the program that controls the louvers and sensors in the exchange to make greater use of outside air, while still ensuring equipment room conditions were maintained at an acceptable level.

Several temperature and humidity sensors were also found to be inaccurate and were replaced along with some of the small motors that drive open louvers to let in the external fresh air.

All up, we doubled the use of outside air and reduced energy consumption by 500,000kWh, saving$50,000 from Telstra’s annual electricity bill and reducing our C02 emissions by 500 tonnes.

If you’re interested in reading more about my team’s energy saving initiatives, see the blog, ‘Powering up the Strait‘ for a recent example.