It is without doubt that one of the biggest changes in the landscape of transportation and the automotive industry is the shift towards electric cars, which gains acceptability and momentum at considerable rates.
This has added a primordial requirement to the design of our embedded solar electricity system, to make sure we future-proof our infrastructure to accommodate the need of charging the electric cars of the strata complex residents, and potentially other (public) parties.
Before tackling the technical aspects of electric car charging we needed to survey the members of our strata community to gauge the interest, uptake rates and use projection of electric cars.
The survey was conducted online, which has resulted in a 94% response rate – an amazing measure of engagement. Most respondents expect to have an electric vehicle within 5-10 Years.
The survey information was collected and disseminated by our consultants, who produced the downloadable report below:
Electric Vehicle Use Survey Results – Blackwattle Mews (final) [PDF link]
At this point we sought advice from the Council as to when the first part ($10K) of our Grant would be paid into our account. We were advised it would be the next Friday or Monday at the latest, With these matters cleared away and our chosen consultants starting on the job we advised the other tenderer, PreSync, that they had not been successful. We arranged for Peter Steen who is our strata site maintenance overseer to provide strata plans to the engineer.
On the 18th January Nik at the Council requested to see the quotes which we provided requesting their discretion. In order to be able to receive these grant monies we needed to ask our Strata Manager to sign the confidentiality agreement which was forwarded to WattBlock and cooperate with us in providing the Council with documents such as our Public Liability Contract that they required under the terms of our contract.
On the 18th we also received from WattBlock the Survey about Electric Cars which we then distributed to our residents. On the 30th January we sent a friendly reminder to residents asking them to complete the survey.
We then had a period where we could relax for a while knowing that our project was now in expert hands. Half way through February we received from WattBlock an email with a long first draft of a review of the regulatory field into which our development would sit. It was a fascinating read and it appeared to indicate that the field was changing in important ways from that which Bjorn had had to deal with in the Stucco project.
Shortly after this was followed by a Powerpoint presentation which covered the main thrust of the longer report that would provide the basis for the next stage of our project – the tendering for network installation. We were very encouraged by both these preliminary documents. It was time to meet again and prepare for our meeting with the consultants.
At this meeting we went through their submission and clarified all the matters above. WattBlock undertook to revise their submission on the basis of this discussion and this they submitted to our satisfaction on 16th January. WattBlock required 12 months of bills for the common area electricity usage. They then prepared a Consent Form to be signed by the Strata Executive Committee Chair or the Strata Manager, to be sent to our energy retailer, Ausgrid, requesting 2 years of metering at 15 minute intervals. The consultants then undertook a site visit of two hours to take photos of the common areas, the meter room and meter boards. They also requested a Strata Plan.
As it turned out only two bidders submitted tenders – Wattblock and Presync. The team was unanimous in preferring the WattBlock tender but some issues required further clarification so a meeting with WattBlock was arranged to discuss the following:
- so that privacy is respected we wanted a non-disclosure agreement from WattBlock to Blackwattle Mews.
- We wanted them to produce both a long-form Word document and a simpler Powerpoint presentation to assist with communication to Owners and residents.
- We prefer to use the Powerpoint presentation to share as a case study with the City of Sydney.
- We wanted to ensure that WattBlock would be available to attend a meeting with the Blackwattle community for education purposes and that they would produce some simple fact sheets to assist with this process.
- We wanted to check why they do not use individual lot energy consumption on example electricity bills from each lot (Luci has collected 70% already).
- We wanted question whether we needed to pay all the Structural Engineer costs at this first stage, given that Peter Steen can provide details about the roof capacities.