In this pilot program, AEF worked with Moreland City Council and café owners to make a simple but effective change to the way coffee machines are used. Café owners often leave their coffee machines switched on overnight because the machines take a long time to warm up. Having staff arrive an hour early just to warm up the coffee machine is not cost-effective. The solution was to put the machines on timers so they can be switched on automatically at the right time. Because coffee machines use a lot of power, a simple plug-in timer is not sufficient; we had timers installed in the cafés’ switchboards by an electrician.
The trial proved highly successful. The timer installations caused minimal interruption to the cafés’ operations and once set up, the savings were significant; café owners can expect to recoup the cost of the timer within a year. The idea has since been used on 2 similar projects for NAGA and the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation. With approximately 40,000 coffee machines in Australia, the project has the potential to provide significant energy and financial savings to small businesses.