News & Events
According to a Seven news report, residents along the rail line in Northern Sydney suburbs are in danger. A high pitch screech from passing freight trains in Beecroft was recorded at 102 decibels, almost as loud as lightening (110 db) and not far short of a rock concert (120db) (7News). Being frequently exposed to this excessive noise can impact residents’ quality of life, through high blood pressure and sleep disturbance. Long term deafness is also a concern.
Noise nuisance issues were also raised by residents affected by recent freight line developments in Southern Sydney. Yet, the plan to build more rail, as part of the NSW state government infrastructure strategy, is still on track.
New passenger rail capacity will be added in South West and North West Sydney suburbs. To ease road congestion and enhance distribution links across the state, major freight line upgrades are also planned. Adding more freight line capacity is expected to give business an incentive to choose rail over trucks, so that Sydney’s notorious road traffic can be addressed.
Despite the promise of a bright future for the city as an outcome of this massive infrastructure strategy, residents along the railway project will suffer from excessive noise. While improved infrastructure is a valued public investment, who wants to be woken up by trains?
While some residents might have moved, those who choose to stay are eagerly waiting for government to deal with this added noise problem, wondering how much this development will impact the residents’ quality of life.
The government helping those affected is by allocating funds for acoustic insulation. For the past decade, Magnetite has been called upon to provide multiple solutions for noise abatement. Magnetite has proven its capability in past infrastructure projects like the M7 toll road, Lane Cove Tunnel and Brisbane’s legacy Way tunnel project, among others.
Don’t let the noise steal away your peaceful night’s sleep. Talk to our team today and discover how Magnetite can reduce unwanted or excessive noise through your existing windows.
Excessive workloads have long caused tension in the workplace. Ironically, modern office designs often compound this tension. One reason is the prevalence of open plan layouts. They increase ambient noise, a major distraction and frustration for staff, which can also affect their health, leading to sickness and lower productivity.
Findings from the 2011 survey, “Sustainability in the Workplace”, showed that 92 per cent of workers believe productivity has declined in Australia. Workplace stress was blamed for headaches, fatigue, eyestrain and other adverse effects. The results? More sick days and low morale, with a direct impact on productivity.
A “work-life balance” mantra is pitched by management and authors to improve productivity, though effective guidance or action here is rarely seen. It’s more a concept than a process to follow. More recently, the establishment of healthy, green, sustainable work environments shows a more tangible approach. Research reveals that staff in “green” offices is less likely to suffer from sickness. (Sustainability in the workplace, 2011)
Productivity improvement is becoming more widely measured and understood. While cost remains a key challenge in pursuing sustainability as a strategy, according to research by Jones Lang LaSalle, there are huge productivity benefits to be gained through greening the existing workplace. Options range from improving indoor air quality, optimisation of daylight, insulating for thermal efficiency and comfort, access to outside views or external space and maintaining comfortable noise levels.
The design features in a workspace can significantly improve or dampen staff effectiveness in performing their roles. The following projects highlight the important link between productivity and workplace design:
500 Collins Street, Melbourne. Other than energy, water and waste, indoor air quality was also a key focus in this retrofit project. Post retrofit analysis showed a 44% reduction in average sick days per employee, accompanied by a 9% improvement in average typing speed with a significant improvement in overall accuracy.
Macquarie Bank Headquarters, One Shelley Street, Sydney. Sustainable design upgrades combined with introducing an activity-based work environment improved Macquarie Bank’s perceived productivity by up to 15%.
Flinders Medical Centre, Belford Park, Adelaide. Earning a green star rating has seen a 9% increase in the number of babies born since the centre’s new green wing opened. Combined with a drop in recovery times due to a focus on healthy building principles, the centre can handle more patients.
A common theme through all of these observations is best relayed by the writings of Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. He wrote in 1994 “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything”. It brings to mind that it’s never too late to take action in the built environment. Start one step at a time to green your workplace and ultimately you will be able to enhance productivity companywide.
Windows create harmony between inside and outside spaces; from the beauty they add to a building facade, the natural light they bring in, to the view they reveal. They are also the weakest part of a building envelope which can account for up to 49% of heat loss and 87% of heat gain. Inefficient glazing can cause discomfort & higher power usage.
The 30 days of enduring the ridiculous facial hair in the office is now over. The Magnetite Mo Bros are now clean-shaven and proud to share about their participation on Movember.
There’s a lot more in Movember than changing your look by keeping your top lip a little hairy and Magnetite Mo Bros surely understood this. For the second time, Magnetite team accepted the challenge to grow the best soup strainer in November and raise both awareness and dollar for two biggest men’s health issue: prostate cancer and male mental health.
With another Movember over this year, we would like to thank our customers who have donated and not to mention our supportive team members who have taken part. Though, it has over for this year, remember it’s never too late to support this great cause. Keep spreading out the words and provoke the conversation to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
Time flies and before we know it, Movember 2013 will be here – Be prepared to forgo your razors for a month in support a great cause. See your mo again next November!
Image is taken from here
Did you know buildings currently contribute approximately 40% of the world’s energy consumption?
Most buildings standing today will still be in use for decades. Planning a green future for new construction has become an expectation for architects and builders. Now, the challenge is to modify existing buildings to be more energy efficient – remember that existing buildings, or the “built environment” is massive compared to new construction. Bringing the built environment into a green future while managing costs will be the biggest hurdle. There is no more cost-effective solution to this than “green retrofitting” older buildings.
According to analyst ranging from Mckinsey Institute to the International Energy Agency, retrofitting is the most cost-efficient way to combat climate change and save on increasing power bills.
When it comes to energy consumption and carbon emissions, older buildings are often the worst, with outdating heating, cooling and lighting systems as well as air leaks. Many older buildings have begun taking part in achieving the goal of a green future through retrofitting.
One of the biggest retrofits to date is New York’s well-known Empire State Building. This 102-storey historic building now has a new story to tell – Energy efficiency. Motivated by a desire to find the truth about the cost-effectiveness of energy efficient retrofits, the project, developed in 2010, achieved a reduction in energy use of 38 per cent. Measurement and verification are ongoing to further monitor the return on investment.
This project was delivered by teams consisting of The Clinton Initiative, Jones Lang LaSalle, Rocky Mountain Institute, Johnson Controls Inc. and the Empire State Building Operation. A series of activities was carried out to balance the financial and environmental returns. These included window retrofits, upgraded heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, improved air quality, lighting and tenant education.
Retrofitting more than 6000 double hung windows in the building has contributed to a 5 per cent reduction in energy usage. Rocky Mountain Institute indicated a cut in winter heat loss by two-thirds and summer heat gain was reduced by half. Maximising the use of natural light for tenants will save 6 per cent. Other strategies that contributed to the overall 38 per cent reduction included installation of digital demand controls, air handling unit, retrofitting the chiller plant and tenant energy management.
Have you considered the impact our comfortable lives have on the planet – our Home? How much are we costing the Earth?
To get an idea, in just one year, each Australian, on average, releases enough greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to fill more than 700 balloons! To help maintain our collective home - Earth - The Australian Solar Energy Society has created Sustainable House Day. The initiative is to help Australians live sustainably in a modern world.
The aim of sustainable living is to reduce the ecological footprint left behind by our living in a modern home. Sustainable House Day is designed to allow people to exchange ideas and to understand renewable energy practices that minimise the impact on our environment, starting with our own households.
But what if we want to maintain comfort AND use less power? Windows are a good place to start. Whether it’s the summer heat or the winter cold, single glazed windows are the weakest part of a building envelope, as they account for up to 40% of heat loss or gain in a building. By installing Magnetite, you will make your home more comfortable, by creating a thermal break for the windows with retrofit double glazing. The magnetically sealed windows help maintain a comfortable temperature, with less heating or cooling power. This allows you to conserve energy, cut power costs and reduce your home’s ecological footprint. The magnets allow you to remove the windows easily, for cleaning or ventilation. When noise from traffic or neighbours is an issue, Magnetite will also make your home more peaceful, as it has with Barrett House. Independent tests prove Magnetite can reduce noise through windows by up to 70%.
Magnetite was installed in Barrett House as a sustainable living solution for windows. Located in Randwick, Sydney, Barrett House is one of the 200 sustainable homes that open their doors for Sustainable House Day across Australia. This cottage style home is also part of the Reduce Your Footprint project, which sees collaboration between Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra councils and their communities, to help reduce the ecological footprint of local residents. The partnership is supported by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.
So, if you want to keep your views, and improve the performance of your existing windows, you can conserve energy consumption while improving comfort. You’ll be maintaining your own home and our collective home – Earth. It doesn’t cost the Earth to live sustainably and comfortably!
Take a peek at the inside of Barrett House on this video or read more about the project at Reduce your footprint
Visit Barrett House in Randwick, to see Magnetite in action this summer!
Stress and Headaches due to work and long travel time are common problems for most commuters. Not surprisingly, the bad news doesn’t stop there. Research done by a scientist in New York City indicates that being exposed to noise can activate our natural stress hormones which affects our happiness and health.
Recently, this issue was reported in the Daily Telegraph. Several decibel tests were carried out along George St Sydney during peak hour. The result shows Sydney pedestrians are being exposed to extremely loud noise, every few seconds, without even realizing it. Buses and trains are ranked among the noisiest forms of public transport as they generate more than 80dB of noise.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has linked traffic noise to sleep disturbance and annoyance. Their report, Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise, reported evidence showing that exposure to high levels of noise increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. An environmental noise expert from UNSW, Prof Gary Housley, reinforced that the report discovered the links between street noise and hypertension leading to heart attacks.
The State Government is trying to reduce noise, through the purchase of quieter buses and trains. However, anyone living on a busy road, bus route or next to a train line would agree that traffic noise can be disruptive and affect the quality of comfort in your home.
Insulating your windows and doors is an effective way to reduce noise. Talk to our team today to help make your home a comfortable and healthy environment for you and your family
To read the full article, click here
World Health Organisation Report: click here
Magnetite’s Melbourne franchise recently completed an installation at the iconic Citiclub building, the former headquarters of the RACV Club in Melbourne CBD. The installation was partly funded through a new scheme set up for commercial buildings called the Australian environmental upgrade fund. Double glazing was chosen to help improve the insulation of the building’s facade. Magnetite’s retrofit double glazing was applied to the hotel section of the building.
“Magnetite’s retrofit system is designed to improve the glazing’s energy performance which in turn improves the NABERS rating. This will make glazing performance an essential element to consider when assessing the value of Melbourne’s existing commercial building stock” said Robert Campbell of Magnetite Melbourne.
The Citiclub upgrade is estimated to improve the energy saving of the building by 27 precent, increasing the NABERS rating from 2 ½ stars to 4 - 4 ½ stars. The financial savings is estimated to be $180,000 per annum giving a return of 17% a year.
Retrofitting Magnetite offers an excellent solution towards a low carbon future. With affordable pricing, this is a perfect fit to the new scheme by the federal government to provide cheaper loans to fund the environmental upgrade of commercial buildings. Dr Chua, the owner of Citiclub, is confident about the payback of his green retrofit.
This green retrofit of the Citiclub is just one of the growing numbers of commercial building green projects that Magnetite is taking part in. Magnetite proudly supports a low carbon Australia
Read the full article here
In November we helped Shaynna and the crew from Selling Houses Australia reduce the noise in this heritage cottage on the outskirts of Sydney. Last week the show went to air and the results exceeded all of our expectations.
This was amazing. In the 14 years that I have been working at Magnetite I have never seen a house in such an awkward situation. Isolated on a grassy area it looked so serene even with train tracks next to the house. When the train came it was a different story. It truly felt like the train might come through the lounge front door before curving at the last moment and passing by the side of the house. If I put my hand out the side lounge room window it felt like I could have given the conductor a high five as he passed by.
The Selling Houses Australia team takes on some of the hardest to sell houses in Australia. They address the real issues facing the property owners and provide current and practical advice on how to sell the impossible.
The cast and owner on this project were fantastic. Shaynna, the designer, was lovely to work with, as were her support team. They all got their hands stuck in and it was amazing to see how the home transformed in such a short time.
The great news was the house sold!
Check out the series link - http://www.lifestyle.com.au/property/selling-houses-australia-series-5-railway-cottage.aspx
Employees at large companies work at different levels of efficiency; some employees are perfectionists, while others do the bare minimum to earn a paycheck. Homes are a lot like employees - some are more efficient than others. Some homes are hard workers; they protect their inhabitants from cold winters, harsh summers, and brutal storms. Other homes are slackers, offering little protection against the elements of nature.
Hard-working homes are energy efficient. They are so well insulated they cost little to run; heating and cooling costs are low, and energy bills are affordable. Rooms are comfortable, temperature-wise, and draughts are nonexistent. Slacker homes, on the other hand, are energy burners. With little insulation and countless air leaks, these homes cost a small fortune to run. The indoor temperature follows the direction of the outdoor thermometer - if the temperature outside drops, so does the temperature inside. The heaters and air conditioner burn more energy to heat and cool a home, increasing energy bills. What should you do if your home is a slacker? Give it a performance review.
A home energy audit is an inspection that measures the energy efficiency of your home. During the inspection, an auditor checks for air leaks and inadequate insulation, the main reasons a home loses heat in winter. If a home turns out to be energy inefficient - in other words, a slacker - an auditor can recommend improvements to increase its efficiency. By making these improvements, a home owner can turn their slacker home into a hard-working one, saving money on energy bills in the process.
Professional auditors use specialized diagnostic tools to find air leaks and cold zones. They also have a working knowledge of building codes; for instance, they know what type of insulation you need in your roof. While you might not have the same tools as the professionals, you can perform a home energy audit of your own - here’s how.
You pay good money to heat your home in winter. But air leaks are like thieves, stealing away all that warmth and replacing it with cold, outside air. By sealing the air leaks in your home, you can save five to 30 percent on your energy bills every year. The benefits are not just monetary - you’ll also have a more comfortable home, eliminating the need for blankets and sweaters in winter and window air conditioners in summer. Air leaks are most commonly found around windows and doors, but you could also have a draft along baseboards and around electrical outlets and switch plates. If you live in a cold weather climate, you’ll know if your home has air leaks - you can feel them. Fortunately, you can also detect drafts when the weather outside is warm. First, close all doors and windows, close your fireplace flue, and turn off the water heater, gas-burning furnace, and other combustion appliances. Next, turn on all the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. The exhaust fans will suck the air out of your home, which draws outside air into your home through air leaks. Take a candle or an incense stick and hold it by all possible sources of drafts - windows, doors, electrical plates, and baseboards. If the smoke blows, you have an air leak. The good news is, air leaks are easy to fix - simply seal the crack with acrylic or latex caulking. Avoid silicone caulking, since it is not paintable.
The exterior of your home should also be airtight. Walk around your home and check for any holes, paying close attention to areas around pipes and electrical outlets. When you find a hole or a crack, caulk it with exterior caulking. You should also run a bead of caulking around your windows and doors - but clean the area first, so the caulking will adhere.
Single pane windows are not energy efficient, but replacing all of the windows in your home is rarely economical, unless you choose secondary panel retrofit windows.
Next, check the insulation in your home. Newer homes are well insulated against cold winters and hot summers. But many older homes lack adequate insulation - the insulation might not be thick enough, or there might be no insulation at all. Think of insulation as a blanket wrapped around your home - just as your toes will get cold if they poke out from under a blanket, your home will get cold if a room is not blanketed in insulation. First, head for the attic. Look at the bottom side of the roof, specifically the openings around chimneys and pipes. If you see holes or gaps around these openings, seal them with expanding foam caulk. Check for a vapor barrier between the attic floor and the insulation. This polyethylene plastic sheet prevents moisture problems. If you can’t find a vapor barrier, hire a contractor to install one, or paint the ceiling under the attic with vapor barrier paint. The insulation on top of the vapor barrier should evenly cover the attic floor. If you can see any of the floor joists, you’ll need to add more insulation; in a properly insulated attic, the floor joists are hidden under layers of insulation. You can add any type of insulation to your attic – make sure you employ an approved installer as it can be dangerous doing it yourself. The overall depth of the insulation on your attic floor should be 10 to 14 inches. Since loose-fill insulation requires the use of a blowing machine, you should hire a professional for the job. And don’t forget to insulate your attic hatch door. Tape insulation to the topside of the hatch door, and weatherstrip the door’s edges to prevent cold air from leaking into your warm home.
For determining the R value of the insulation in your walls, you will need the help of a professional home energy auditor. A professional auditor takes a thermographic scan of the walls in your home, which shows him the warm zones and cold zones. He can see which areas of your home need more insulation without ever cutting a hole in the drywall. If your home’s exterior walls do need additional insulation, you don’t necessarily have to rip apart the drywall. A contractor can help you find alternative ways to insulate your home. You can apply an insulating foam system to the exterior walls, or you can have insulation blown into the cavities between the wall’s wood studs.
Lastly, check all the light bulbs in your house. Have you made the switch to CFL, or are you still using incandescent?
Heating and Cooling
Your furnace and air conditioner play important roles in your home’s energy efficiency, but you cannot inspect either one - you’ll need to schedule yearly inspections for both your furnace and your air conditioner. A qualified service technician will make sure your HVAC system is operating properly and efficiently. But you can do your part to maintain these expensive machines. Change your furnace’s filter regularly - at least once every two months. In winter months, protect your air conditioner from the wind and the snow with a specially designed, breathable air conditioner cover. If your furnace is 15 years old, it might be time to buy a new one. You will soon recoup the cost of a new, energy efficient furnace through the money you save on your monthly energy bills.
A home energy audit lets you know if you’re living in a hard-working home or a slacker home. Slacker homes are bad for your wallet, but they are also bad for the environment. Energy inefficient homes draw more electricity from an overburdened energy grid. And if that electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, it adds to the problem of global warming. By performing a home energy audit, you can help save the planet.