Tyabb Packing House is a rather unique business in many ways, unlike large shopping centres etc that are comparable in detail, though not size, there is not an infinite amount of power available.
Simply put the Tyabb Packing House can only draw a certain amount of power, which it usually does, almost to the limit. Through experimentation and working with our electricians we have discovered exactly where that limit is.
This limit has required some creative implementation of power and heating within Tyabb Packing House over the years.
Tyabb Packing House Antiques' building has core parts which are over 100 years old, some parts are younger, but most are in this age range.
The primary method of cooling the Tyabb Packing House when it operated as a cool store was by suction gas refrigeration through cooling pipes. These cooling pipes still exist in many of the chambers now, and are still greased with grease (which we can attest is still greasy, albeit quite dirty).
The method of insulation is wood shavings, which is why the walls are so thick in the original parts of the building. It is for this reason we take fire safety so seriously, we are fortunate to have the Tyabb CFA next door and enjoy a good relationship with them (for example they use our car park on our non-operating days for training).
When the Martlands had operated Moorooduc it had utilised wood-burning fires to heat the important spaces of that building, with electric heaters taking up the slack.
This was something that couldn't be done at Tyabb. As a predominantly wood-constructed building with loose wood shaving insulation does not mix well with wood-burning fires.
Fortunately Tyabb Packing House is within a commercially-zoned area and the western boundary is with Peacock Lane; where an industrially-sized gas main runs. It is mostly used by Melbourne Jam Manufacturing – locally simply known as the 'jam factory'.
At first for a number of years gas-fuelled pot belly-style gas heaters were utilised within Tyabb Packing House Antiques. These created a small bubble of heat around them, but did not effectively heat the building as a whole.
Then in 2007 the Martlands decided for customer and dealer comfort to install ducted heating throughout Tyabb Packing House.
Now 12 Brivis ducted gas heaters efficiently heat the building. Although with a 100+ year old building there will be some cold patches where the heating doesn't cover absolutely. In all practical senses though, Tyabb Packing House Antiques is kept at a stable warm temperature throughout the winter, a task that given the age and sprawling size of the building is not inconsiderate.
As mentioned above Tyabb Packing House Antiques does not have excess power available, which means we are unable to employ air conditioners to cool the building.
No business that operates at 14 Mornington-Tyabb Road, Tyabb employs air conditioning for the purpose of cooling any of their spaces (this includes all within The Village as well).
Similar to large buildings like Bunnings we simply use fans; large fans along with smaller fans are dotted around Tyabb Packing House Antiques throughout the summer to keep the air moving and cool within the building.
Unfortunately however, the building also holds its heat. If the temperature is above 33ºC over three consecutive days the building does not lose its heat entirely overnight, and inside takes a few days to cool down to its normal temperature.
It is surprising though how cool the interior of the building remains, mostly due to its 'old school' construction with the thick insulation and its original design as a cool store it holds its cold surprisingly well, until we reach that point where it doesn't.
Tyabb Packing House is always looking for ways to be more efficient with our power usage. Recently from 2013-2014 all of the overhead lighting was switched from standard fluorescent lighting to LED tube lighting. While that switch over has changed the overall colour temperature of the interior of the building to a cooler colour temperature (only noticeable in the days following the switch), it has also improved our energy usage (although not to the point where air conditioning might be viable). Utilising these LED lights has meant we no longer need to purchase (and dispose of) fluorescent mercury vapour tubes, as well as improving our energy use.