Efficiency Insight

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

Packed with in depth articles by leading industry thinkers, Efficiency Insight exists to:

  • Foster informed debate about energy management policy and practice in Australia;
  • Raise the profile of demand-side solutions; and
  • Shift the debate around Australia's energy transition from being largely focused on supply-side issues, to viewing demand- and supply-side capacity on an equally important footing.

Efficiency Insight also provides updates on major events and drives collaborative networking between energy management experts, policy makers and energy users. It's a 'must read' for anyone with a professional interest in energy management, energy efficiency and demand response.

Check out past editions via the menu to the left and click here to subscribe to get Efficiency Insight delivered directly to your inbox each month.

Efficiency Insight is complemented by the Council's monthly Professional Development Snapshot, and member-only Monthly policy briefing and Weekly news roundup.

Efficiency Insight - December 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

Video update from the Council's CEO, Luke Menzel

We're nearly there folks. 2020 is almost a wrap, and it has finished with some big news on the energy management front. In this month's short video update I recap the major announcements from around Australia as governments embrace the power of energy efficiency as a key plank of Australia's economic recovery.

And while the holidays are just around the corner, we have some fantastic virtual events coming up next week that you won't want to miss:

Read on for more policy and budget analysis from Rob, a recap of the highlights from the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 and a profile of our 2020 Energy Efficiency Champion, Kellie Caught.

Kind regards,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.


Policy and budget update from Rob Murray-Leach

Conference wrap: 

Efficiency Leaders with Kellie Caught

Welcome to the new Energy Efficiency Couincil Members

Wonderful webinar Wednesday

Energy briefing: the Energy Efficiency Council’s business engagement campaign

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Policy and budget update 

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

In the last two months the Victorian Government announced major policies that have made it the bona fide national leader in energy efficiency.

While Victoria’s leadership is indisputable, there have been huge announcements around the country as governments turn to energy efficiency to create jobs, improve heath, cut bills and cut emissions. In total, government announcements this year will result in over $1 billion of investment in energy efficient equipment and services. 

These announcements follow an extraordinary advocacy effort by a coalition of welfare organisations, environment groups and business associations, who joined forced to argue that energy efficiency should be at the centre of Australia’s stimulus.


On 24 November, the Victorian Government budget committed to:

  • $5.4 billion to build 12,000 public homes that are 7-star efficiency;
  • $335 million to install high-efficiency heat pumps (reverse cycle air conditioners) in 250,000 low-income households;
  • $112 million to upgrade the energy efficiency of 35,000 existing social housing properties;
  • $60 million for energy efficiency in government operations;
  • $31 million in grants to help industry improve its energy management;
  • $21 million for community groups to invest in clean energy upgrades, including energy efficiency;
  • Minimum rental standards for residential rental properties; and
  • Support for builders to develop 7 Star residential buildings, in line with a shift in the National Construction Code (basically a commitment to higher standards for new residential developments).

The details of many of these programs are being finalised as we speak, but the Government has already released the details of its $31 million Business Recovery Energy Efficiency Fund (BREEF). The BREEF includes $24 million for Capital Works Grants for measures such as purchasing and installing energy efficient equipment, and $7 million for Energy Demand Management Grants, which covers some capital costs services such as energy audits, professional advice and implementation of energy management.

While these grants are aimed at large energy users, the Victorian Government has confirmed that to be eligible companies only need to consume 40MWh of electricity a year, rather than have a peak demand of 40MW.

We strongly encourage people to apply for these grants as soon as possible. The government has only announced two rounds of funding, with applications for the first phase closing on 31 December 2020 and the second phase closing on 31 January 2021. While it is possible that the government may consider future rounds of funding, this is by no means certain.

Not content to rest on its laurels, the Victorian Government has also made a raft of announcements relating to its Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program, which requires energy retailers to effectively fund a certain amount of energy efficiency activity each year.

Due to the extraordinary success of Victoria’s efforts to contain COVID-19, on 2 December the Victorian Premier announced that the state would move to the last step of its roadmap to reopening the state. While businesses still need to have up-to-date COVIDSafe Plans for each workplace, residential activities and doorknocking for lead generation are now permitted. 

Then on 8 December the Victorian Government announced that it would significantly raise the target for the. The targets for the VEU for 2022 to 2025 will be:

  • 6.7 million certificates in 2022
  • 6.9 million certificates in 2023
  • 7.1 million certificates in 2024
  • 7.3 million certificates in 2025.

These are the targets that were proposed by the Victorian Government in late 2019, but the announcement on the targets was delayed due to COVID-19. These targets represent a roughly 13 per cent expansion in the number of certificates generated by the VEU over the period 2021-2025 compared to 2016-2020, but changes in the emissions factors for electricity could result in a very significant expansion of the program. More information on the VEU targets can be found here.

Australian Capital Territory

On 2 November the ACT Government released a Parliamentary Agreement between ACT Labor and ACT Greens which made a number of significant commitments in relation to energy efficiency, including:

  • $50 million over five years to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of social and low-income rental houses;
  • Implementing a program of zero-interest loans of up to $15,000 for households and not-for-profit community organisations to invest in clean energy upgrades, including energy efficiency;
  • Minimum rental standards for residential rental properties in 2021 with progressive implementation over the coming years;
  • Stronger energy efficiency standards for new buildings; and
  • Transition towards all-electric new homes and infill developments.

It is notable that both Victoria and ACT have significantly invested in upgrading social and low-income housing, which will deliver very large health benefits. In New Zealand, every dollar invested in upgrading vulnerable homes through the ‘Warmer Kiwi Home’ program has been estimated to deliver over $7 in benefits, largely through reductions in health costs. However, upgrading social housing can also act as an important incubator to develop the residential retrofit industry. While many households wouldn’t even know where to start in terms of engaging experts, governments can demand high quality of service.

It is also notable that both Victoria and the ACT have committed to providing minimum standards for rental homes. While this will help lower energy bills, just as critically it will ensure that more Australians live in homes that are safe in both summer and winter. We hope that more jurisdictions will follow the example set by Victoria and the ACT.

South Australia and Queensland

South Australia has become a global leader in clean energy, and is now turning to energy management to ensure that energy is affordable and reliable. On 10 November, the South Australian Government committed $60 million to upgrade the energy efficiency of government buildings – this is easily the largest per capita investment in energy efficiency in government efficiency in Australia.

The announcement was welcomed by an extraordinary coalition of groups, including the Property Council of Australia, Climate Council, Conservation Council of South Australia, Energy Efficiency Council, Green Building Council of Australia and Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council.

With the Victorian Government also committing $60 million to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings, and the Queensland Government committing $30 million for energy efficiency and clean energy in hospitals, the government energy efficiency sector has been completely turbocharged.

On 26 November the South Australian Government also gazetted the regulations that will underpin their Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS), which will replace the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES). While the transition from REES to REPS has been challenging, I’d like to recognise the significant effort that the South Australian Government has made to turn this around.

Federal Government

As I discussed in our October newsletter, on 6 October the Federal Government’s budget committed to:

  • $1.4 billion in core funding for ARENA
  • $96.5 million over six years to a Technology Co-Investment fund to help business adopt technology that increase productivity and reduce emissions, with around $68 million spent via ARENA. The details of this policy are unclear.
  • $12 million in grants to upgrade the efficiency of small hotels and pubs;
  • $12 million in grants to upgrade the efficiency of community facilities; and
  • $28 million for a range of unspecified energy efficiency measures, such as the NABERS program and Low Emissions Trajectory for buildings.

The Government has been working to develop the details of many these programs, and we expect more announcements in the coming months.


The International Energy Agency has released its annual report on energy management issues, Energy Efficiency 2020. This report highlights the major risk that the recession related to COVID-19 could reduce business investment in energy efficiency, but also highlights the potential role that government policy can play in driving up energy efficiency and creating jobs. This report is essential reading for everyone in the sector.


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Wrap of the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020

We've been overwhelmed with the positive feedback around the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020. With over 575 registered attendees, five ministers an absolute stellar line-up of local and international experts, this was easily our largest conference to date.

There was a huge amount of nuance and detail in the 23 sessions, and I strongly recommend that people who weren’t able to attend the conference purchase the Access Pass which will enable you to watch all the recordings and download presentations.

Looking back, six key themes emerged from the Conference this year.

Energy efficiency is smart stimulus

The first is that governments around the world are turning to energy efficiency as a critical form of stimulus. As the International Energy Agency have said, energy efficiency is a jobs machine, but it also boosts the long-term wellbeing and productivity of Australia. Closer to home, Victoria announced the largest package of investments in energy efficiency in Australian history and other ministers echoed this sentiment:

“Victoria is putting energy efficiency at the heart of its economic recovery – it’s a big bang for our investment buck.” 

Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change  

“We need to build back better. We need to make sure we come out of this pandemic better than we did. We can do this by implementing measures like energy efficiency to deliver cheap electricity and productivity.” 

Hon Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment 

“There’s a real consensus in Canada that energy efficiency is a key pathway to economic recovery and job creation.” 

Joyce Henry, Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada

Health benefits are huge

The second key message is that retrofitting buildings will be a key part of stimulus, in part because of the enormous benefits to health and wellbeing. Europe is aiming high with a retrofitting wave, but it is far from alone.

“Every dollar spent on residential retrofits in New Zealand is delivering $4.50 in benefits” 

Andrew Caseley, Chief Executive, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, New Zealand 

Energy management is the new black

Third, there are huge opportunities for business if they adopt energy management systems. The global experience is that while ISO 50,001 provides a gold standard for energy management for larger energy users, for many smaller energy users it makes sense to adopt simpler energy management systems. However, a key element of better energy management is moving away from payback period to lifecycle savings.

"The more you invest in being as efficient as possible, the more you invest in your future competitiveness”

Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action

The big shift to electrification is underway

Fourth, rising gas prices, climate change and rapidly evolving technologies are fundamentally shifting us towards electricity. Many developers are already building all-electric homes, and emerging technologies are making it easier for businesses to transition off gas. While governments will play a key role in this transition, households and businesses themselves are major drivers in the move to electricity. 

“We can create a future without gas. We will work with households and businesses to make that transition over the next couple of decades. We are already seeing a considerable consumer-led move away from gas”

Hon Shane Ratternbury MLA, ACT Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction

We need to put efficiency at the heart of our energy markets

Fifth, our electricity systems themselves are transforming. The rapid uptake of solar PV and other variable forms of generation are placing a real premium on ‘demand flexibility’ – not just reducing demand during peak periods, but also increasing demand to absorb the output of solar PV in the middle of the day. Large energy users can already access cost-reflective wholesale prices to cut their energy bills, but to optimise our energy system we need further changes to both put ‘efficiency first’ and embrace flexible demand.

“Every customer can participate in the market and be smarter about buying and using energy”

Matthew van der Linden, CEO, Flow Power 

“The principle of ‘Efficiency First’ gives priority to demand side resources whenever they are more cost effective from a societal perspective than investments in energy infrastructure.”

Dr Jan Rosenow, European Program Director, Regulatory Assistance Program

“It’s clear that we need to upgrade the energy efficiency scheme to an energy productivity scheme. We need energy productivity as much as we need to reduce energy consumption”

Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP
South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining

Energy efficiency has a crucial role in the transition to net zero emissons

Finally, we heard from both global and local leaders about major businesses and governments setting serious goals to move to net zero emissions in order to address climate change. There are a plethora of good reasons to focus on energy efficiency, including job-creation, productivity and improved health. However, investment in energy efficiency will be cemented in coming years by its central role in meeting climate goals.

“Australia will need to transition – seventy percent of our trading partners have net zero goals”

Zali Steggall, OAM MP
Federal Member for Warringah

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Efficiency Leaders with Kellie Caught

The 2020 National Energy Efficiency Awards crowned Kellie Caught, Senior Adviser, Climate and Energy with Australian Couincil of Social Service (ACOSS) as the 2020 Energy Efficiency Champion.

This month we’re profiling Kellie, who is a tireless advocate and formidable campaigner for both energy efficiency and the needs of all Australians, particularly vulnerable households. 

What is ACOSS' role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

ACOSS' vision is to end poverty in all its forms; create economies that are fair, sustainable and resilient; and build communities that are just, peaceful and inclusive.

We view energy as an essential service, it is critical to the health, wellbeing, economic participation and social inclusion of all people in Australia. Yet there are many Australians who experience energy debt, deprivation and disconnection and are unable to afford energy to sustain reasonable living standards.

ACOSS advocates for policies and measures now and as part of the energy transition, to eliminate energy vulnerability and ensure people have access to clean, affordable and dependable energy to sustain reasonable living standards.

What do you enjoy about working for ACOSS?

I love the strong alignment with my personal values, contributing the policy change to improve the lives of people experiencing disadvantage, and working with passionate, smart, people across a range of sectors on shared objectives.

How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?

As many in this challenging year, we connect via Zoom, Slack, Whatsapp, email, text, phone, and often via photos of pets, kids, food and nature.

What is something you enjoy about working from home?

I enjoy having my two Jack Russel’s – Skitttles and Xena – around during workhours, although I’m a little envious when they a snoozing and chasing the postie!

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

I think I have had more success with advocating for energy efficiency with the federal government than my 12 year old! The challenges of being a parent aside, we have been fortunate enough to recently build a new home that is 7.5 star rated, all electric home, with heat pump hot water, ceiling fans, solar panels and battery. 

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

Excited that there is a joint federal, state and territory work program looking at how to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, as this will make a huge impact on energy affordability, health and wellbeing of millions of people.

Why do you value working with the Energy Efficiency Council?

I value the ongoing collaboration we have had with EEC and staff over the years. We have been fortunate to deliver forums together, release polling, develop policy and do joint advocacy. EEC is knowledgeable and strategic.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

Well, that really depends on a range of factors, see for example ACOSS submission to post 2025 market design. I do see it being cleaner, more decentralised and efficient, but there is a risk that the market is more complex and increases the divide between the haves and the have nots. Being people focused, think long-term and be just and fair will be critical to getting policy setting rights.

When not immersed in Australia’s energy transition, what do you do for fun?

Play strategy board games – Settlers of Catan is my current favourite. Bring it on!

Check out all of the 2020 National Energy Efficiency Awards winners here, and you can watch Kellie's interview with Luke here, and the other Awards recordings here.


Welcome to new Energy Efficiency Council Members

2020 has been a year like no other. As the world grapples with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around Australia have recognised the value of energy efficiency as both economic stimulus, and as a way for government to reduce its own costs - see Luke's CEO update above.

The Energy Efficiency Council - along with our formal NGO Partners and other partners - have been instrumental in prosecuting the idea of an efficient recovery, and supporting government with developing policies and programs that do just that - see Rob's policy update above.

We wouldn't be able to undertake the important work that we do without the support of our members. Of course, membership enables the Council to advance its advocacy agenda, but members' involvement in task groups ensures that we're advocating for the best outcomes for the energy management industry.

And our strong and growing membership base only strengthens our messages. We’d like to thank all of our existing members for their ongoing support and commitment to our vision - especially in these unprecedented times - and we are delighted to welcome our newest members to our growing community:


Pedleys Solar

Pedleys Solar was established in 1978 as a local electrical services company. Our commitment to our clients and employees is the driving force behind its growth, which has allowed Pedleys to provide communities with exceptional workmanship for more than 40 years. 

Thanks to Pedleys highly trained team of CEC Accredited electricians, they are able to offer the highest standard of workmanship in locations all over South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.


Energy Efficiency Group

Energy Efficiency Group (EE Group) encompasses a number of companies operating across Australia, including:

  • Insulation Extract, a Perth-based insulation removal and installation company;
  • Perth Gutter Guards, Perth's premium installer and supplier of gutter guards and roofing products in Western Australia;
  • WA Insulation, the trusted Insulation providers for both residential and commercial builders in Western Australia; and
  • Brisbane Insulation, the trusted provider for insulation services throughout Queensland.


The Enviroflex team are dedicated insulation specialists committed to improving thermal and acoustic comfort and reducing energy costs and carbon footprints. All staff are trained by the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries (AWCI) and its manufacturing partners to ensure optimal results.

Enviroflex partners with several government programs improving insulation in Department of Human Services homes, a variety of rebate programs and they support charitable initiatives to assist people who are marginalised.

Today Enviroflex produce cellulose for manufacturers of Brake Pads, Hydro Mulch and Oil Spill kits and partner with market leading manufacturers who share the commitment to customer satisfaction, product quality and the environment.

Switch Automation

Switch Automation is a smart building platform to drive efficiency, sustainability and comfort. The Switch Platform integrates building data, systems and equipment to give actionable insights into site and portfolio performance. The Switch Platform helps equip teams with a digital facilities management strategy that helps them make effective, timely decisions. Reduce operating and energy costs while delivering an exceptional tenant experience.


Australian Wind and Solar

Australian Wind and Solar (AWS) are a subsidiary of ADANT Services Group Pty Ltd. AWS has considerable experience within the Renewable Energy field, Construction industry and Domestic Electrical work. They are committed to Residential, Commercial, Rural, Off-Grid and Grid-Connected solar and wind solutions. All its PV and Wind systems are designed and installed under the requirements of the Clean Energy Council and are guided by the requirements of the Safety Standards in the Electrical Industry.

Easy Being Green

Easy Being Green is the original, and arguably, Australia’s largest energy efficiency operator, organising mass consumer action on energy efficiency. Established in 2004, Easy Being Green has provided energy efficient solutions to over 800,000 Australian households and businesses installing LED lights, solar panels and solar batteries all over Sydney and Melbourne.

Through Easy Being Green’s various energy efficiency projects, they have managed to stop more than 5 million tonnes of carbon pollution from going into the atmosphere, equivalent to taking around 1.2 million cars off the road!

Easy Being Green doesn’t believe in just talking about the world’s environmental problems, they get out there and do something about it. By working in partnership with other Australians, Easy Being Green is bringing about real and measurable change.


Exergenics makes next generation central plant optimisation software that integrates easily into existing Building Management Systems.

Advanced analytical algorithms, coupled with a smart IoT controller, deliver energy and peak demand savings of up to 20% without sacrificing occupant comfort. Exergenics’ optimisation engine combines the next generation of Big Data and AI software to ensure that every plant is operating at peak performance. Every Box comes with a performance guarantee and simplified M&V reporting.

Exergenics’ powerful optimisation engine has won 2020 Innovation Awards from both the Green Building Council of Australia and Engineers Australia.

MG Consulting

MG Consulting has a highly qualified and experienced team of measurement and verification professionals (CMVP) who are certified to identify potential energy savings within an organisation. The team conducts: Energy Audits, Energy Management Systems, Measurement and Verification, and General Energy Studies.

Sound advice is only one part of an integrated approach to energy management. Energy efficient upgrades, energy monitoring and commercial solar systems all contribute importantly in helping to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use and consumption.


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Wonderful webinar Wednesday

Though we’ve nearly made it to the end of the year, there are a couple of additional virtual events happening in the lead-up to the summer holidays. Indeed, we’ve got a jam-packed full Wednesday next week.

Greener Government Buildings: green stimulus for an efficient recovery

3pm – 4pm AEDT, Wednesday 16 December

The Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings (GGB) program supports energy efficiency initiatives in public buildings to lower energy costs, reduce emissions and create jobs through energy performance initiatives including lighting and HVAC upgrades, solar PV installation and building automation and controls. In recognition of the program's role in energy savings and job creation, the Victorian Government recently announced $50 million towards the GGB program over the next four years beginning in FY2021.

Established in 2009, 30 projects have been completed to date, resulting in $338 million in energy savings and 686,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement each year. Buildings that have been upgraded using GGB funding include:

  • Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG);
  • Federation Square; and
  • Museums Victoria buildings.

While great efficiency gains have been achieved through the program in the past decade, there is still much work to do to improve the efficiency of government buildings in Victoria. Join the Energy Efficiency Council and the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance to discuss the significant opportunities presented by the program. 


  • Luke Menzel, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Efficiency Council


  • The Hon. Danny Pearson MP, Victorian Assistant Treasurer
  • Sam Burke, Director, Land and Property, Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance

Date and time:

3.15pm – 4pm AEDT, Wednesday 16 December

Further, faster, together: Australian-German collaboration on energy efficiency in buildings

6pm – 8pm AEDT, Wednesday 16 December

Delivered jointly by the Energy Efficiency Council, the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Adelphi, this exclusive webinar will explore the significant opportunities for Australia and Germany to work together to harness the power of energy efficiency in buildings to kick-start economic activity, strengthen trade links, improve health and wellbeing, and cut carbon.

While Australia has had great success with its world leading NABERS and Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) programs, Germany has been leading the way in energy efficiency in buildings with energy performance labelling and financing to support upgrades.

Panellists – including the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Carsten Müller, Member of the German Bundestag and Chair of the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) – will look at Australian and German experiences – including recent economic stimulus measures in both nations – and discuss areas where Germany and Australia can collaborate to get further, faster on the energy efficiency agenda.



Date and time:

6pm – 8pm AEDT / 8am – 10am CET, Wednesday 16 December


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Energy briefing: the Energy Efficiency Council’s business engagement campaign

Holly Taylor, Senior Manager, Projects and Partnerships, Energy Efficiency Council

The 2020 energy landscape is vastly different to that which came before

When we launched the first annual edition of Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: a briefing for Australian businesses in 2018, it was in response to the massive price spikes in the unit cost of both electricity and gas that dominated the headlines in 2017. We sought to explain what was driving the transformation underway in Australia’s energy system, the domestic and global factors influencing energy prices, and the opportunities for business to manage this uncertainty with a proactive strategy that reduced their exposure to volatile energy markets.

While the energy landscape of 2020 is vastly different, it is no less dynamic. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the wholesale costs of electricity and gas come down, although long-lived contracts mean many businesses are not benefiting from these drops. And while these cost reductions are welcome, the underlying fundamentals in both electricity and gas markets suggest prices at these levels are unlikely to be sustained as the local and global economy recovers.

As businesses deal with the first recession in thirty years and the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression, their priorities around energy investments are shifting. Cost management is more crucial than ever. But for some, planned capital investments have been scaled back or stopped, with focus shifting to tuning and system optimisation.

However, businesses that are leading on energy strategy are running the ruler over the Federal Government’s new, time-limited immediate expensing provisions. They have recognised that these provisions represent an unprecedented opportunity to make strategic investments in assets that drive major energy productivity improvements.

Read more in the third edition of Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: a briefing for Australian businesses.

Given this, the time is ripe for Australian businesses to realise the benefits of smart energy management. And as we come to a close on 2020, following the launch of three briefings to support Australian businesses with managing the risks, and capturing the opportunities, of Australia’s energy transition, we’re looking forward to a busy 2021.

Supporting businesses on the ground

Next year we’ll be working closely with key partner organisations like Ai Group, Business Australia, CitySwitch and more to promote the energy management opportunities available to manufacturers and offices. And we’ll also be launching a sector spotlight for agribusinesses, and working with the Farmers Federations to support their members with improving the energy performance and realising the financial and environmental benefits of doing so.

We’ll continue to invite leading businesses to share their energy management insights – and  if you missed the launch of any of our briefings, we invite you to watch the recordings on YouTube now. We look forward to getting back to some IRL business engagement opportunities – and continuing to host webinars to further the reach beyond the big cities.

Keep an eye on and your inboxes for upcoming events.

Energy upskilling for business advisors

In 2020 we also piloted energy literacy programs for business advisors, upskilling them with the knowledge they need to give their clients confidence in making energy and carbon management investments. And as we look to 2021, we’ll be looking to expand that program to grow demand for energy management products and services that deliver real savings for businesses across the country.

New resources to support businesses

There is a wealth of resources available at to support businesses – and indeed business advisors and energy services providers – with successfully navigating Australia’s energy transition, and indeed, improving productivity in the wake of the recession. In particular, in recent months we launched:

Also check out the launch recordings on YouTube, noting of course that the sector spotlight for office-based businesses was only launched yesterday, so the video will be up before the end of the week!

Further resources will be added throughout 2021.

What’s next?

In 2020 Australian businesses have had it harder than ever, but in 2021, with some assistance from trusted advisors, and support from Government – like the Federal Government’s instant asset write-offs – businesses will be able to have an efficient recovery, and a prosperous future.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Energy Efficiency Council is supporting businesses with improving their energy management, please contact Holly Taylor, Senior Manager, Projects and Partnerships at


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Efficiency Insight - October 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

Video update from the Council's CEO, Luke Menzel


Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Policy update from Rob Murray-Leach

Budget wrap: new energy spending and business support from the Federal Govenment

NEEC speakers announced

Cold home in winter? Hot house in summer? It doesn't have to be this way

New EnMS advisor training program dates

Energy briefing event at EE Expo: Navigating a dynamic energy landscape

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Policy update 

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

COVID and the energy efficiency sector 

With COVID-19 cases declining in Victoria, the Victorian Government has started to reduce restrictions on business activities. The Victorian government has released guidelines for Small Scale Construction that cover energy efficiency upgrades, including:

  • Upgrades to commercial buildings are now permitted as long as the site is not occupied at the time of the upgrade (e.g. upgrades take place outside business hours); and
  • Upgrades to residential buildings are currently only permitted if the site is vacant (i.e. there is no-one currently living at the site). Doorknocking remains forbidden.

Restrictions in Victoria are expected to be further lifted in mid-to-late October, subject to further reductions in new COVID-19 cases.

A range of organisations are starting to release more detailed assessments on the likely impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian economy. We’d encourage members to treat projections with even more cautions than usual – we really are in uncharted territory at the moment. 

While housing sales are currently recovering outside Victoria, the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) chief economist Tim Reardon has projected that dwelling construction will drop rapidly over the next three years, due to a reductions in immigration and spending power. This impact will vary dramatically between detached houses and apartments – HIA projects that the number of detached houses that will start being constructed in 2021/22 (‘starts’) will only be about 9 per cent lower than in 2019/20, but the number of apartment starts will be 45 per cent lower in 2021/22 than in 2019/20. The difference in the projections for detached houses and apartments is partly due to the faster fall-off for demand in city centres and increased demand for larger dwellings that include home offices.

The Energy Efficiency Council continues to advise governments that increasing demand for retrofitting existing homes to make them safer and more energy efficient could provide work for many of the people that will have less opportunities in new construction. Data from the International Energy Agency and International Monetary Fund (see below) highlights that energy efficiency retrofits is one of the most jobs-intensive areas for stimulus spending. However, we do caution that governments will also need to invest in upskilling to roll out retrofits at scale. 


Construction and manufacturing jobs created per million dollars of capital investment in the Sustainable Recovery Plan

A range of think tanks and industry bodies have continued to call for stimulus to be focussed on energy efficiency. Recently, Clean State, a Western Australian non-profit organisation for action on climate change released a plan to create 200,000 jobs in Western Australia. Two major contributors to jobs are:

  • Building 15,000 new low-carbon social housing homes (59,660 jobs); and
  • Repowering and retrofitting WA’s existing 44,000 social housing homes (3,830 jobs).


Energy efficiency schemes

The South Australian Government has released a consultation paper on the Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS) that will replace the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES). The EEC has significant concerns about the timeline for finalising the details of the REPS and the lack of a transition period between the REES and REPS. We met with South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan on 1 October and will continue to engage with the South Australian Government to address this issue. Submission on the REPS are due by this Friday 9 October.

Activity under the he Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program remains subdued due to restrictions associated with COVID-19. The Victorian Government has also released a paper setting out its final decision to wind back incentives for lighting. The Government received strong feedback from industry that the original timeline for reducing incentives for lighting was too aggressive, and will now stage the reduction of incentives over several years. The Essential Services Commission also released a report on the performance of the VEU in 2019

The next stage of consultation on the NSW Energy Saving Scheme is expected later in 2020.


Liddell Taskforce

On 17 September the Australian Government and NSW Government released their joint Liddell Taskforce’s final report. The Liddell Taskforce was asked to identify issues and potential solutions associated with the closure of the Liddell Power Station in 2022.

When the Hazelwood Power Station closed in 2017, the rapid reduction in generation capacity resulted in an increase in energy prices. The Taskforce concluded that the closure of Liddell Power Station will likely have a much smaller impact on prices than Hazelwood, as there will be more excess capacity in NSW in 2022 than there was in Victoria in 2017. The Taskforce estimated that the wholesale electricity price in NSW would rise from about $60/MWh to around $75/MWh after the closure of Liddell, although it cautions that any estimate of price modelling could be inaccurate.

The Energy Efficiency Council and Australian Industry Group provided a joint submission to the Taskforce, and it appears they took our views on board. Of particular relevance for energy management, the Taskforce modelled that unspecified energy efficiency programs would deliver 240MW of firm supply by 2023/24, and the Taskforce recommended that:

“Governments could focus on developing demand-side measures as one part of the solution, through promoting uptake of demand response, distributed energy resources integration, and energy efficiency as a low-cost, short-term response to a Liddell exit, and to facilitate the longer-term transition.”


Post-2025 Energy Market Design

On 7 September the Energy Security Board (ESB) released a consultation paper on potentially major shifts to the design of the National Electricity Market. Submissions on the consultation paper are due on 19 October.


Global research

The EEC’s cousin in the US, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), is an absolute powerhouse of great research on energy efficiency. I highly recommend that people check out their research page, but I wanted to summarise two great reports.

First, a report on the impact of energy efficiency ratings on homes when they are advertised for sale online. The authors conducted an experiment with online real-estate listings, and found that when potential buyers were presented with information on the energy efficiency of properties, they clicked on the most efficient homes 14 per cent more often than if no information on efficiency was presented, and buyers clicked on the least efficient homes 23 per cent less often. This shows that energy efficiency ratings can have a real impact on purchasing decisions.

The authors also tested four ways of displaying energy efficiency information: a rating on a continuous line (from inefficient to efficient); a score (1-10); an estimate of the annual energy bills; or a ‘voluntary scheme’ that just showed scores for the best rated homes. Interestingly, out of the ‘mandatory options’, the line-rating way the most impactful, the score less impactful, the estimate of the annual bills the least impactful. This makes sense, because energy efficiency ratings also communicate comfort and quality information which is completely lost in a display that is just the energy costs. The voluntary option was the least impactful of all the options, and clear evidence that we need to move rapidly from voluntary to mandatory ratings for home efficiency.

A second report that I think is particularly critical for Australia is using health funding to drive energy efficiency upgrades for low income households. Research from New Zealand has found that retrofitting low-income housing delivers massive benefits for health, with every dollar of government investment in its Warmer Kiwi Homes program delivering $6 of benefits, largely in reduced public health costs. While the focus of this report is squarely focussed on the US, it highlights the potential opportunities for Australia.

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Budget wrap: new energy spending and business support from the Federal Government

Rob Murray-Leach and Katie Bartrop break down the Federal budget and what it means for the energy management sector.

Energy announcements and the Low Emissions Technology Statement – Rob Murray-Leach

The last month has seen a raft of new spending measures announced by the Australian Government, much of it underpinned by the First Low Emissions Technology Statement, which was released on 22 September. This is the first edition of a planned annual statement that will act as a rolling outline of priorities for R&D investment in low emissions technologies to guide the activity of government bodies.

Let’s cut to the chase. There’s a genuine need for investment in research and development of low carbon technologies - but this needs to be a complement to, not a substitute for, deploying mature technologies. However, the Ministerial foreword states ‘the Government’s emissions reduction strategy is focussed on technology not taxes’, which means that the Morrison Government still doesn’t have a real strategy to reduce emissions.

This lack of broader policy drivers remains a profound problem. However, it is worth considering the Low Emissions Technology Statement, on its own terms, as a framework for research and development spending. The Statement identifies five ‘priority technologies’ for - hydrogen, energy storage, low-carbon materials (steel and aluminium), soil carbon and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Four of these are pretty reasonable, but there are significant omissions, and the billions spent on CCS research over the last three decades have delivered very little return on investment; hopefully this new research is carefully targeted at hard to abate industrial emissions where it is actually justified. 

The Statement categorises energy efficiency and digitisation as ‘enabling technologies’, which are necessary for large-scale deployment of priority and emerging technologies. While this means that energy efficiency won’t receive as much attention as the five priority technologies, the government will support energy efficiency through some technology investments, and there is the prospect that specific energy efficiency technologies get elevated to priority technologies in future statements. 

Accordingly, energy efficiency will continue to be supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), and the Australian Government will widen the mandate of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to cover energy efficiency. The Government will also continue to pursue enabling policies such as minimum standards, building codes and benchmarking.

On 16 September, to support the launch of the Statement, the Morrison Government announced $1.4 billion in core funding for ARENA, $52 million for energy efficiency and $94 million for a Technology Co-Investment Fund. On 6 October the Australian Government released its Budget for 2020-21, which did not announce any significant additional measures for energy, but confirmed the amounts and timing of funding.

Looking across several documents, we know that the Government has allocated $1.4 billion in core funding for ARENA, but it’s over a very long 12-year period. The Government has also announced roughly $200 million of additional funding for specific programs that ARENA will administer. Even taking this into account, it looks like the annual funding for ARENA will drop by over 50 per cent compared to the last eight years. The Government has flagged that ARENA will likely receive top-up funding for specific initiatives in future years allocated through normal budget processes. 

For energy efficiency, the Government has allocated $52.2 million over 5 years. This appears to include:

  • $12 million in grants to upgrade the energy efficiency of small hotels and pubs;
  • $12 million in grants to upgrade the energy efficiency of community facilities; and
  • $28 million for a range of unspecified measures. We understand that this will include funding measures such as the ongoing operation and expansion of the NABERS program and the Low Emission Trajectory for buildings.

The Government has committed $95.4 million over six years to the Technology Co-Investment Fund, to help businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and transport sectors to adopt technologies that increase productivity and reduce emissions. It appears that $68 million of this funding will be spent via ARENA and $27.4 million through other routes. The nature of the Technology Co-Investment Fund is currently unclear, but it’s possible that it might be used to support innovative practices such as heat pumps in industry. 

There is no more information currently available on these measures, but we have engaged with the relevant departments and will update members as soon as further information is available.

General business support in the Federal budget – Katie Bartrop 

The budget also included a range of general business measures that will directly support companies in the energy management sector, and in some cases will support businesses to invest in energy efficiency upgrades.

  • Extension of the existing instant asset write-off scheme until 30 June 2021.
    • businesses with a turnover of up to $500 million able to immediately deduct several assets, including new and secondhand, worth up to $150,000 each.

This extension allows businesses already holding assets under the scheme an additional six months to first use or install eligible assets. However, the big news is that this program is being transitioned to a much more generous program from today:

  • Immediate expensing from 6 October until 30 June 2022 
    • businesses with a turnover of up to $5 billion will be able to:
      • immediately deduct the full cost of a new, eligible asset installed or ready for use by 30 June 2022, with no limit on asset value.
      • immediately deduct the full cost of improvements made to existing depreciable assets by 30 June 2022.
    • SMEs with a turnover up to $50 million will be able to immediately deduct the cost of all secondhand assets installed or ready for use by 30 June 2022;

Importantly, these measures can help build the case for companies that wish to invest in energy productivity enhancing equipment.

Other general measures include:

  • Loss carry-back means that businesses with a turnover of up to $5 billion will receive a cash refund of taxes paid on previous profits if they post a loss; and
  • JobMaker scheme provides incentives to hire employees, apprentices and trainees
    • JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme provides up to $10,400 per employee aged 35 years old or younger, hired from 7 October 2020 to 6 October 2021;
      • There are no turnover limits on employer eligibility, however there must be an increase in employee headcount. An employer claiming JobKeeper does not qualify;
      • The new employee must be working an average of 20+ hours per week over each quarter, and have received JobSeeker, youth allowance or parenting payment in at least one of the three months before being hired; and
    • Expansion of the wage subsidy scheme for apprentices and trainees until 30 September 2021, where employers will receive a 50% subsidy (max $7K per quarter) of the first year of a new apprentice or trainee’s wages.

The above is not exhaustive and is provided as guidance only. Online guidance from the Government beyond the budget itself is currently limited – for further details we strongly recommend consulting your financial advisor.

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NEEC Speakers announced

The National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 program is now available!

Taking place at the start of a critical decade for Australia’s energy transition, the Conference is a must attend event for anyone with an interest in building an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system for Australia.

Early bird registrations for the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 close COB Sunday 11 October!

Click the links below to view registration options and secure your early bird tickets now. Early bird rates won’t hang around for long, so book now!


Speaker announcement

We are delighted to announce some of the national and international experts that will be speaking at the Conference. Stay tuned for more announcements coming over the next few weeks!

Cold home in winter? Hot house in summer? It doesn't have to be this way

By Julianne Tice

Winter 2020 was uncomfortable for many of us who were stuck at home in a cold, inefficient home. For many, it was the first time spending the entire day at home, running the heater constantly. If you were lucky, running the heater wasn’t a financial issue. For some, this became an issue for the first time due to job loss. For others, this was not a new phenomenon.

Australia has poor quality housing stock

As a recent transplant to Australia, I continue to be shocked by the quality, or lack thereof, of the housing stock in a country which is far more advanced in many other areas. In my experience in the US, though the housing stock is far from perfect, well-sealed and insulated is the norm. It is unusual to be in a building and feel cold. In Australia, on the other hand, the norm seems to be to accept the cold indoor temperatures and numb extremities and mostly wait for the winter to pass, or else rack up the heating bill. And live the exact opposite in summer. This option doesn’t work for everyone; many people are forced to skip meals in order to afford to heat their home. Otherwise, people ration heating in order to avoid exorbitant bills – in fact, too many older Australians die in their own home from too-cold temperatures because they ration heating.

It is estimated that around 3,000 Australians die during periods of hot and cold weather each year, and Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have higher cold-associated mortality rates than Stockholm, Sweden.

Renters and those on low incomes lack the power to make significant improvements

No one wants to suffer in a cold home, and not everyone can afford to or has the power to do something about it. Renters are at the mercy of landlords to get efficient heaters installed, which are not even a legal requirement in rental properties. Sure, there are some small steps we can take to improve the efficiency and comfort of our homes – like fill gaps and cracks with caulk and put bubble wrap on windows – but we can’t make more substantial upgrades like installing insulation or doing more comprehensive draught sealing. Plus, I like seeing out of my windows.

Regardless of their employment status or whether they rent, own, or live in public or social housing, no one should have to suffer in a cold home. And in the coming months, no one should have to suffer in a hot home, either. The good news is, there is something that can be done about it.

Australians have historically cared more about marble benchtops than well-insulated walls, but as we build the demand for affordable, comfortable and healthy homes, that will change.

How to make homes healthier and more comfortable in three steps

First, we need mandatory disclosure of energy performance ratings in existing buildings, including rental properties. This would mean that potential renters and buyers would know what level of comfort and energy bill expense to expect before they move in. As has been pointed out, this will require a qualified pool of assessors and ideally, a nationally unified energy rating system, like NatHERS, which currently rates only new buildings.

Next, we need minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings and homes. Right now, the minimum standard does not exist. That’s right, a landlord can rent out a house with no insulation to speak of and as draughty as can be while leaving the renter to deal with single-digit indoor temperatures in winter. This has been my experience. These properties are essentially glorified tents.

Of course, you can buy a house in the same condition, but owner-occupiers have the power to make upgrades to a home. And even if you do make an arrangement with your landlord, you can’t be certain that you won’t have to move the following year. If you own your home, you should add insulation and draught seal – not only is retrofitting your home cost-effective, but the increases in thermal comfort you will experience will be priceless.

Finally, we need to retrofit Australia’s existing housing stock to a level that is healthy, comfortable and affordable for its inhabitants. Here’s more good news: retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient is an excellent economic stimulus measure because it’s a ‘jobs machine’. Groups have been calling for energy efficiency in the economic recovery – an ‘efficient recovery’ – for months. In addition to creating jobs, energy efficiency eases energy bill stress, makes businesses more productive and resilient, and is a source of low-cost emissions reductions.

So what’s next?

Insulation is essential to making buildings healthy and comfortable, and it can be installed safely through energy efficiency retrofits. However, the only energy efficiency scheme that currently incentivises insulation is the ACT’s Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme. Insulation is safe, and people without it in their home are suffering health consequences and energy bill stress.

Though insulation is required in new buildings, it is not widely installed in existing buildings. That’s why the Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Built Environment Council (ASBEC) have developed a consultation paper on developing an industry-led roadmap for quality control and safety in the installation of insulation in buildings. Through consultation with industry, governments and other invested organisations, the roadmap will enable insulation to deliver comfortable, healthy buildings to Australians.

The EEC and ASBEC will be holding a public webinar on 12 October from 3:30-5pm AEDT to review the consultation paper and to take questions and allow attendees to participate in facilitated discussion. After consultation, recommendations will be made to governments and industry to ensure that we can reap the benefits of affordable and comfortable buildings.

Please join us on 12 October for the informational webinar. The consultation paper is currently available for public comment until 30 October. For more information, email


Julianne Tice is Project Officer at the Energy Efficiency Council.

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New EnMS advisor training program dates announced

In August the Energy Efficiency Council and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment piloted the delivery of a new Energy management systems advisor training program. This pilot enabled us to get feedback on the course, and with overwhelmingly positive feedback, we have made a few minor tweaks and are running the program again on Monday 16 through Wednesday 18 November 2020.

Dates: Monday 16 – Wednesday 18 November 2020

Times: 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm AEDT (one-hour break)

Videoconference: Zoom

Trainer: Bruce Rowse and Peter Martin

Participants: 16 class members (max.)

CPD: 18 contact hours (approx. 3.6 AEE credits)

Registrations close: 6 November 2020

Investment: Standard fee = $1,500 + GST / EEC member fee = $1,200 + GST

To learn more about the course, click here.

The Energy Efficiency Council delivers and supports a range of certification, professional development and training programs and masterclasses designed to raise professional standards in the sector, support certifications through CPD opportunities, and to assist businesses on their energy efficiency journey.

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Energy briefing event at EE Expo

The Energy Efficiency Council is pleased to announce that the Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment will open the Navigating a dynamic energy landscape session at the Energy Efficiency Expo Virtual Conference on Tuesday 20 October.

This session will launch the third edition of Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: a briefing for Australian businesses, and will be followed by the launch of two sector spotlights for manufacturers and office-based businesses later that day and on Tuesday 27 October.

Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: a briefing for Australian businesses is an executive-level briefing designed to cut through the noise and help businesses confidently navigate Australia’s dynamic energy landscape.

The Navigating a dynamic energy landscape session will feature:

 - The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment
 - Bridgette Carter, Manager Energy Sourcing & Utilisation, BlueScope
 - Tony Wood, Energy Program Director, Grattan Institute

With more speakers covering energy and climate market analysis and energy management and climate mitigation opportunities to be announced!

You can learn more about Navigating a dynamic energy landscape, and the Energy Efficiency Council's wider business engagement program at

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Efficiency Insight - September 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

Video update from the Council's CEO, Luke Menzel

The health crisis in Victoria rolls on, as do the impacts on individuals, families and businesses. Our hearts go out to everyone  affected, especially those that have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

In this month's short video update I focus on what I'm hearing from EEC members grappling with the economic fallout from the crisis, and what industry needs to get through to the other side.

Today is R U OK Day. As I have written before, mental health is the other health impact of COVID-19. If you've been meaning to check in with a friend or a colleague to see how they are doing – wherever they are in Australia or around the world – today would be a great day to do so. 

Stay safe,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Policy update

From First Fuel: Building energy epidemiology

Efficiency Leaders with Geoff Andrews of Genesis Now

Energy efficiency is a jobs machine - and local governments can start it up

Applied M&V: Planning in practice as part of a Certified Energy Saver Verifier (CESV) accreditation

Energy Efficency Expo program launch

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Policy update 

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

COVID-19 remains the most significant issue for the energy management sector. Economic activity has been returning in much of the country, with data from the Housing Industry Association showing a major jump in new home sales, which were 64.4 per cent higher in June and July 2020 compared to April and May 2020. While part of this jump probably reflects deferred sales from March to May, stimulus from various governments are likely also having an impact.

However, significant restrictions are still in place in Victoria. On 6 September the Victorian Premier released a roadmap for reducing restrictions in Victoria, which vary between Melbourne and the regions. In Melbourne:

  • From 13 September social restrictions will be slightly eased but workplace restrictions will essentially remain the same as they are now.
  • From 28 September (or when the 14-day average number of new cases is under 50 - whichever comes later) the government is likely to loosen the restrictions on some types of work. 
  • From 26 October (or when the 14-day average number of new cases is under 5 – whichever comes later) restrictions on upgrading the energy efficiency of homes and businesses will be significantly loosened.
  • From 23 November (or when there have been no new cases for 14 days) workplace restrictions will be substantially cut back, although businesses will still need COVIDsafe work plans.

The Victorian Government is putting the health of the population first and the limited information available suggests that, generally, this approach leads to better economic outcomes. However, it is possible that some business restrictions could be lifted faster while retaining sufficient controls to manage community transmission.

While staff in the Victorian Government have made genuine efforts to engage with us about the details of restrictions in the energy efficiency sector, the broad directions of the restrictions have been set by Cabinet on the advice of senior officials.

The EEC is writing to relevant Ministers to encourage them to consider the serious impacts that these restrictions are having on the energy efficiency sector and encourage them to reduce restrictions on activities that involve low risks of transmission.

In related news, we expect that the governments around the country will announce further stimulus measures in the next month. Several governments will release their 2020 budgets in October – while we don’t know what these will contain, we do think that it’s very likely that these budgets will include more stimulus, especially in Victoria.

The Queensland state election takes place on 31 October, and the Queensland Government won’t release its budget until after the election. On 7 September the Government released a pre-budget COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review, and announced an additional $1 billion in stimulus, which consists of a $500 million Renewable Energy Fund to build publicly-owned wind and solar PV projects and a $500 million Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund to support local businesses that seeking capital to expand or restructure operations.

We anticipate that the Queensland government and opposition will release the rest of their election promises in the next four weeks, a little earlier than usual due to more people casting their votes earlier through the post. While the content of these policies are unknown, we have been in close contact with both major parties in Queensland.

Energy market reform

On 7 September the Energy Security Board released the consultation paper for its ‘Post 2025 Energy Market Design’ project. The aim of the project is to consider major changes to the energy market that may not be implemented in the next couple of years, but would be progressively implemented from the middle of this decade. The project is looking at a wide range of issues, including seven workstreams:

  • Resource adequacy mechanisms (RAMs);
  • Ageing thermal generation strategy;
  • Essential system services;
  • Scheduling and ahead mechanisms'
  • Two sided markets;
  • Valuing demand flexibility and integrating Distributed Energy Resources; and
  • Transmission access and the coordination of generation and transmission investment.

Some of the key issues from this landmark report include:

  • Over 60 per cent of thermal generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM) is expected to close in the next two decades. The loss of generation is not an issue, but the loss of large blocks of supply is;
  • Currently solar PV and energy efficiency are rewarded on relatively flat tariffs, and energy is charged at relatively flat rates, despite the availability and cost of energy changing significantly through the day;
  • The NEM’s relies heavily on high prices during times of scarcity to drive investment in the market, and does not have separate price signals for capacity or reliability. The paper considers a wide range of measures, such as an Operating Reserve Mechanism; and
  • The introduction of measures to indicate the need for resources in the energy system ahead of time.

Energy management, especially flexible demand, form a central part of the report, especially the chapter on two-sided markets (page 84). The EEC’s Energy Market Task Group will consider this paper and the EEC will consult with members on a draft submission responding to this report.

NSW report on decarbonisation

The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer has issued a new report on ‘Opportunities for prosperity in a decarbonised and resilient NSW’. The report identifies opportunities that are technically feasible based on current and foreseeable technologies, are economically feasible and have the potential to boost productivity and create jobs.

The report looks at six sectors – services, electricity, industry, built environment, land and transport. Energy management  features in most of these sectors (especially pages 45-46, 56-57 and 78-79) and it is gratifying to see them quote extensively from the EEC’s submission and our First Fuel report.

Our CEO Luke Menzel discusses this report with Meg McDonald, a member of the Expert Panel that oversaw its development on this week’s episode of out podcast, First Fuel; the episode will be up on Friday.

Certificate schemes

Work is continuing on the reform to the South Australian Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme, and we anticipate that their next consultation document will be released shortly. A lack of clarity about transition between the 2020 version of the scheme and the 2021 version of the scheme is currently caused significant disruption, and we are engaging with the South Australian Government to raise our concerns about this. 

We anticipate that the next consultation paper associated with reforms to the NSW Energy Efficiency Scheme will be released quite a bit later this year, although work is absolutely proceeding on this project.  

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From First Fuel: Building energy epidemiology

Recently on our podcast, First Fuel, Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel was joined by two guests: Paul Ruyssevelt, Professor of Energy and Building Performance at University College London’s Energy Institute, and Carlos Flores, Director of the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). 

Luke, Paul and Carlos chatted about the role of the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme in driving global collaboration on high performance buildings. Along the way they cover the new field of building energy epidemiology and the prospects for demand response in commercial buildings.

Read on for the portion of the interview in which Luke and Paul discuss the the genesis of building energy epidemiology; to hear the entire interview and subscribe to future episode of First Fuel click here.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Luke: We do really need to unpack the role of the International Energy Agency's Energy in Buildings and Communities programme – it's really one of the engine rooms for global collaboration on high performance buildings, and we at the Energy Efficiency Council are big fans of the IEA EBC network – we’ve co-hosted our national conference with the IEA EBC not once but twice over the last few years. One of the key research areas for the EBC is the new field of building energy epidemiology; Paul can you tell us a bit about it?

Paul:That's right, yes, yeah annex 70 - that's a topic that we kind of introduced to the EBC from University College London, we’ve been working on it for a little while. In fact, it was actually one of our colleagues in Australia that came up with the idea, thinking about the way that we developed research in the energy field through demonstration projects and all that sort of stuff, and he was chatting to his wife one evening - she’s an epidemiologist - and she said “…well that's kind of like epidemiology, but you don’t do it very well!”


“…it sounds like all of your demonstration projects are heavily biased” 

Luke: Are you willing to dob in who had this Eureka moment?

Paul: Yes, a chap called Alex Summerfield. He’s based up in Brisbane – he used to work with us here in London and moved back to Australia.

Luke: Ok well I guess the interest of all our listeners will now be piqued Paul, so you better explain what building energy epidemiology actually is!

Paul: OK, well epidemiology is essentially the study of what is upon the people – that is the literal origins of the word – but obviously it’s had its strongest association in recent times with health, it's essentially a tool that can be used to try and understand things like how viruses spread, how diseases spread-

Luke: …just to pick a random example…

Paul: Yes precisely. The father of epidemiology went to University College London – you might know him of course: Jon Snow.  Back in the mid-19th century he was a very famous chap who identified the source of the Cholera epidemic in London and he nailed it down to a particular water pump in the centre of Soho. 

He did this by using some classic epidemiological techniques. At the time it was thought to be spread though something called ‘miasma’ in the air, he didn’t trust that theory so he started to do his own research. He surveyed people for what sort of things they had in common, what they didn’t have in common, and what he discovered was that all the people in Soho drank water from the same water pump, but there were a couple of exceptions: there was a small brewery in the middle of Soho and none of the brewery workers had fallen ill, and that’s because they drank the beer. The beer effectively purified the water through the process of producing beer. And then there was a couple of people who were outside the area who actually contracted the disease, and what he discovered was that these people’s maids had been going to this particular water pump which was a little bit further away and bringing the water back to their houses. 

He very famously went along to the pump and took the handle off it, and within a few months the disease started to die away. That was genesis of epedimiology; understanding what's happening in the population, understanding outliers, and putting together a story. 

What we recognised was that in the field of energy, there wasn’t a lot of rigour around research that we were doing in order to understand, say, the impact or the design of the buildings. We were very much looking at things in an anecdotal way. Studies were  set up to find out what we expected to find rather than what we didn’t expect to find. And a lot of the research that produced unhelpful information – in terms of people’s reputations and things like that – was often not published, and buried. 

From the 90s onwards I was involved in the first attempt to change that by setting up a series of probe studies where we went into buildings and carried out a systematic process of analysis and then published the results of those in the journal alongside the original articles which hailed the buildings to be super energy efficient or whatever it was. 

We managed to do that without losing too many friends and without getting sued, and it was one of the things that paved the way towards a more serious approach, a more methodological approach to energy research. We’re not there yet, but I think now the whole process of understanding energy performance in the population of buildings rather than just individual buildings is being recognised now as something we need to take more seriously at the national and sub-national level. 

Luke: So you've taken an idea that an Australian academic and his wife had on a couch, that's made its way to University College London and then it's been translated into the space of the IEA EBC, and I understand Paul that that means that you've effectively had researchers from around the globe engaged in this process of formalising some of those methodologies and the way that we get the data and the way that we communicate data back into the into the community of building professionals. Is that kind of a good way of characterising that journey? 

Paul: Yeah that's pretty much it, and of course it’s not just data, it’s models as well, looking at the way that data comes and is used in models and then the results of those models are used in making policies.


First Fuel podcast

The Energy Efficiency Council's podcast, First Fuel, brings you the latest perspectives on energy efficiency, energy management and demand response from Australia and around the world. An episode is recorded every week.

For more information, click here.

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Efficiency Leaders with Geoff Andrews, Managing Director of Genesis Now

The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.

This month we’re profiling Geoff Andrews, Managing Director and founder of Genesis Now. 

What company do you work for?

I work for Genesis Now, a company I started in 1991 specifically to implement energy efficiency improvements.

I am also the co-founder and Board Chair of Capricorn Power, which is commercialising a patented heat engine to generate renewable electricity continuously and affordably at local scale (behind the meter, and decentralised community power).

What is your role?

Genesis Now is a small team, so I am involved in all aspects of energy efficiency, from initial client contact, to information gathering, analysis, energy efficiency opportunity identification and evaluation, and working with clients to approve / fund and implement those opportunities.

What did you do prior to your current role?

Prior to 1991 I was an energy efficiency engineer at Enersonics, a pioneer in energy efficiency consulting, and before that I was a RAAF Engineer Officer, working in the maintenance of ground equipment and aircraft.

What is your company’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

We focus on industrial energy efficiency, and in order to do that well we endeavour to ‘get inside’ the manufacturing process and to achieve a profound improvement in the core processes. This is obviously a challenge, but necessary in order to not limit energy efficiency improvements to the services common to most industrial sites (e.g. lighting, compressed air, hot water and steam).

What do you enjoy about working for your company?

I enjoy the same aspects of energy efficiency today as I did when I was first attracted to it as a part-time role in the RAAF in 1982.  I enjoy the challenges of understanding how energy systems are working, and of finding better ways of providing a better energy service with less energy.  I enjoy the challenge of working with people and organisations to implement change, despite the risks and uncertainties involved.

I know that energy efficiency is one of the ways we can help businesses to improve their effectiveness and profitability and reduce stress on their people.  We can cut business costs while creating employment, rather than destroying it.

I embrace the challenge of working to reduce climate change and to buy the world and all its inhabitants a bit more time.  This is a challenge which is technical, financial, and social, and a personal challenge not to be disheartened or overwhelmed by the size of the challenge or the stone-in-the-shoe irritation of dealing with deliberate ignorance and misinformation from anti-science commentators and politicians.

How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?

I have a daily phone (sometimes video) catch up for about 10 minutes, on a list of topics prepared by them.

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

We selected a small (100 m²) house facing North (though South would have been at least as good), and retrofitted insulation to the walls, roof and underfloor. About 30 years ago we installed high efficiency instantaneous gas not water and non-ducted heating. Of course, now we are looking to ditch gas, so that’s another project for the to-do list. In 2012 we installed solar PV, and our typical electricity bill is about $30 (about equal to the supply charge). 

Do you now work from home, and if so, what is something you enjoy about working from home?

I worked from home for the first five years of running Genesis Now, and enjoyed seeing my sons at home (the eldest was 15 months old when I started). When we employed staff we moved the office out of home. Now I try not to work from home, as I find I am more productive in the office and away from distractions. 

When not immersed in Australia’s energy transition, what do you do for fun?

I like to jog to get the blood flowing and to get outside, and I find this helps with thinking and sleeping and general health.

I’m a tenor in a community choir; singing exercises a part of the brain quite different to that required for engineering, and I think quite primal.   I also get to meet and share with people I wouldn’t meet through work.

A bit of gardening is also satisfying; seeing things grow and being reminded of the wonder of the natural world.

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

I am hopeful that Covid and the more visible effects of climate change has encouraged more people to take notice of science and experts, and that they will throw their efforts into the huge challenge we are in the midst of.  In 1991 when I started Genesis Now, I was pleased if I could get 30 people to an energy event (but dismayed by the comparison that a football match could attract 100,000 people).  1991 is also the year that energy consumption in Australia started falling below the growth in GDP, i.e. a ‘decoupling’.  We achieve that decoupling with a very small number of pioneers. Imagine what we can achieve with the majority of the population doing something and demanding that our governments at all levels do much more.

Why do you value being a member of the Energy Efficiency Council?

I really value the advocacy with government and the community and corralling other business groups to the cause of energy efficiency.  This is an essential activity which I know I should be involved in but would never get to.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

I would like to see: much greater self-sufficiency in transport energy, 100% greenhouse gas-free electricity, greater diversity in electricity supply, electrification for of most heating, and Australia seen as a leader in energy efficiency services and energy efficient equipment, and renewable energy.

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Local government can lead on energy efficiency jobs

Holly Taylor, Senior Manager, Projects and Partnerships, Energy Efficiency Council

There's been a lot of talk recently about how to kickstart Australia's economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the energy sector.

The momentum towards renewables is unstoppable. However, there is another, often unsung, side to the energy transition: how efficiently and productively we use our energy. It isn't as sexy as solar panels on roofs, or as obvious as wind turbines sitting on rolling hills. But it is crucial, and importantly it is a real jobs machine.

At its heart, energy efficiency is the art of making buildings healthier, cheaper to run and more comfortable. The data shows that a major drive to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and industry across the nation could deliver more than 120,000 job-years of employment.

Efficiency retrofits and new builds consistently top the charts in comprehensive analyses of energy-related stimulus options by organisations such as the International Energy Agency, the International Monetary Fund and Australia's own Beyond Zero Emissions and Climate Council. A major push to upgrade Australia's buildings has been backed in by everyone from the Australian Council of Social Service to the Business Council of Australia - not two organisations that you often see on the same page.

But wait, there's more. As energy efficient buildings are more comfortable, people are healthier and happier. And as industry is more productive, businesses are more competitive. Plus, energy efficiency saves money, making our companies more resilient to economic shocks.

So, what's not to like? Nothing. I've been working in this space for a while, and I've seen the potential for local councils to drive the energy efficiency revolution.

When I worked for Salix Finance in the United Kingdom, I supported councils in rolling out their energy efficiency programs, including street lighting LED upgrades that cut electricity bills in half.

In Australia, Orange City Council is leading the way. It is about to save $170,000 in annual electricity costs, as well as $34,000 in maintenance costs, just by upgrading to LED lighting in all of its buildings.

So, if the savings are so significant, how can councils get their ratepayers onside for investments in super sensible - but not very sexy - upgrades to light bulbs, appliances and insulation? The key is to turn the invisible, visible.

Many councils in the UK use the energy savings to upgrade parks, playgrounds and other public facilities, helping attract new businesses and jobs to the area. Some councils also use savings to support local businesses and households to improve their own energy use, making them more resilient to economic upheaval and easing the horrible phenomenon known as "bill shock". Indeed, the most effective council-wide energy efficiency strategies are the ones that combine both council facilities upgrades and programs to support local businesses and households.

CitySwitch is a great way to do this. This national program, spearheaded by Australian capital cities, represents more than 600 organisations, 16 per cent of Australia's office space, a million people and $1 billion of spending power. Businesses signing up to CitySwitch agree to an energy rating assessment that allows them and their tenants to see their energy consumption. They can also receive advice on behaviour change and simple upgrades.

The COVID-19 pandemic, while devastating, has also provided us with a circuit breaker. We have a chance to rethink our priorities, and the future we need to build to be able to thrive.

It may not be high profile and exciting, but investing in energy efficiency will get us back to work quickly, and help secure our economic future.

I recently made a pitch for more councils to drive energy efficiency at the Cities Power Partnership's Re-energise Australia event. Find the recording here

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Applied M&V: Planning in practice – the next step for measurement and verification

Many factors influence how much energy a facility uses, such as technology, weather and the number of staff using a site. As a result, working out how much energy an energy efficiency upgrade is saving requires more than just metering.

Energy professionals, such as accredited Certified Measurement and Verification Professionals (CMVPs), need to use accurate measurement and a repeatable methodology, known as a measurement and verification (M&V) protocol. M&V methods and processes are used to measure and verify, in a consistent, defined and transparent way, the energy savings resulting from planned changes to all or part of a specific facility or a group of specific facilities.

M&V undertaken in accordance with the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) plays an important role as the ‘cash register’ of energy efficiency projects, recording the evidence and calculating the effectiveness and value of actions taken to reduce energy usage. 

New to M&V? Learn more here.

However, the IPMVP is not a cook-book with tried and true recipes that can be rolled out the same way every time; rather, the framework needs to be carefully applied to manage the individual complexities of each project.

Preparing an IPMVP-adherent M&V plan is key to the metering of energy savings with precision, accuracy and consistency. The CMVP accreditation course is a significant step towards becoming an experienced M&V professional and provides crucial training in the fundamentals of M&V. However, it is focused largely on the theoretical underpinnings of measurement and verification and includes only an introduction to its practical application in real-world situations.

The next step for M&V

The Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO) is therefore pleased to announce a new, more practical and hands-on certification course to build on the fundamentals of M&V and further develop and enhance the expertise of energy professionals in applying the IPMVP in real-world scenarios.

Applied M&V: Planning in Practice builds on the foundation of the CMVP program by going in depth on the practical preparation of the core activity of measurement and verification: preparing an M&V plan. This certification program was developed with reference to IPMVP Core Concepts 2016 and is targeted to those who have completed the CMVP fundamentals training course and who wish to improve their ability to prepare, apply and scrutinize M&V plans. It has a strong focus on M&V calculations, particularly statistics, and is intended to further strengthen the capabilities of M&V practitioners. Importantly, this course also looks at the common challenges of real-life M&V and how best to overcome them.

The practical nature of the new course extends to the examination, which requires the preparation of an M&V plan in a four-hour exam setting which is then assessed by an EVO instructor.

Longer term, EVO is developing the Certified Energy Saving Verifier (CESV) program, which recognizes energy professionals who have demonstrated their technical competence to independently verify the estimated and achieved savings of energy efficiency projects. The CESV program is a response to the needs of the changing energy efficiency market place and will aim at recognizing the competencies of energy savings verifiers, and build on the successful knowledge-based training program which leads to the CMVP certification. The CESV program has great potential as a vehicle for global capacity building, and it will be deployed worldwide. CESV accreditation, and will be granted to those who have demonstrated skills in two main areas, one of which is the preparation of M&V plans.

Applied M&V: Planning in Practice is a critical component of the CESV program and is a recognised pathway to the pending CESV accreditation. To achieve the accreditation, prospective CESVs must pass a rigorous examination that demonstrates their ability to evaluate and certify that the pre-installed estimated energy savings are correct. They must also verify that the pre-installed M&V plan complies with the generally accepted principles of IPMVP and, that the post-installed reported energy savings were calculated according to the pre-installed M&V plan and that they reflect the actual savings achieved.

The program provides a scalable solution for facility owners, utilities, government agencies, and financial institutions to have confidence in estimated energy efficiency project savings being realized, adequately measured, and verified. It contributes to removing the barrier of energy efficiency projects not being funded due to a lack of confidence in savings being achieved.

To make another analogy, M&V is the ‘meter’ for energy savings. Preparing an IPMVP adherent M&V plan is key to adequate “metering” of energy savings with relative precision and accuracy. This is why Applied M&V: Planning in Practice is a critical component of the CESV program, which ultimately provides confidence in claimed energy savings as well as addressing scalability gaps.

Interested? Learn more in our free webinar

To get a taster of what you can expect from Applied M&V: Planning in Practice, join us for a free, one hour webinar on 24 September at 2.30PM where EEC CEO Luke Menzel and trainer Bruce Rowse will discuss the crucial role of a robust M&V plan and answer your questions.

This webinar is valid for 0.2 AEE credits of CPD.

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Energy Efficiency Expo goes virtual

In 2019 the Energy Efficiency Council partnered with Reed Exhibitions to run the first Energy Efficiency Expo alongside All Energy Australia.

Along with many other events this year, the second Energy Efficiency Expo has moved online. The virtual conference will be taking place from 6 October to 27 October 2020 with free-to-attend sessions designed to help businesses take control of their energy costs and build greater resilience during these unprecedented times. 

The conference program is now available, featuring more than 30 expert speakers and 9 high-calibre sessions with topics such as the digital transformation within energy management, behind the meter applications of demand response, and opportunities for office tenants and energy-intensive industries.

The opening, joint plenary for All Energy Australia and Energy Efficiency Expo will feature EEC CEO Luke Menzel and Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton, exploring the role of clean energy and energy efficiency in the rebound post COVID-19.

We encourage you to check out the program but we're especially excited about two sessions: Navigating a dynamic energy landscape and Energy management leaders: sector spotlight on manufacturers.

Navigating a dynamic energy landscape will be held on Tuesday, 20 October 2020 from 11:00am – 12:30pm AEST. 

The Energy Efficiency Council's flagship energy briefing engagement activities support Australian businesses with managing the risks and capturing of the opportunities of the energy transition. Hear from leading energy experts on how businesses can achieve this. The session will be chaired by Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel. 

Register for the session here.

Energy management leaders: sector spotlight on manufacturers will be held on Tuesday, 20 October 2020 from 2:00pm – 3:15pm AEST. 

The Energy Efficiency Council's flagship energy briefing engagement activities support Australian businesses with managing the risks and capturing of the opportunities of the energy transition. Hear from leading manufacturers on what they're doing to successfully navigate Australia's dynamic energy landscape. The session will be chaired by Energy Efficiency Council Senior Manager, Projects & Partnerships, Holly Taylor.

Register for the session here

Find the full program here

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Efficiency Insight - August 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

Video update from the Council's CEO, Luke Menzel

It has been a hard few weeks, especially in Victoria. My short video update this month covers the current health crisis, the impact of lockdowns on Energy Efficiency Council members, and what it will take to get through to the other side.

Click on the image above – or here – to watch. Also worth checking out Rob's policy update, which dives deep on the same issues.

Or if you are reaching saturation point on COVID coverage, there is a bunch of other stuff below worthy of your time and attention.

Stay safe,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Policy update

From First Fuel: Industry Council on Energy and Emissions

Efficiency Leaders with Julianne Tice of the Energy Efficiency Council

Talking IEA EBC in Australia and around the world with Dr Paul Ruyssevelt and Stanford Harrison

Online professional development

Virtual events hosted by Energy Efficency Council partners

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Policy update

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

The active outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria remains the most significant challenge to Australia’s energy management sector. I’m not going to duplicate the media’s extensive coverage of COVID-19, but I will touch on a few issues in order to bring the impacts into focus.

On 7 July the Victorian Government reintroduced Stage 3 restrictions in Melbourne and Mitchell shire. A study by the Burnett Institute estimates that these restrictions substantially reduced the rate of transmission, reducing the number of additional infections in July from potentially around 29,000 to just 8,000.

However, the Victorian Government's health experts decided that the rates of transmission weren’t dropping fast enough, with significant transmission still occurring in workplaces, such as warehouses and abattoirs. Accordingly, on 2 August the Government  increased restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne to Stage 4, and on 5 August they raised restrictions in the rest of Victoria to Stage 3. We will be sending out a separate email to members with the details of Stage 4 restrictions, but at a broad level:

  • There is a curfew in place from 8pm to 5am, and people can only leave their homes for work, medical care or caregiving;
  • Outside of curfew, people are only allowed to leave their house to attend work, provide care, seek healthcare, exercise or shop for essential items;
  • Only ‘Permitted Work Premises’ may operate with on-site operations. Of relevance for the energy efficiency sector, ‘critical repair work’ to existing facilities and construction and major renovations of buildings are permitted. However, renovations to occupied dwellings are not permitted.

The specifics of the restrictions are regularly updated, and we strongly encourage people to not rely on this article, but instead get the most up to date information from the Victorian Government’s website.

Based on the restrictions in place on 12 August, some types of energy efficiency upgrade are possible, but there are restrictions on many forms of upgrade, such as upgrades to occupied dwellings. The Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program has retained the temporary suspension of incentives for some activities (15, 17, 21 and 30), but has not introduced suspensions for other activities, which can be carried out as long as they are delivered in-line with Stage 4 restrictions. For example, Accredited Parties could still generate certificates for the replacement of electric resistive heaters with high-efficiency reverse cycle air conditioners if that upgrade is associated with the renovation for an unoccupied dwelling.

The 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Victoria has been falling since 2 August, but there is no firm date for when restrictions will be lifted. Given that another major wave of COVID-19 would have significant economic and social impacts, the Victorian Government will be cautious about lifting restrictions until they are sure that transmission has been substantially brought under control, which is likely several weeks away.

Energy efficiency upgrades are still permitted in all other states and territories. Household expenditure on ‘home improvement’ (e.g. Bunnings) has been well above its historic average since 29 March 2020, and the AlphaBeta and Illion tracker shows that expenditure in the week starting 2 August was 34 per cent above average. Combined with increased household focus on thermal comfort and reduced energy bills, the last six months has seen significant increase in spending on measures like DIY draught sealing and insulation. There is a significant opportunity to capitalise on this interest, and increase the energy efficiency of Australia’s homes.

By contrast, anecdotal data suggests that energy efficiency investment in commercial and industrial sites is still subdued. While businesses are very interested in reducing their energy costs, they are extremely wary about capital expenditure. This means that much of the energy saving activity right now among businesses is either low-cost or supported by government programs (e.g. commercial lighting upgrades under energy efficiency schemes).

Energy efficiency stimulus

The EEC has continued to work with its partners to advocate that governments should focus they economic stimulus funding on energy efficiency measures such as upgrading the energy efficiency of government buildings, businesses and households.

Energy efficiency makes great stimulus because it is jobs intensive. The International Energy Agency, International Monetary Fund, Deloitte and AlphaBeta have all produced very conservative estimates that each AUD 1 million spent on energy efficiency creates between 7 and 11 job-years of employment. This isn’t just theory - the Obama Administration created an estimated 200,000 jobs between 2009 and 2011 through energy efficiency programs that focussed on upgrading government buildings and low-income homes.

Energy efficiency also makes a lot of sense for stimulus because it:

  • Can be rolled out rapidly to many parts of the economy;
  • Has long-term health, welfare and productivity dividends; and
  • Delivers low cost emission reductions. According to the IEA, from 2014 to 2016, improvements in energy efficiency were responsible for 75 per cent of the stabilisation of emissions from the global energy system.

It is still unclear where governments will focus any further economic stimulus. While the Australian Government’s COVID Commission has proposed some stimulus for the gas industry, other governments have been more tight-lipped. We anticipate that federal, state and territory governments will announce additional economic recovery measures in the budgets that many of them will release around October.

We also anticipate that both major Queensland parties will make policy announcements about energy in the run-up to the Queensland state election on 31 October 2020.

Other policy developments

With governments heavily focussed on managing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, there has been far less focus on other areas. The Victorian Government was supposed to table the State’s Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and 2030 in Parliament on 6 August, but on 31st July the Victorian Government announced that the release of the targets would be delayed, and didn’t provide clarity about when they would be announced.

However, there has been some progress on a national energy efficiency rating tool for buildings. A report on the testing of the Victorian Scorecard in other jurisdictions can now be found here, and a report on the possible extension of NatHERS to existing homes can now be found here. While the precise form of a national rating tool hasn’t yet been confirmed, it appears that it will now be developed nationally under the framework of the National Home Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

Work is also proceeding on designing incentives to reduce peak demand under the energy efficiency schemes in NSW and South Australia. We expect consultation papers on these programs within the next two months.


The Australian Government is currently offering several grants under its Energy Efficient Communities Program. These include:

  • Dairy Farming Business Grants: up to $20,000 to improve the energy efficiency of dairies. The details of this grant can be found here, and applications for grants close at 5pm on 17 August 2020.
  • Small Business Grants: up to $20,000 to support an energy efficiency project for a business with an annual turnover of less than $10 million. The details of this grant can be found here, and applications for grants close at 5pm on 26 August 2020.
  • High Energy Using Business Grants: up to $25,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of an energy efficiency projects for a business with an annual net energy consumption of more than 0.05 PJ per year. The details of this grant can be found here, and applications for grants close at 5pm on 24 September 2020.

The City of Sydney is also offering grants of up to $15,000 for energy audits and environmental ratings for buildings. The details of the grants can found here, and applications close on 31 August 2020.

From First Fuel: Industry Council on Energy and Emissions

Recently on our podcast, First Fuel, Energy Efficiency Counil CEO Luke Menzel was joined by Tennant Reed from Australian Industry Group and Bradley Anderson from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to discuss a major new report, Pivot – Rebound – Transform.

The report from an independent group of experts focuses on the actions necessary to drive a rapid increase in the size and sophistication of the energy management market that serves Australian industry.

Brad, Tennant and Luke has a wide ranging discussion that included a deep dive on one of the report’s major recommendations – the creation of an Industry Council on Energy and Emissions.

Read on for the portion of the interview that focused on this recommendation; to hear the entire interview and subscribe to future episode of First Fuel click here.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Luke:  Tennant, one of the most interesting recommendations in the report is the creation of an Industry Council for Energy and Emissions, which is kind of a peak body for peak bodies to drive strategic engagement across industry bodies, but also between industry and government around energy and climate issues that impact the industrial sector in Australia.

This is an idea that's been bubbling along in an embryonic form for a little while now and it's really good to see it coalesce into this recommendation. So what would the benefits of such a body be, and what would it need to succeed?

Tennant: I'll point to three major areas of benefit. One is for a more proactive engagement on these issues from industry stakeholders rather than waiting to react to proposals that come out of government. There is often good stuff that comes out of government; sometimes there's not a lot of time to respond, sometimes there's heaps of time. But either way, it's really valuable to have an attitude of ‘what do we think the problems are, what do we think the solutions are, how can we work together to ensure that the pieces are falling into place?’ 

The second benefit is the ongoing nature of the dialogue, rather than, again, just bubbling up once in a while when there is a big external driver. To be building up ongoing relationships, ongoing lifting of the shared understanding of what the challenges of the sector and the contexts are, is really useful. 

And then, the third point is breaking down what are currently silos between the different disciplines and sectors that are involved. I'm a big believer in cross-sectoral dialogue as something that gets a lot of value - gets people out of talking their book and arguing their case in their corner - and building up a greater understanding of how systems work and what our shared interest are, and bringing energy users, efficiency professionals and advisors and government, - you know, as an observer of that process - together as well as NGO's. That can be a really useful dialogue.

For all that to work though there needs to be buy-in to a shared sense of purpose; agreement about what we are trying to achieve. The building and cultivation of trust is critical, and it is very easy to lose that if people feel like they're not really being heard, or if they're seeing their discussions pop up in the papers rather than in the minutes - that kind of thing is a challenge. And then the final requirement is around the resourcing of this is very important. Participants commit to it and help to make it work, and that is going to be a challenge for everybody and anybody during what are going to be a few difficult years for the Australian economy and everybody in it. 

Luke: The thing this proposal reminds me of is the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, which is somewhat unique both in Australia and around the world. A collaborative institution of peak bodies, encompassing all kinds of organisations, professional and industry associations, including the Property Council, the Green Building Council, Facility Management Association, AIRAH and  another twenty or so others, including the Energy Efficiency Council. Organisations that are coming from different points on the spectrum that have united around this view that there is a journey to go on in the built environment towards more sustainable outcomes.

Having been involved with ASBEC for a few years now, it is a safe space to have conversations, to test ideas. And having government in there as observers means that there is interesting dialogues that happen in the context of an ASBEC task group that are difficult to have in other spaces. You can get a lot further a lot quicker, by having these conversations ‘off Broadway’ as it were, rather than every conversation that goes on between industry and government being in front of the cameras. 

So, there is a bit of a model there and it would be really fascinating to see how it might support further engagement in the industrial space. But Brad, I know you have some ideas for the types of things that such a body could practically do, do you want to give us an example of one of those?

Brad: It's all about the collaboration right. I think a group like this could support a proper co-design process. So we aren't as government doing some research, doing some modelling, then going out to industry and asking them the question; ‘Will this work in reality? What's your business plans over the next 10 years? Are we going to be able to deliver this?’

Instead, we'd be better in a better position to start the conversation from the industry's perspective. Or have a conversation that cuts across sectors; once we start having those conversations off camera, as you said, then I really do think that that cross-sectoral approach becomes much more possible and you start to find real big synergies. That is especially true for shared infrastructure projects that don’t stack up when we don’t have those conversations across sectors.

It would also help us unlock some of those high value emissions abatement opportunities that Tennant alluded to earlier. They are really, really hard to understand when technology's not commercialised.

A pilot project over in Belgium, or a demonstration plant in Germany might be all you have to go on. If we start to have those joined up conversations with the industry sectors that can actually make a call one way or the other whether a particular approach is relevant for Australian industry I think that we can start to move the idea into reality a lot faster. 

Luke: So the recommendation from the independent group of experts is that government provide some seed funding for a couple of years, to get this peak body off the ground and allow it to demonstrate some value until it becomes self-sufficient.

My experience with ASBEC would suggest that this doesn't necessarily need to be a cast of thousands;  ASBEC gets a hell of a lot done through the goodwill of its members, some very hard working task groups, an executive director and a support person bringing all those parties together. So it strikes me as a modest investment for what could be some exciting outcomes in driving industry-government collaboration in this crucial area. 

First Fuel podcast

The Energy Efficiency Council's podcast, First Fuel, brings you the latest perspectives on energy efficiency, energy management and demand response from Australia and around the world. An episode is recorded every week.

For more information, click here.

Efficiency Leaders with Julianne Tice

The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.

This month we’re profiling Julianne Tice, Project Officer at the Energy Efficiency Council and full-time Masters student.

What company/organisation do you work for?

The Energy Efficiency Council! I am also a full-time student at University of Melbourne, where I am completing a Master of Environment degree with a specialisation in global environmental politics and policy.

What is your role? 

I am a Project Officer. I started out late in 2019 at EEC doing communications, including managing social media and newsletters, and I have begun providing project and policy support in recent months, including conducting research and stakeholder engagement and writing policy submissions, all while continuing with the communications bit and learning a lot.

What did you do prior to your current role?

I’ve moved around quite a bit.

My first job after my I completed my undergraduate degree was performing residential energy audits in the US, which was an odd job for me because it involved crawling around in attics and crawlspaces (sometimes spider-filled and claustrophobia-inducing) and assessing insulation levels.

It wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned with my environmental science degree. Little did I know, however, that it would set me up very well to coordinate a home retrofit program for low-income and vulnerable people at Brotherhood of St Laurence, and now to work on energy efficiency projects and policy at EEC.

What is your company’s/organisation’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

Anyone who’s made it this far is probably aware, but essentially we are trying to facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy by expanding energy efficiency in all sectors of the Australian economy. We are trying to bring awareness to energy efficiency, which is something many Australians are not aware of, and make it possible for people to use less energy, which is an absolutely critical part of the transition to net zero emissions.

What do you enjoy about working for your company/organisation?

Working at EEC is fantastic because I’m surrounded by genuinely smart, passionate people who are a pleasure to work with and who care about helping me learn and succeed. I also feel like I’m making a legitimate contribution to improving the environment and the lives of others.

How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?

We have a team meeting bright and early every morning and virtual drinks on Fridays, sometimes with a ‘pub quiz’. I recently made everyone suffer through a round of insulation trivia.

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

It’s difficult, living in a sub-standard rental home, to be very energy efficient because I can only control so much. I’m quite confident there is no insulation in the home and there are cracks and gaps everywhere which make it impossible for the home to hold heat. I have begun to plug gaps with caulk where possible, which is about the extent of what I can do. I have a temperature logger in my living room and occasionally post the indoor temperature on twitter to raise awareness of the poor quality of rental homes in Australia (it’s been as low as 5 degrees inside when I wake up in the morning).

Do you now work from home, and if so, what is something you enjoy about working from home?

I enjoy going for a walk around the neighbourhood every morning in place of my bike ride to work and I enjoy the time that has been freed up from not commuting. I do miss working in the same place as my co-workers and getting a change of scenery, so I’m hoping we get to work out of home sometime in the not-too-distant future.

When not immersed in Australia’s energy transition, what do you do for fun?

Not much during lockdown, but I go for bike rides and walks when I can, get takeaway from various restaurants around my neighbourhood, and watch travel shows and documentaries to make myself feel like I’m not in my house just for a little while. I also spend a lot of time studying!

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

While I’m obviously not excited about COVID and the impacts it’s having on people, I am excited that many people are now realising how uncomfortable their homes are in winter and that residential energy efficiency seems to be getting a small amount of traction in the media.

Coming from a cold climate with well-sealed and insulated homes, I know how different things can be and I am hopeful that others will come to the same realisation so we can work towards something better.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

I see energy efficiency and demand management becoming a much bigger part of the conversation as people realise that renewables can only do so much. Both energy management and renewables are so important to solving the energy and climate issue, but renewables get the majority of the focus.

I hope that in the next ten years, decision-makers and the public realise that we first need to focus on using less energy before replacing our energy sources.

Talking IEA EBC in Australia and around the world with Dr Paul Ruyssevelt and Stanford Harrison

Date: 26 August 2020
Time: 4.00pm - 5.00pm AEST

Later this month the Energy Efficiency Council is hosting a webinar with one of the UK's leading energy efficiency experts, and one of Australia's most knowledgable energy efficiency policymakers to discuss global collaboration on energy efficient and resilient buildings.

The Energy Efficiency Council has had a longstanding collaboration with the IEA's Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC) programme; indeed we co-hosted our 2016 and 2018 National Conferences with the EBC.

A lot has happened in energy efficiency since 2018, and on Wednesday 26 August we'll check in with two key experts: 

  • Paul Ruyssevelt, Professor of Energy and Building Performance at the UCL Energy Institute and Vice Chair of the EBC; and
  • Stanford Harrison, Manager - Commercial Buildings Policy, at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), whose many responsibilities include Australia's Commercial Building Disclosure program.

Paul and Stanford are the IEA EBC's national representatives for the UK and Australia respectively, and are key players in the global collaborative research effort to drive the transition to energy efficient buildings and resilient communities.

Click here to register.

The Council's collaboration with DISER and the IEA EBC on promoting global collaboration on energy efficiency continues to gather momentum; keep an eye on the IEA EBC in Australia webpage for updates over the coming year.

Online professional development: EnMS, CPD and more

Get caught up on the Energy Efficiency Council's online training offerings, from the new Certified Energy Manager course to the new sold out Energy management systems advisor training.

Energy management systems advisor training

Whether looking to improve their budget bottom line or committing to achieve net zero emissions, leading businesses are reviewing their energy strategy and management.

Many businesses consider opportunities for energy performance improvements in an ad hoc way. By contrast, implementing an energy management system (EnMS) unlocks continuous improvement, and the financial and other benefits that go along with it. An EnMS integrates an energy management framework into existing business systems, enabling businesses to understand their energy use and implement a strategic approach to energy management. 

An EnMS establishes a systematic approach to energy management. This includes energy strategy development, energy management planning, implementation of plans, and ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created ISO 50001 to provide organisations with an internationally recognised framework for developing an effective EnMS. While ISO 50001 is not right for every business, all energy intensive businesses should have an EnMS that allows them to effectively manage their energy use.

This pilot training has sold out, but expressions of interest are now open

Online Energy Efficiency Council training

Capturing the Value of Demand Response

Dates: Tuesday 15 – Wednesday 16 September 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $490 +GST
EEC member fee: $360 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 8 contact hours; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course.

Click here for more information and to register 

Certified Energy Manager (CEM) accreditation

Dates: Monday 12 - Thursday 16 October 2020
Times: 10am - 4pm AEST (each day) + 4-hour exam
Contact hours: 25 + exam
Exam: Individually scheduled and proctored within two weeks of the course
Registration closes: Friday 18 September 2020

Training + exam fees:
Standard: $4,390 inc. GST
EEC member: $3,685 inc. GST
Trainer: Roger Horwood
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 20 (max)

Certified Measurement & Vertification Professional

Dates: Monday 26 - Thursday 29 October 2020
Session 1:
 10.00AM-12.30PM (please be online by 9.45AM to ensure a prompt start)
Break: 12.30-1.30PM
Session 2: 1.30-4.00PM
Exam: 4 hour exam individually scheduled and proctored in a two week window after course completion

Standard fee: $3,950
EEC member fee: $3,160

Click here for more information and to register.

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Class size: 17 maximum
Mandatory pre-course work: 3-5 hours
Schedule: 20 contact hours + 4 hour exam

Energy auditing to the Australian Standard

Dates: Tuesday 8 - Wednesday 9 December 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $890 +GST
EEC member fee: $660 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course

Click here for more information and to register

Continuing professional development

With accreditation comes the need for CPD, and we are working to build a suite of professional development opportunities to enable CEMs and CMVPs to manage their CPD requirements. Energy efficiency and Australia’s economic recovery on 1 July is a complimentary forum - eligible for CPD - featuring Michael Liebreich, and bringing together leaders from politics, business, the community sector and beyond to discuss how we can act to put energy efficiency at the heart of Australia’s economic recovery.

Continuing professional development for AEE certification

The Council's CEM and CMVP certifications require an ongoing commitment to professional development, and both are subject to a renewal process every three years that requires evidence of 10 AEE credits of CPD.

The Council offers a range of CPD opportunities, from our masterclasses through to the upcoming  National Summit, Energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery on Wednesday 1 July.

CEMs and CMVPs are encouraged to consider their progress towards 10 AEE credit points as we approach the next three-year renewal process.

Virtual events hosted by EEC partners

The coming weeks are full of energy efficiency and economic recovery events, with a couple featuring EEC staff. Find out more below and fill your calendar with these can't-miss events.

Monash Energy Institute presents: Rethinking Global Energy Transition Pathways post Covid-19 - 12 August 2020

The United Nations has a goal of achieving universal access to clean energy by 2030. With less than a decade remaining, and with the pandemic is this goal still achievable? How will the world and the energy systems look like post-COVID19? How are customer needs as well as business and regulatory models going to evolve in this ever-changing energy sector? What research will be needed  to adapt and redesign the energy system moving forward to meet the demand of a different kind of society that is emerging?

Join Monash Energy Institute for a discussion with Dr Lawrence Jones, award winning industry leader and practitioner, Vice President of the International Programs at the Edison Electric Institute (Washington DC) and Honorary Industry Fellow at the Monash Energy Institute. They will explore questions related to the impact of Covid19 on energy systems and energy access globally, the economics of the energy transition and how to ensure that the transition worldwide is just. 

German-Australian Chamber presents: Industry Focus – Energy Efficiency - 18 August 2020

The German-Australian Chamber presents: Industry Focus. In each edition we will shed light on a different industry, give up-to-date information on the current economic situation, and discuss industry-specific challenges and opportunities that the Australian market presents.

For businesses involved in the energy efficiency industry, staying up to date on current developments is more important than ever, especially considering the COVID-19 crisis. This event features Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel alongside Henning Ellermann, Head of Energy Efficiency in buildings of DENEFF.

Energy Users Associaiton of Australia 2020 Conference Series - 18 August - 24 September 2020

Beginning in August and running for approximately 16 weeks, the 2020 Conference Series is replacing the EUAA National Conference this year due to the COVID pandemic.

While the pandemic is rightfully taking centre stage, changes in energy markets that will have lasting impacts on energy users, are continuing at pace. It is crucial that energy users understand these changes and are prepared to manage new risks while taking advantage of new opportunities that will emerge in coming years.

This series of highly focused events is an opportunity for large energy users to come together with policy makers, regulators and the energy industry to share information about current and upcoming challenges, ideas, and innovation.

Re-energise Australia: A clean jobs summit for local government - 19 August 2020

Hosted by the Cities Power Partnership, this event will bring together local government leaders and experts to explore local government’s key role in delivering solutions that can rapidly put Australians back to work, reboot the economy, while also tackling long-term challenges like climate change. This event features Holly Taylor, Senior Manager, Projects and Partnerships, Energy Efficiency Council. Holly will discuss how rolling out a council-wide energy efficiency strategy can help stimulate local economies.

Renew presents: BZE Million Jobs Plan - 19 August 2020

The Million Jobs Plan is the framework to restore our economy. Beyond Zero Emissions has mapped out how we can rebuild our nation through practical projects that can restore our economy, modernise our industry, reskill our workforce and deliver a bright and secure economic future. Join Renew and Michael Lord, researcher at BZE, for a presentation on the report. 


Efficiency Insight - July 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

Video update from the Council's CEO, Luke Menzel

We're changing it up this month; I've recorded a short video that covers the current lockdowns in Victoria, the recent National Summit on energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery, and the ongoing campaign for putting energy efficiency at the heart of stimulus measures.

Click on the image above – or here – to take a look. I hope you enjoy the rest of this month's newsletter.

Stay safe,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Policy update

National Summit event summary

Efficiency Leaders with Liz Fletcher of Engevity

Welcome to new Energy Efficiency Council members

Online professional development: CEM, CPD and more

Expert view: Renovation rescue

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Policy update

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

As Luke discusses in his video update above, the momentum for massive action on energy efficiency has been building in Australia, but it is also picking up pace around the world.

In Australia there is now a strong consensus among industry-bodies and think tanks that we will need a major stimulus package to support economic recovery, and that investment in energy efficiency should be a key part of that. Supporters for action on energy efficiency include the Business Council of Australia, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Council of Social Services, Australian Industry Group and the Property Council of Australia.

On 29 June Beyond Zero Emissions released its Million Jobs Plan, which recommends a series of investments in areas like energy efficiency, renewable energy and electric vehicles to create 1.8 million job-years of employment (a ‘job-year’ means one job for one person for one year). The largest source of employment is the proposal to renovate 2.5 million Australian homes to make them energy efficient, which would create 500,000 job-years of employment over five years. The construction of 150,000 new energy efficient social houses would create a further 430,000 job-years over five years, and reducing emissions from manufacturing and mining a further 230,000 job-years of employment.

International research has come to similar conclusions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a global Sustainable Recovery package which recommends that governments focus their stimulus funding on reducing emissions from the energy sector, as this would:

  • Increase economic growth by 1.1 per cent each year
  • Create or save 9 million jobs a year. Energy efficiency is by far the largest source of employment, accounting for 35 per cent of these jobs.

Countries are responding to this advice. The European Union is finalising a ‘European Green Deal’ that would invest €1 trillion over a decade to tackle climate change and environmental degradation. The European Union will provide around 50 per cent of the funding, the private sector around 30 per cent and the remaining funds would come from member states and other sources. Draft plans have included €91 billion for a ‘Renovation Wave’ – a rolling program of building upgrades at an unprecedented scale. The exact allocation of funding to the Renovation Wave is now sitting with member states. Anyone interested in the state of play in Europe should definitely catch up with the latest episode of our podcast, First Fuel, in which Luke interviews Adrian Joyce, Campaign Director of Renovate Europe. Renovate Europe advocates reducing the energy demand of buildings in Europe by 80 per cent by 2050 and has been a major driver of the discussion around building upgrades in the EU.

The UK Government has announced a £3 billion green jobs plan. The plan includes a £2 billion green homes grant to accelerate home retrofits. The Government will provide households with vouchers that will cover at least two-thirds of the cost of selected energy efficient home retrofit measures, including more efficient heating systems, roof and floor insulation, double glazing and efficient doors. The vouchers will be capped at up to £5,000 per household, or £10,000 per low-income household. It also includes £1 billion for energy perfomance upgrades of schools, hospitals and other public buildings, a key measure that can be implemented by governments very quickly and which we believe should be one of the first cabs off the rank when it comes to energy efficiency stimulus.

Governments in Australia are currently considering further rounds of economic stimulus. On 1 July 2020 the National Summit on energy efficiency and Australia’s economic recovery demonstrated that Ministers in NSW and Victoria are aware of international developments and are thinking deeply about whether energy efficiency should be part of stimulus packages. While outcomes are still uncertain, the momentum for more action on energy efficiency is growing by the day.

Energy efficiency schemes

The NSW Government is still working on its design of the updated Energy Security Safeguard (ESS), which will replace the Energy Saving Scheme. The ESS will have two parts – an ‘energy efficiency scheme’ that is effectively a continuation of the Energy Saving Scheme, and a separate scheme that will be introduced later to provide additional incentives for reducing peak demand.

The South Australian Government is taking a very different approach to updating its Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES). Rather than continuing an energy efficiency scheme and setting up a separate scheme that encourages energy savings at peak times, the new ‘Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme’ will completely replace the REES with a scheme that rewards energy savings based on when they occur. The REPS model is nice in theory, but the transition from REES to REPS will need to be handled extremely carefully to avoid energy efficiency activities halting in South Australia.

In particular, the South Australian Government is currently considering both limiting the carryover from REES to REPS to 20 per cent of the 2020 target and recalculating measures undertaken in 2020 under the new scheme rules. If these rules are introduced then there is a real risk that energy efficiency activity could decline in the second half of 2020, undermining the very sensible measures that the South Australian Government announced on 3 July in response to COVID-19, such as raising the limit on commercial lighting from 900GJ to 1,800GJ per site.

However, the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program has undoubtedly presented the biggest challenges to energy efficiency industry. On 1 April 2020 the Victorian Government imposed a temporary suspension on the incentives for a range of household energy efficiency activities, specifically measures 15 (draught-sealing), 17 (low flow shower heads), 21 (lighting upgrades) and 30 (in-home display units). On 24 June, the Victorian Government announced that it would reinstate incentives for these activities, but following a COVID-19 outbreak, on 13 July the Government announced that it would reintroduce the temporary suspension. This will cause significant disruption to the energy efficiency industry, and the EEC will shortly meet with members to discuss how we can minimise this impact.

Energy markets

On 9 July the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) announced that it will only delay the introduction of ‘five-minute settlement’ by three months. The AEMC had been considering a 12-month delay to five-minute settlement due to COVID-19, but in the end decided that there wasn’t a good reason for further delays. As a result, the five-minute settlement will come into force on 1 October 2021, along with the wholesale demand-response mechanism.

If you’re wondering “What the hell is five-minute settlement?", it’s a fairly arcane rule that most people don’t need to know about and I will spare you the gory details. Unless you’re really engaged in energy markets, the only thing that you need to know is that the previous system (30-minute settlement) disadvantaged fast-acting sources of capacity, such as demand-response and batteries. Moving to five-minute settlement will reward these sources properly for being able to switch on and off very quickly.

National Summit: Event summary and session recordings

On Wednesday 1 July 2020 ACOSSAi Group, the Energy Efficiency Council and the Property Council of Australia held a National Summit on energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery. The National Summit was supported by a coalition of industry and community groups, and attended by over 500 live participants.

Energy efficiency and Australia’s economic recovery brought together leaders from politics, business, the community sector and beyond. Together, they highlighted how we must put energy efficiency at the heart of Australia’s economic recovery. 

Energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery: National Summit highlights in 8 minutes!

We know you're looking forward to watching the full three hours of National Summit recordings, but in the meantime you can check out this 8 minute highlight reel with all the best bits from the day!


Seven key National Summit insights from Rob Murray-Leach

However, you may also find it useful to reflect on some of our key take outs:

1.      There is an extraordinary consensus that governments should invest in energy efficiency to stimulate the economy

“If you’re looking for consensus – broad-based support for something - I’ve not seen anything like what we’re seeing in terms of support for investment in energy efficiency”

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

 2.      This consensus exists because energy efficiency delivers both immediate stimulus and multiple long-term benefits

“The reason why we have put this energy efficiency package forward is that one, it’s a jobs machine, and second it’s one of the cheapest tools to help us cut emissions and meet our Paris targets”

Ken Morrison, CEO, Property Council of Australia

“Ai Group are backing and barracking for energy efficiency upgrades, because they are a way to score five goals off one kick. You can grow jobs, you can cut costs, you can improve health, you can strengthen energy systems and you can slash emissions at the same time”

Tennant Reed, Head of Energy, Climate and Environment Policy, Australian Industry Group

“People are starting to understand more that energy efficiency is the cheapest way to get emissions down, but it also has the double benefit of creating jobs and making energy more affordable”

Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

 3.      Energy efficiency creates exactly the jobs we need right now

“I called energy efficiency the swiss army knife of the stimulus spend because it does three things really well. In short term stimulus, you get money into the hands of plumbers and sparkies and brickies and plasterers… all the people involved in delivering energy efficiency… if they get money in their pocket it will have a very rapid multiplier effect in the economy. They ‘ll get it and they’ll spend and spend it in their communities.”

Micheal Liebreich, CEO Liebreich Associates

“You’ve heard a lot about how jobs rich this is… let’s back in investment that can be tailored to local conditions, great energy efficiency, jobs rich and jobs that are suitable for local communities, in contrast to ‘big infrastructure’”

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

4.      Energy efficiency is essential to cut bills, especially for vulnerable Australians

“Over the 11 years that it’s been running, the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program has saved partcipiants about $3 billion, and it’s available to all residents, small medium sized businesses and supports 2,200 job, and reduced peak demand by 900 GW. It’s a winner.”

Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

“Pre- COVID there were 3 million people living below the poverty line. We know that unemployment is the greatest risk in terms of people becoming deeply financially distressed… we should be doing everything we can to lower people’s out of pocket bills…”

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

“Forty-six per cent of Australians are currently working from home. In Victoria, residential energy consumption has gone up by about twenty-seven per cent compared to last year, and we haven’t even really got to winter yet”

Alison Rowe, CEO, Australian Energy Foundation

5.      Energy efficiency boosts competitiveness and economic productivity

“We’re a small open market economy, and our fortunes will be determined by global megatrends. There’s no bigger megatrend than the move towards zero net emissions.”

Hon Matt Kean MP, New South Wales Minister for Energy and Environment

“[Energy efficiency] also has a long term multiplier, because you are improving the asset base of the economy… because you are improving the energy efficiency of your housing stock, your commercial buildings and your industry, and you reduce the input costs of your economy. It’s like you finally have your handbreak fixed, and you don’t have to drive around with it on…. That has a long-term multiplier effect.”

Micheal Liebreich, CEO Liebreich Associates

6.      We have to improve energy productivity to meet our climate goals

“Efficiency is the single best thing we can be aspiring to… the gigawatt that you don’t need to generate is the best kind of low-emissions generation.”

Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist

“To meet our Paris targets we need to do both deep energy efficiency and renewables. If we don’t reduce our energy use while we are [building renewables], it will take us longer and cost us a lot more.”

Hon. Matt Kean MP, New South Wales Minister for Energy and Environment

“Even to get to 2 degrees we’re talking about a 25 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, and if you do that at the same time as creating jobs and continuing these great trends in the developing world… reducing poverty… we need the economic growth… You’re talking about having to reduce emissions per unit of economic value add by somewhere around 4 or 5 per cent per year… I love wind, I love solar… I love batteries… I even love nuclear if anyone can do it at an effective cost point and manage all the other issues… but the supply-side alone won’t get you to the trajectories that we need to be on… It’s not VIRTUALLY impossible to [tackle climate change] with the supply side alone… you’ve got an extra word in there you don’t need. It is impossible to get to the trajectory we need with supply-side only.”

Micheal Liebreich, CEO Liebreich Associates

7.      You need energy efficiency and smart energy management to unlock the full potential of renewable generation

“Energy efficiency is two different things – it’s the technologies that reduce the amount of energy that you need, but it’s also the enabling technologies that enable allow you to use those highly visible generation technologies more effectively… There’s no question that the ultimate limitation to bringing in more solar and wind is being able to do that and keep the system stable – and match loads to the supply. There’s just a huge opportunity for enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence at the operating system level, digitalisation of virtually everything in the network, two-way communication”

Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist


On Friday 3 July ACOSS, Ai Group, the Energy Efficiency Council and the Property Council released a joint statement on creating an efficient recovery for Australia.

Read it here.


The National Summit followed an unprecedented wave of energy efficiency as stimulus proposals from Australian industry, consumer and environmental groups in recent weeks.

For more information, click here.

Efficiency Leaders with Liz Fletcher

The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.

This month we’re profiling Liz Fletcher, Associate Director at Engevity, Co-founder the etc., and new member of the Energy Efficiency Council Board. 

What is your role?

I wear a few hats. I’m an Associate Director at Engevity and co-founder of the etc. I also have the pleasure of being the Marketing and Comms expert on the EEC board.

I work with all sorts of energy businesses to help them have a bigger impact. My remit is quite broad - stretching from strategic marketing and branding all the way through to running RegWrap, a new way to help emerging energy businesses get across the opportunities and risks of the regulatory environment.

There are so many great ideas floating around, I want to make them successful so that we can fast track the transition to net zero.

What did you do prior to your current role?

Up until the end of last year, I headed up Marketing and Advocacy at Flow Power. It was an amazing three-year journey in which we shook up the sector while cutting energy costs for plenty of businesses. It’s fantastic to see the team continuing to kick goals.

What is your organisation’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

Engevity is a network on consultants who are bound by a common goal. We want to do work that brings forward the net zero world. We help clients navigate the complexity of the energy system, from the technical and commercial all the way through to more strategic marketing services.

The rest of my time is spent on the etc which is a community of energy communicators. We want to support good marketing and communications in our sector and create a space for it to thrive. If this sounds like you, join on our website!

What do you enjoy about working for your organisation?

I have a soft spot for smart people who care (probably why I love being on the EEC Board). Engevity is a network of experts who truly want to make a difference. It’s my first leap into consulting after years on the client side and I feel like I’ve made a soft landing despite the complex world we find ourselves in.

How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?

Engevity was working remotely before everyone else was forced to join the bandwagon. We have a Monday meeting and virtual drinks. The team are lovely and we have a lot of fun; Evan even wrote us a rap for the upcoming official launch of RegWrap.

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

My flat is tiny and quite high up. I do believe in gleaning the benefits of my downstairs neighbours’ heating. However, I just replaced the aircon unit thanks to some great twitter advice! It’s going to be DER enabled which I’m very excited about.

Do you now work from home, and if so, what is something you enjoy about working from home?

Get ready for the best energy nerd response… Being able to plan my dishwasher and washing machine around my Amber app.

When not immersed in Australia’s energy transition, what do you do for fun?

Are you saying the energy transition isn’t fun? I’ve almost finished my Exec MBA so when I emerge from that I will probably get back into reading for fun and eating good food. We are also about to adopt a dog. 

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

We have the pleasure of working in a sector that makes the world go round. I am a “grow the pie” kind of person and believe customers are really the secret to making that happen.

You see, a value proposition has two sides. It’s more than an exchange of dollars for service. Customers offer insights, advocacy and so much more that we can tap into. We are just starting to understand the value stack beyond price and I’m so excited to see businesses like UPowr, Enova and Overwatch figuring it out.

Why do you value being a member of the Energy Efficiency Council?

The EEC team were my lifeline when I first started at Flow Power. Rob and Luke were the first stakeholders that I took Matthew to meet with. The EEC provided so much more than they knew – from sense checking through to insights and opportunities.

Now I’m on the Board I’m loving hearing more from the members about what they get from the team and the cohort.

There’s plenty more to come from the EEC so keep an eye out.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

Three words: two sided market.

Welcome to new Energy Efficiency Council members

Membership is the backbone of the Energy Efficiency Council; without our members’ support we wouldn’t be able to pursue our vision of growing the market for energy management in Australia.

As we enter the critical decade, which will be an absolutely pivotal period for our industry, where we must work harder to ensure that new policy settings support the creation of a large, sophisticated market for energy management, we must not forget the value of coming together to leverage our strength together, rather than as many individual voices.

We appreciate all of our members’ commitment to this vision, and want to take the time to welcome new members to our network: Alexander Watson Home Insulation, AICA Energy, Australian Energy Foundation, Ai Group, Carbon Market Institute, Clean Energy Council, ClimateWorks Australia, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Enhar, Facilities Management Association of Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, National Solar Company, PowerPal, Property Council of Australia, Renew, Stiebel Eltron, Sustainable Savings, Websters Group, and Eco Electrical Systems. 

A very warm welcome to our newest members.                                 

Alexander Watson Home Insulation

Alexander Watson is Canberra’s leading specialist in Blow-In Insulation, Batts and Canberra’s ONLY supplier of spray foam insulation engineered to suit Canberra’s Hot-in-Summer, Cold-in-Winter climate extremes.

Our solutions provide optimal thermal and noise reduction properties make them the ideal solution to make your home more comfortable, peaceful, energy efficient and above all, healthy for your family.

All Alexander Watson insulation installers are approved and certified, providing your family with a trusted, fast and easy solution to your home insulation requirements. Quality workmanship and polite friendly service are paramount to us in making your home ‘Canberra Proof’.

AICA Energy

AICA Energy is focused on providing customized products and services for efficient and effective solutions:

  • Our management strategy is to achieve a workforce that reflects diversity in all forms, including gender, skills, experience and ethnicity.
  • In all our efforts, we continue to embrace openness, trust, teamwork, diversity and relationships that are mutually beneficial, reflect our core values and are the focus of our people strategy.

Australian Energy Foundation (AEF)

The Australian Energy Foundation is leading the way to an equitable zero carbon society. We accelerate the energy transition by empowering communities to take action.

Through AEF's energy expertise, tenacity, and partnerships, they:

  1. Demonstrate the pathways to a zero carbon society.
  2. Influence and inspire to build understanding, investment and action.
  3. Deliver solutions that have a positive impact.

AEF's vision is that all Australians have access to the affordable and clean energy they need to be healthy, have meaningful work, maintain financial stability, connect with their community, prosper though continuous learning, and live in a thriving natural environment. It is a society where everyone uses energy from 100% renewable sources.

Ai Group

Ai Group is a peak national industry association representing and connecting  thousands of employers across Australia.

Ai Group represent the interests of more than 60,000 businesses employing more than 1 million staff and promote industry development, jobs growth and stronger Australian communities. 

Members are private sector employers large and small, with common interests in more competitive businesses and a stronger economic environment.

Ai Group members have access to specialist workplace advice and services and to policy leaders and business networks. 

Members value Ai Group’s expertise and ability to contribute to and influence government policy in areas such as industry policy, workplace relations, education and training, energy, trade, taxation and regulation.

Carbon Market Institute (CMI)

CMI is the independent peak industry body at the centre of business and climate action:

  • Speaking for business leading the transition to a net-zero emission economy, sharing knowledge, building capacity and catalysing opportunities;
  • Stewards of Australia’s carbon markets and related effective policies, supporting their continued evolution while working to ensure the integrity of the market, participants and outcomes; and
  • Championing the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and TCFD’s framework of climate and net-zero emission goals and mechanisms for increasing ambition, international cooperation and investment.

CMI's 2050 vision is a prosperous, climate-resilient, net-zero emissions world.   

Clean Energy Council (CEC)

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body for the clean energy industry in Australia. We are a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation. We represent and work with leading businesses operating in or supporting the development of renewable energy and energy storage. We are committed to accelerating the transformation of Australia’s energy system to one that is smarter and cleaner.

ClimateWorks Australia

We bridge the gap between research and climate action and catalyse action towards net zero within Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Our collaborative approach helps key players in our region create practical, tailored climate solutions across the whole economy. We've set our sights on making net zero a reality across the entire economy. This is critical to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

Our four pillars approach is how we can get there;

  1. Energy efficiency and conservation
  2. Decarbonise electricity
  3. Electrify and switch to cleaner fuels
  4. Reduce non-energy emissions and offset

Our end-to-end approach underpins how we collaborate and design programs. We develop agenda-setting research and apply it to specific contexts to meet stakeholder needs. We then implement our findings and empower people to create change.

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Energy in our department:

  • develops and coordinates energy and energy efficiency policy across government
  • administers energy and energy efficiency policies, programs and regulations
  • engages with stakeholder groups and the community on energy and energy efficiency issues
  • participates in international forums to support effective action on energy and energy efficiency
  • supports businesses and households to take action to reduce energy use and costs

Enhar Pty Ltd

Enhar is a trusted energy and solar PV consultancy, with service offerings encompassing commercial solar PV feasibility, design and management; as well as utility energy projects; energy efficiency and grant funding. Established in 2006, Enhar have been a trusted independent consultant to local councils, Universities, government authorities, large energy users, solar PV providers and renewable energy developers. Enhar helps sustainability professionals achieve their 100% renewable energy goals. We do this by raising the standard of the solar and smart energy sector through providing excellent engineering and project management services.

Facility Management Association (FMA)

The Facility Management Association is the peak national industry body for facilities management, representing and supporting professionals and organisations responsible for the operational management of Australia’s built environments. 

Established in 1988, today FMA has branches in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania Victoria and Western Australia.

A primary focus of the Association is to ensure the needs of professionals and organisations working in and dealing with facilities management are understood and considered in government and business policy formulation and decision making.

FMA provides a range of services to members, including advocacy and industry standards development, research, networking and information based events and seminars, education and professional development opportunities and support for special interest groups. 

Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is committed to developing buildings, cities and communities that are healthy, livable, productive, resilient and sustainable.

Established in 2002, the Green Building Council of Australia is the nation’s authority on sustainable buildings, communities and cities. Our vision is to create healthy, resilient and positive places for people. Our purpose is to lead the sustainable transformation of Australia’s built environment. 

  • We rate the sustainability of buildings and communities through Australia’s only national, voluntary, holistic rating system – Green Star.
  • We educate industry and government practitioners and decision-makers, and promote green building programs, technologies, design practices and operations.
  • We advocate policies and programs that support our vision and purpose.

National Solar Company

National Solar Company is established to create a more sustainable future and minimise the carbon footprint of households and businesses. National Solar Company is 100% Australian owned and operated. Our leadership team has been involved in energy cost reduction activities for over 18 years and we are continually driven to supply the best quality products and services. We have a strong client focus, understanding the priorities and drivers of clients in all sectors. People choose to work with us as we are holistic and collaborative in our approach, and we engineer the best design and construct solutions for our clients.


Powerpal Pty Ltd is a platform developer in the energy space. We leverage the latest developments in IoT and machine learning to deliver a digital platform that drives improved energy efficiency outcomes for residential households.

Powerpal’s patented energy data acquisition technology finally unlocks the long anticipated benefits of digital electricity meters. By combining data from existing meter assists with real-time mobile engagement we deliver deliver targeted, actionable and cost-benefit qualified energy efficiency interventions that empower consumers to improve their lifestyle, cut their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

Property Council of Australia (PCA)

The Property Council of Australia is the leading advocate for Australia’s biggest industry and biggest employer – property.  Our industry represents 13% of Australia's GDP, employs 1.4 million Australians (more than mining and manufacturing combined) and secures the future of 14.8 million Australians who have a financial stake in property through their super funds.

The Property Council champions the interests of more than 2200 member companies that represent the full spectrum of the industry, including those who invest, own, manage and develop in all sectors of property, creating landmark projects and environments where people live, work, shop and play.

Led by a powerful board and strong executive leadership team, the Property Council’s vision is a thriving industry creating prosperity, jobs and strong communities.


Renew (Alternative Technology Association Inc trading as Renew Australia) is a national, not-for-profit organisation that inspires, enables and advocates for people to live sustainably in their homes and communities. Established in 1980, Renew provides expert, independent advice on sustainable solutions for the home to households, government and industry.

We have helped thousands of households save money and reduce their environmental footprint with information on energy efficiency, solar power, rainwater tanks, materials reuse and waste.

Renew advocates in government and industry arenas for easy access to sustainable solutions as well as continual improvement of the technology, information and products needed to change the way we live. Renew also provides consultancy services based on our technical expertise in energy, water and communications.

Stiebel Eltron

Stiebel Eltron is a family-owned company driven by innovation and maintains a clear focus on environmentally responsible, efficient and convenient building services. With a rich heritage of more than 95 years in manufacturing innovative home appliances, Stiebel Eltron has become synonymous with high-quality, well-engineered and energy-efficient products, including heat pumps, electric instantaneous water heaters and heat recovery ventilation.

As early as 1976 Stiebel Eltron began developing heat pump technology for energy-efficient hot water, heating and cooling. This heat pump technology has been tried and tested in Germany for over forty years to ensure consumers receive real energy, environmental and money savings.

Stiebel Eltron Australia has been providing energy-efficient solutions to the commercial and residential markets Australia wide since 1996.

Sustainable Savings

Sustainable Savings provide turnkey Holistic Energy Solutions that aim to maximise your savings at optimal cost. 100% engineered turnkey approach embraces every step, from initial investigation and auditing through to engineer-led design, full deployment, post-deployment validation and sustainability reporting. Our engineers will create the right solution mix designed to maximise your energy savings and optimise your investment.

Websters Group

We bring finance and sustainable design together to help business owners understand the practical benefits of energy efficiency. Attention to detail regarding project savings from an engineering and finance perspective is key to unlocking the business case for energy efficiency.

Having spent 10 years writing energy and water audits that seldom got implemented, founder Ryan Dillon knew there had to be a better way. Founded in 2012, Websters Group aims to bring finance and sustainability together through new and innovative funding mechanisms for sustainability projects. While we are consultants able to produce high quality investment grade assessments, we also want to partner with clients and co-invest in projects to assist in bringing our expertise to real installations that save clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Eco Electrical Systems are proud to offer the highest quality electrical services to their residential and commercial customers all across Perth. Being LED lighting experts, we love seeing our happy customers realise the financial and environmental benefits following installation of these amazing products. Also specialising in office & warehouse fitouts, renovations, appliance installations, re-wiring, safety checks, energy saving reports and new build lighting plans, Eco Electrical is Perth’s one-stop-shop for all your lighting and electrical needs. Friendly and efficient, we will arrive on time, treat you and your home or business with respect and keep you informed every step of the way.

Online professional development: CEM, CPD and more

Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

The Energy Efficiency Council is delighted to announce that we are now the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) training partner for the delivery of the Certified Energy Manager (CEM) accreditation in Australia, taking over the reins from Energetics. Importantly, Roger Horwood will continue to deliver the CEM training, and we welcome Roger to the Council's trainer fold. With the AEE and EVO’s Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) accreditation already managed by the Council in Australia, the CEM certification is a natural fit and we look forward to delivering the first CEM course in October.

Certified Energy Manager (CEM) accreditation

Dates: Monday 12 - Thursday 16 October 2020
Times: 10am - 4pm AEST (each day) + 4-hour exam
Contact hours: 25 + exam
Exam: Individually scheduled and proctored within two weeks of the course
Registration closes: Friday 18 September 2020

Training + exam fees:
Standard: $4,390 inc. GST
EEC member: $3,685 inc. GST
Trainer: Roger Horwood
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 20 (max)

Continuing professional development

With accreditation comes the need for CPD, and we are working to build a suite of professional development opportunities to enable CEMs and CMVPs to manage their CPD requirements. Energy efficiency and Australia’s economic recovery on 1 July is a complimentary forum - eligible for CPD - featuring Michael Liebreich, and bringing together leaders from politics, business, the community sector and beyond to discuss how we can act to put energy efficiency at the heart of Australia’s economic recovery.

Continuing professional development for AEE certification

The Council's CEM and CMVP certifications require an ongoing commitment to professional development, and both are subject to a renewal process every three years that requires evidence of 10 AEE credits of CPD.

The Council offers a range of CPD opportunities, from our masterclasses through to the upcoming  National Summit, Energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery on Wednesday 1 July.

CEMs and CMVPs are encouraged to consider their progress towards 10 AEE credit points as we approach the next three-year renewal process.

Online Energy Efficiency Council training

Capturing the Value of Demand Response

Dates: Wednesday 4 – Thursday 5 August 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $490 +GST
EEC member fee: $360 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 8 contact hours; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course.

Click here for more information and to register 

Energy auditing to the Australian Standard

Dates: Tuesday 11 - Wednesday 12 August 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $890 +GST
EEC member fee: $660 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course

Click here for more information and to register

Expert view: Renovation Rescue

Peter M Graham, Associate Professor - Architectural Performance, Monash University

John Thwaites, Chair, Monash Sustainable Development Institute & ClimateWorks Australia

Michael LiSenior Project Manager, ClimateWorks Australia, Monash University

Renovating Australia’s eight million existing homes is essential to improve health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but just as critically would create thousands of jobs and help our economy recover.

Australian houses built before 2004 weren’t required to meet national energy efficiency standards. Many older homes average just 1.8 stars in energy efficiency – this doesn’t just mean that they need much more energy to heat and cool, it also means that they can struggle to provide safe conditions during hot and cold weather. A study by Morshed et al found that bringing older homes up to at least 5.4 stars would reduce deaths from heatwaves by 90 per cent.

Upgrading existing homes to make them safe would also deliver major reductions in energy bills and emissions. Research released in March showed the energy performance of housing must improve by an average 44 to 48 per cent in the next decade for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This means building new homes above today’s energy standards and upgrading existing homes.

Renovating existing buildings would also provide critical economic stimulus, with research suggesting that each US$1 million spent on upgrading buildings delivers 14 job-years of employment. A new report from the Global Building Performance Network shows how large-scale building renovation programs can boost energy efficiency, create jobs and deliver long-term cost savings.

Renovation Europe

The European Union (EU) has been working to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings for many years now. The EU’s 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive requires member states to set renovation targets for existing buildings, and many countries have required the disclosure of a building’s energy performance when it is sold or leased.

However, implementation of these renovation directives has been patchy. This has motivated the European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE) to launch the ‘Renovate Europe Campaign’ calling for policy action to support ambitious renovation of existing buildings. The campaign’s goal is to reduce the energy demand of the EU’s building stock by 80 per cent by 2050. Whether the campaign achieves its full goals or not, it is highly likely that the EU will introduce further measures for energy efficient building renovation as part of its COVID-19 economic stimulus packages.

Renovation in Australia

The Australian federal government’s new HomeBuilder scheme offers eligible Australians money to renovate or build a home. While it has attracted controversy, HomeBuilder does offer a much-needed opportunity to make old homes more energy-efficient.

The HomeBuilder initiative will provide a grant of A$25,000 to eligible property owners, with an income of no more than A$125,000 per year (or A$200,000 for a couple). And they’re required to spend at least A$150,000 on renovations. It’s touted as a way to protect construction jobs and help stimulate the post-coronavirus economy, but should be expanded to reach a greater proportion of home-owners and renters.

Energy-efficient home improvements could include:

  • draught-proofing doors and windows
  • switching to LED lighting
  • upgrading to solar hot water heaters
  • insulating ceilings, floors and walls
  • replacing windows with double glazing
  • creating temperature zones so you don’t have to heat or cool the whole house
  • adding shading to windows and orienting living areas to the north, to take advantage of winter sun.

Drawing from international examples, here are six policies Australian governments should adopt to deliver both economic impact and emissions savings over the long term.

1. Set renovation targets

Australian governments should commit to annual renovation targets to meet energy efficiency goals at a local, state and national level.

Australia can learn from the European Union’s energy efficient directive, introduced in 2012.

The directive includes increasing the rate of public building renovations to 3% a year to improve energy efficiency. It’s coupled with a long-term strategy to mobilise investment to renovate existing residential and commercial buildings. This has helped the EU stay on track to reach its 20% energy efficiency target this year.

Analysts estimate EU initiatives to renovate buildings provided the opportunity to lift the EU’s gross domestic product by up to 2.3% between 2012-2020.

2. Upgrade local precincts

Australia can deliver “net zero makeovers” to multiple buildings in particular precincts, cutting emissions at scale. It could follow the lead of the Netherlands’s Energiesprong (or “Energy Leap” in English) program.

Energiesprong homes are designed to pay for themselves over 30 years. Innovative construction techniques, such as prefabricated facades, mean the work takes as little as a week and residents don’t have to move out during the process.

The program is now being implemented in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, California and New York State.

3. Make home energy ratings and labelling clear

In Australia, home energy ratings are not mandatory. Without them, many Australians probably know more about the energy efficiency ratings of their refrigerators than their homes.

The recently released King Review recommended Australia develop an energy performance rating scheme for new and existing residential buildings.

This is what’s happening in places such as the EU, China and some US states. Buildings certified under the US “Energy Star” label use 50% less energy than typical buildings.

4. Enforce energy efficiency standards for renovation

One easy win available to governments is to ensure compliance with existing energy efficiency requirements.

By applying the energy efficiency provisions of the national building code to renovations, the Beijing municipal government substantially reduced emissions from existing buildings.

Australia’s National Construction Code, which sets out building regulations for new buildings, also requires major renovations to comply with its energy efficiency rules. But it’s poorly enforced.

Governments must urgently clarify and enforce the code’s energy efficiency requirements for renovations.

5. Introduce standards for rental properties

In the rental market, landlords and tenants have “split incentives” - tenants pay the energy bills, but landlords make investment decisions. This means investments to improve energy efficiency in rental housing aren’t often made.

It also means many private renters are paying high energy bills and face health risks from heat and cold.

In some countries, such as France, rental properties must meet reasonable energy efficiency standards, which overcomes this problem. State governments in Australia should implement provisions like this.

6. Offer financial incentives

Local, state or national governments can provide direct financial incentives or tax incentives to create low-energy homes.

In Australia, states already offer financial incentives for energy efficiency, but tax incentives would require federal support.

In Germany, a grant scheme for energy efficient renovations and new housing created 253,000 jobs according to one measure. It also created a net benefit to public finances of about €10 billion in 2011.

Looking ahead

The COVID-19 impact on Australia’s construction industry is likely to last years.

But by adopting these six policies, Australian governments can deliver healthier, lower-energy housing, and bring us closer to meeting our climate targets.

This article originally appeared in modified form in The Conversation.


Are you a member of the Energy Efficiency Council with a view on an energy management hot topic? Contact us at to discuss penning an op-ed for an upcoming edition of Efficiency Insight.

Efficiency Insight - June 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

President's welcome

Back at the start of April I wrote to you to outline the Energy Efficiency Council’s strategy for protecting jobs in the energy efficiency sector and playing our role in the recovery.

The framework I announced – Protect, Pivot and Rebound – was designed to ensure the Council was proactively engaged on the key phases of the recovery that we knew – even back in April – would be essential to safeguard our sector.

It seems like a long time ago. Decisive action from state and federal governments has seen Australia ‘bend the curve’, and for the moment at least the immediate health crisis is under control.

However, the task of rebuilding our economy remains before us. We have worked with partners large and small to ensure energy efficiency is central to conversations around stimulus.

This push is continuing to build momentum; indeed there are some very exciting announcements on this front that the team will be sharing with you in the next few days.

However, the reality is that while we deal with the urgent we can’t forget the big strategic issues facing our sector. That’s why Luke, Rob and the team remain actively engaged in consultations on the Technology Investment Roadmap, the Future of NABERS and the NSW Government’s new Energy Security Safeguard. We need to deal with both the immediate crisis and the big long term issues.

New roadmap supports emissions reduction for Aussie industry

This focus on the future is why I welcome today's release of a new report, Pivot – Rebound – Transform, an independant paper from the experts on the Market Transformation Task Group established by the Energy Efficiency Council.

These specialists in carbon and energy management have  developed a plan for rapidly transforming the energy management market that supports Australian industry, and at a time of great uncertainty their recommendations could not be more timely. 

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox and Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel have both welcomed the report this morning; you can read more here, and below.

Wholesale demand response coming October 2021

Ultimately a focus on the long term pays off, as evidenced by the new wholesale demand response mechanism announced by the Australian Energy Market Commission last Thursday. This was a change advocated by a large number of organisations, but I can say as a Board we are particularly proud of the role that the Council has played – particularly Rob Murray-Leach – in keeping this issue on the agenda over the last decade.

The Council’s Board met yesterday afternoon. Having successfully navigated some challenging months, our attention is firmly on how we can continue to have an impact on behalf of our sector over the coming year. I’ll have more to share soon, but one thing is for sure; we will be unrelenting in advocating for the role of energy efficiency, energy management and demand response in both the short and the long term.


Professor Tony Arnel

Energy Efficiency Council

Connect with Tony on LinkedIn.


Welcome to new Energy Efficiency Council member A2EP

Policy update

From First Fuel: Unpacking Active Efficiency with Andrew McAllister

Efficiency Leaders with Scott Ferraro of Monash University

New roadmap supports emissions reduction journey for Aussie industry

Online professional development: First Fuel podcast and more

Expert view: Demand side measures can avoid Victoria’s forecasted gas supply shortfall

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Welcome to new Energy Efficiency Council member A2EP

The Energy Efficiency Council would like to welcome its newest NGO Partner member, the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP).

A2EP is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit coalition of business, government and research leaders promoting a more energy productive economy.

This a critical time for the energy management sector, and this new partnership will allow us to work more closely than ever with A2EP CEO Jarrod Leak and his team to ensure energy efficiency is put at the heart of Australia's energy transition.

Integrative design for radical energy efficiency webinar with Amory Lovins

9am - 10.30am AEST, Thursday 18 June 

If you haven't already registered, be sure to join Jarrod at 9am this morning, when he will be joined by Amory Lovins, Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Click here to register.

Amory Lovins is renowned as a leading integrative designer of super-efficient buildings, factories and vehicles and has recently been exploring how to make integrative design the new normal so that investments in energy efficiency can yield expanding rather than diminishing returns.

Policy update

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

Extraordinary coalitions call for an efficiency-led stimulus

Momentum has been building for COVID-recovery stimulus packages that focus on both energy management and renewable energy. The reason for that is pretty simple:

-       Jobs: Energy efficiency is extremely effective at creating local jobs. McKinsey and Company estimate that every $10 million of stimulus that is focussed on fossil fuels will create 27 jobs. However, if governments spend $10 million to stimulate investment in renewable technologies it will create 75 jobs, and if they focus on energy efficiency it will create a whopping 77 jobs. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has also highlighted that Energy efficiency is a tried-and-true stimulus strategy. In 2009-2011 the United States invested USD $11 billion in energy efficiency upgrades, which created 200,000 jobs.

Beyond Zero Emissions has just released a new report that concluded that upgrading the energy efficiency of 2.5 million existing homes and building new efficient public housing would create over 180,000 jobs in Australia. This report is a ‘must read.’

-       Counter-cyclical: Good stimulus measures involve governments increasing expenditure during downturns, investing in infrastructure that delivers long-term improvements in welfare or productivity, and then reducing expenditure as the economy recovers. Energy efficiency investments fits neatly into this pattern, especially upgrading public buildings like hospitals and public housing that deliver long-term budget savings. One Australian government has estimated that spending around $500 million to upgrade its own buildings would deliver over $2 billion in reduced energy and maintenance costs over the life of those assets.

-       Reducing emissions: Countries need to urgently invest in clean energy and energy efficiency to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets. Energy efficiency is a huge and often overlooked source of emissions reductions – between 2014 and 2016, an estimated 75 per cent of global emissions reductions from the energy sector came from energy efficiency, with around 25 per cent coming from renewables, fuel switching and other sources. The abatement from renewables should ramp up rapidly over the next decade, but efficiency will continue to play a key role.

-       Health and affordability: Many Australian home have very poor insulation, draughtproofing, heating and cooling. This means that these homes are not only expensive to run, they also get dangerously cold in winter and dangerously hot during heatwaves. A study from 2016 modelled that upgrading the energy efficiency of existing homes could reduce the mortality from future heatwaves by 90 per cent.

As a result, Germany will focus 30 per cent of its 130 billion Euro economic recovery package on activities to cut emissions. Likewise, the European Union will focus much of its stimulus on a ‘green recovery’, with its Green Deal aiming to invest around 1 trillion Euros to make the bloc climate neutral by 2050.

These developments haven’t been lost on Australian business and community leaders. As we highlighted in our last newsletter, a broad coalition of groups have called for energy management to play a key role in Australia’s economic recovery, including the Business Council of Australia, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Australian Industry Group.

This details of this broad call for action are now being filled out by various sectors. Yesterday a coalition of building groups launched a plan for economic recovery focussed on energy efficiency and clean energy in the building sector. The Property Council of Australia, the Green Building Council of Australia, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and the Energy Efficiency Council jointly called on governments to create 90,000 job years of employment through measures that include:

  1. Improving the comfort and performance of residential homes through targeted equipment upgrades and incentives for deeper retrofits, with a priority for social housing and low income and vulnerable households; 
  2. Driving commercial building upgrades through tax incentives and establishing a ‘Smart Building Fund’ to support mid-tier building owners to rate and guide the upgrade of their buildings;
  3. Embarking on an ambitious program to upgrade schools and hospitals and other government owned and occupied buildings with the Commonwealth committing to match funding from state and territory governments up to $150m in each jurisdiction;
  4. Empowering building owners, buyers and renters with a single national rating scheme for home energy performance and prioritising its development in line with the recent recommendations from the King Review; and
  5. Undertaking a rapid review of skills needs around energy efficiency, and roll out priority measures to support workers transitioning from other sectors.

In coming days an extremely large coalition of housing, community, welfare and other groups will launch another set of detailed recommendations that focus on improving the energy efficiency of low-income homes. This plan will be available at the ACOSS website as soon as it is published.

Any one of these statements is remarkable, but it is genuinely extraordinary to see multiple aligned statements coming out in such a short period of time. I have rarely seen this type of consensus from peak bodies representing businesses, communities and the environment.

Whether Australian governments will fully heed these calls is still unknown, but the conversation isn’t changing – it’s changed. I’m wary of making statements that sound like propaganda, but there isn’t any other way to put it - Australia’s business and community leaders are literally united in calling for governments to take action on energy efficiency.

Victorian public housing

A common call across groups is for governments to stimulate the economy by investing in new social housing and upgrading the energy efficiency of existing social housing. ‘Social housing’ is an umbrella term for housing that is provided for people with low incomes or particular needs, and includes ‘public housing’, which is owned and operated by governments, and ‘community housing’, which is owned and run by non-profits.

The Victorian Government has heeded this call, with an announcement that it will invest almost $500 million to build 168 new social housing units and upgrade 23,000 existing dwellings. While much of this funding will go to various forms of basic maintenance, the Victorian Government has specifically earmarked $4 million of investment to upgrade hot water systems and lighting in high-rise public housing.

Queensland schools

The Queensland Government has also brought forward some of its expenditure on clean energy as part of its stimulus program. The Queensland Government previously committed $97 million to an ‘Advancing Clean Energy Schools’ program that will install solar PV and energy efficiency measures in over 800 state schools by June 2022. The program is planned to be rolled out in three phases. On 21 May 2020 the Queensland Government announced that it would bring some of that investment forward to stimulate the economy.

Federal tax deductions extended

On the 9 June 2020 the Australian Government announced it will extend the $150,000 instant asset write-off until 31 December 2020. This program can be used to help energy users invest in substantially improving the energy efficiency of their facilities.

The instant asset write-off allows businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million to instantly write off new and second hand assets where each asset costs less than $150,000. Under the current law, these assets must be first used or installed between 12 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 – the proposed extension of the period to 31 December 2020 has not yet been passed into law, and must go through the parliamentary process.

The EEC strongly urges members and energy users to learn about this program. EEC staff have been advised that millions of dollars of investment in clean energy and energy management assets have already been made under this program, and it has the potential to drive further investments in energy management.

Energy efficiency schemes

Australia’s energy efficiency schemes continue to deliver large energy and carbon savings. Developments in the last month include:

-       The Victorian Government has announced that the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program target for 2021 will be 6.5 million certificates, the same amount as in 2020. The government is still working on setting the targets for 2022-25 but the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio has announced that she is committed to ambitious targets for that period. The Victorian Government has not yet announced when it will lift the temporary suspension of some in-home activities, and we will advise members as soon as this occurs.

-       EEC members have met several times with the NSW Government to discuss the design of the Energy Security Target and Safeguard, including its new peak reduction scheme. These measures consider both supply-side and demand-side measures in ensuring energy security in NSW, and this could have positive ramifications for both NSW and other states. We anticipate more details on the schemes later in 2020.

Demand response mechanism

On 11 June 2020 the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC)  released its final determination on a Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism (WDRM). The AEMC has determined to introduce a WDRM that will start operating on 24 October 2021.

We set out the details of the WDRM in more detail last week, but in summary - many energy users pay relatively flat energy tariffs and are not incentivised to reduce demand when wholesale energy prices are high. The WDRM will enable large energy users to sell their demand response to a Demand Response Service Provider (DRSP), who can then sell it into the wholesale electricity market as if it is generation.

This rule change will enable energy users to continue their current arrangements with their energy retailer and have a completely separate relationship with a DRSP, which could be their current retailer, a different retailer or a non-retailer. In other words, the mechanism will reduce the barriers to energy users engaging experts to help them manage their demand.

Only commercial and industrial energy users will be able to participate in the WDRM. The AEMC has indicated that smaller energy users will have to wait until the development of a ‘two-sided’ energy market to facilitate demand response by smaller energy users. However, smaller energy users (e.g. households and SMEs) can still participate in demand response by either becoming exposed to the wholesale spot market price or agreeing to be rewarded by their energy retailer if they reduce their demand when called upon to do so.

This reform will help support the development of more demand response capacity in the National Electricity Market (NEM), which will help to ensure that Australia has enough capacity to meet demand during periods of peak demand days or when generators or interconnectors aren’t functioning.

This rule change is the result of over a decade of work by a range of dedicated reformers that are too numerous to mention, but particular congratulations to the rule change proponents (the Government of South Australia, PIAC, TEC and TAI), the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Energy Market Commission. The Australian Energy Market Operator will lead the next step of the process in terms of designing the details of the WDRM.

From First Fuel: Unpacking active Efficiency with Andrew McAllister

Recently on our podcast, First Fuel, EEC CEO Luke Menzel spoke with Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission. It was a wide ranging discussion that included an explanation of the concept of ‘active efficiency’, which integrates traditional energy efficiency and demand response and is being championed by the US Alliance to Save Energy.

Read on for the portion of the interview that focused on active efficiency; to hear the entire interview and subscribe to future episode of First Fuel click here.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Luke: So Andrew, one of the topics that you’ve been talking about recently is ‘active efficiency’, which is not a term that has gained a lot of currency here in Australia but I can see has gained some momentum in the US. Do you want to unpack that for us?

Andrew: Sure thing. Traditional energy efficiency is the LED replacing and incandescent light bulb, doing the exact same service with less energy. That’s still absolutely valid if you’re a homeowner or a business owner, you want and need to make those investments. But increasingly we live in a distributed energy world in a time of changing climate with a much more urgent need for resilience.

Technology is shifting. With more EVs, and with more electric heating with heat pumps, we can move to more renewable generation over time, but all that requires investment in the distribution grid. We optimise that investment by having loads that can work with the system that’s there rather than just rebuild and gold-plate the network for rare peak load.

In short we need buildings with flexible loads. We want buildings to be able to drop load on a hot summer day when there’s not enough capacity, such as when you lose a power plant or transmission line. But we also want them to take more energy when we have a lot more solar available with nowhere for it to go.

So active efficiency is the combination of energy efficiency in the traditional sense and demand response. It is digitised, real-time and bi-directional. A lot of it is automated in the background. It could be that the building tweaks the temperature a little bit, or uses the water heater as thermal storage, or quickly charges the car in the middle of the day rather than in the morning. This creates opportunities to utilise no-carbon and carbon-free energy when its available in the system, which gives you the flexibility to not use more carbon-intense energy at other times of the day.

Active efficiency is good for the customer and good for the grid at large because it optimises the whole system. This is the time for this conversation because we have cheap communications, web-based platforms, and artificial intelligence. All these tools are routinely being used in many sectors of our economy,  but they aren’t being applied at any scale in the energy systems. We need that to change.

So active efficiency is a really compelling ‘two-for–one’, or even a ‘three-for’ or ‘four-for–one’ really – you get so many benefits by building in this capacity. This is especially the case if you are considering retrofitting a bunch of buildings as part of COVID-19 stimulus packages. The incremental investment in active efficiency is relatively small in terms of a broader upgrade to an existing building. It’s just piggy-backing these flexible technologies while you are doing energy efficiency upgrades and allowing our buildings to be all they can be.

Luke: Here at the Council we talk about active efficiency, but not in those words. I think it’s a nice phrase that really cuts through, because it knits together the two side of the conversation. Traditionally you have the supply side and demand side, and never the twain shall meet. But that concept of active efficiency facilitates a conversation with those folks who are passionate about the transition to renewables.

Of course there is a lot of concern around how you deal with a grid with higher penetrations of renewables. The good news is we have a whole toolbox over here, called active efficiency, that can help deal with that integration piece, and allow us to transition the supply side more quickly and cheaply than we otherwise could.

Andrew: Yeah, the bulk power system is going through an interesting transformation right now. In the US we’ve seen more coal retired just since Trump took office than during all of the Obama administration, even though the Trump administration is trying to support it. It’s not happening and that’s due to market forces. The reality is that we have an increasingly  dynamic system and baseload power like coal is not really adequate for it. And we have all these renewables that we need to find a home for. We’ve seen renewables overtake even natural gas as the largest chunk of new capacity in the last few years.

The reality is that the marketplace is pushing us in this direction. Certainly, there’s been muscular policy direction in California – ‘there has to be 100%’ is a very clear policy. So between the market and policy, the direction is clear. The practical challenge we now have is around optimisation, and active efficiency can really help with that. But we need to tell that story, and we believe active efficiency is a good term because it’s relatable.

Luke: So there are a bunch of ways of describing this broad set of ideas… can you compare active efficiency to some of the other terms floating around, like energy productivity and digital energy efficiency?

Andrew: I’m a Board Director at the Alliance to Save Energy, and we went through all of the above and then some, and landed on active efficiency. But energy productivity was right in the mix.

In the United States, there was a couple of years where there was a purge of anything related to climate in the federal political discussion. The Alliance focusses on the federal conversation by and large, so energy productivity had the benefit that it’s more likely to be bipartisan. Who’s going to say that doing more with less isn’t a good thing? So energy productivity became and remains a focus, especially in the industrial context certainly.

However in terms of having a marquee initiative, which is what we were brainstorming at the time, energy productivity didn’t quite get to the finish line because it’s a little too vague and not quite focussed enough. If you’re focussed on units of productivity or GDP per unit energy, you can envision that turning into increased emissions or energy consumption if you’re always successfully growing your economy. Clearly we need to change direction, reduce overall emissions and be explicit about that. So for us, the productivity discussion doesn’t have the quite right framing for the long term, but maybe it works for the near term.

Luke: And digital energy efficiency, which is a term coined by the International Energy Agency in its most recent market report?

Andrew: Digitisation is absolutely a great term in some contexts. It certainly sounds more European!

Active efficiency and digital energy efficiency are obviously kindred spirits. Active efficiency can’t happen if we don’t pull efficiency into the digital age and apply all these new technologies. Bi-directional communication, automated control,  building management driven by algorithms back in the cloud. That is digitisation, no question about it. It’s just a matter of what has traction with your audience, more than anything. The IEA is a place where digitisation might be a better fit than, say, in the US. The IEA has a relatively sophisticated audience!

To listen to this and other episodes of the Energy Efficiency Council’s podcast, First Fuel, click here.

Efficiency Leaders with Scott Ferraro of Monash University

The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.

This month we’re profiling Scott Ferraro, Program Director of Monash University's Net Zero Initiative, and new member of the Energy Efficiency Council Board.

What is your role?

I’m the Program Director of Monash University’s Net Zero Initiative. I oversee the program which aims to deliver on Monash’s commitment to meet net zero emissions across its four Australian campuses by 2030.

What did you do prior to your current role?

I was the Head of Implementation at ClimateWorks Australia, working with government and industry to establish net zero pathways and a supportive policy environment.

What is your company’s/organisation’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

Monash is a not only a large energy user across its campuses, but we are also actively trying to develop solutions to help transition to a 100% renewable powered energy system. Under the Net Zero Initiative we’re looking to improve the efficiency of our buildings through retrofits, but also pushing the envelope on new buildings trying to meet a Passive House standard. We’re getting off natural gas, rolling out PV and have a PPA with the Murra Warra wind farm. But we also realise the solutions aren’t just supply side – and the microgrid we’re developing at our Clayton campus has the aim to enable us to have flexibility in our demand to reduce our operating costs, and also allow for greater penetration of renewables into the system.

What do you enjoy about working for your company/organisation?

The ambition of what we are trying to do, and the cross organisational support for it. We are trying to decarbonise our own operations, but in a way that helps solve the broader challenges the industry is facing.

How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?

As a team we worked in a relatively flexible manner prior to COVID, so while there’s been an adjustment, it hasn’t been a giant shock. We’re trying to solve problems on a daily basis so we interact a lot on Zoom. We have regular catch ups, and try and share the personal as well as the professional.

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

I’ve actually just moved back into my home after a 12 month plus renovation. We worked with our architects to ensure we had as good a passive design as possible on a small inner-city block working with a 100yr old building. We pushed hard on the insulation, paid extra for good windows, went all electric and have put in solar. 3 weeks in and worth every additional dollar for the comfort alone through the start of Melbourne’s winter!

Do you now work from home, and if so, what is something you enjoy about working from home?

Yes, I’ve been at home and will be for a while yet. I actually love not having to commute – not only does it reduce emissions, but gives me more time to get my kids out the door. I love school being back as well!

When not immersed in Australia’s energy transition, what do you do for fun?

I’m a keen, but not overly talented, surfer, so I’ll sneak down the coast when I can to escape the city, or when time poor, take advantage of the new wavepool that’s been built near the Melbourne airport.

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

I’m excited that the demand side is starting to get more attention re the pivotal role it can play, and we’re starting to think about integration across various sectors of our economy. I’m on board with Luke’s recent podcast talking about “Active Efficiency” – I think we could take it one step further and call it “Interactive Efficiency”. The digital solutions available to not only drive greater energy efficiency, but to be able to orchestrate that energy is exciting, and being able to do that across the buildings and mobility sectors makes for some interesting times.

Why do you value being a member of the Energy Efficiency Council?

I think the demand side is getting more attention due to efforts of the EEC and its members, which is critical if we want to achieve net zero emissions as quickly and cheaply as possible. I also value the networking I get via the EEC’s ability to connect me with all the stakeholders across the sector. And the EEC’s policy work is second to none; the ability for me to share what we are learning which the EEC can feed into policy making to help shape the future energy market only helps enhance the impact I can have as an individual and an organisation.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

Being an optimist, I think we will start to see the fruits of the market reform agenda playing out this decade, and the demand side getting its time in the sun. I think the energy management market is at a tipping point as we look to meet our emission reduction targets in ever shortening time frames; the technology is ready, the markets are emerging, and we’re figuring out the right business models. If as a sector we can bring our users and customers along on the journey with us, there’s no reason the 2020s can’t be the decade of energy management.

Pivot – Rebound – Transform: a practical plan for rapidly transforming the energy management market that supports Australian industry

The Energy Efficiency Council and Australian Industry Group have released a new report that sets out a practical plan for rapidly transforming Australia’s energy and carbon management market.

The report, Pivot – Rebound – Transform, highlights the crucial role of a vibrant energy and emissions management sector that supports Australian industry to build a new energy advantage while lowering emissions.

Industry Council on Energy and Emissions (ICEE)

One of the report’s key recommendations is the creation of a new peak bodies forum, the Industry Council on Energy and Emissions (ICEE).This committed group, modelled on existing initiatives addressing the built environment, would represent all parts of industry, and engage deeply with governments to co-design policies and programs, supporting their effective implementation.

Other priority recommendations include:

1.1          Running a rapid co-design process of agreed energy management market stimulus measures including the plan’s priority recommendations listed in this table;

2.1          Catalysing Energy Management System (EnMS) uptake by inclusion of ISO 50001 (or similar) provisions in current state-based energy efficiency schemes;

2.2          Engaging closely with other governments as NSW designs the new Energy Security Safeguard, with the goal of encouraging a cross-jurisdictional approach to incentivise widescale adoption of sub-metering, sensors, control systems, and industrial energy storage;

3.1          Rapidly creating the foundation of a professional development pathway for energy management service providers by delivering training and certification on key energy management opportunities for industrial businesses; and

3.2          Utilising the training and certification framework recommended in 3.1 to develop whole-of-government panels made up of highly qualified experts in targeted fields that will be able to deliver – with confidence from both government and industry – services to industrial businesses.

The report was prepared by an independent group, the Energy Efficiency Council convened Market Transformation Task Group, which was made up of energy and carbon experts, and Chaired by the Council’s Secretary, John Huggart.

Read the report here.

If you’re eager to take a deep dive into the recommendations we’ll be hosting a First Fuel live webinar recording on the topic in early July, so keep your eyes peeled.  

Online professional development: First Fuel podcast and more

First Fuel podcast

The Energy Efficiency Council's podcast, First Fuelbrings you the latest perspectives on energy efficiency, energy management and demand response from Australia and around the world.

If you've missed any of our recent live recordings, be sure to click here to subscribe to your prefered streaming service, where you can catch episodes one through seven, with episode eight not far behind. 

Upcoming First Fuel podcast live recordings

Keep your eyes on our Twitter, LinkedIn, and the podcast page to keep up to date on our upcoming recordings!

Online Energy Efficiency Council training


Certified Measurement & Verification Professional – only 3 spots left!

Dates: Monday 20 – Thursday 23 July 2020

Session 1: 10.00AM-12.30PM (please be online by 9.45AM to ensure a prompt start)
Break: 12.30-1.30PM
Session 2: 1.30-4.00PM
Exam: 4 hour exam individually scheduled and proctored in a two week window after course completion

Standard fee: $3,950
EEC member fee: $3,160

Click here for more information and to register.

Registrations close: 30 June 2020
Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Class size: 17 maximum
Mandatory pre-course work: 3-5 hours
Schedule: 20 contact hours + 4 hour exam

All dates and times are AEST.

Capturing the Value of Demand Response

Dates: Wednesday 4 – Thursday 5 August 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $490 +GST
EEC member fee: $360 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 8 contact hours; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course.

Click here for more information and to register 

Energy auditing to the Australian Standard

Dates: Tuesday 11 - Wednesday 12 August 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $890 +GST
EEC member fee: $660 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course

Click here for more information and to register

Expert view: Demand side measures can avoid Victoria’s forecasted gas supply shortfall

By Trent Hawkins

The eastern Australian gas market has undergone significant transformation in the last five years, with six gas trains built in Queensland supplying LNG to international markets, and significant growth in gas production in northern Australia (namely from coal seam gas sources in Queensland). Alongside this expansion of Queensland gas supply, offshore gas resources in Victoria (Otway, Bass, and Gippsland) that have traditionally supplied southern states (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria) have begun to deplete.

The 2019 Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) highlighted a potential gas supply shortfall to the southern states by 2025. This forecast shortfall was responded to with calls for immediate government action to facilitate new gas production wells and other measures to increase supply. While many voices have called for additional gas supplies, there has been considerably less attention on the potential for measures that reduce gas demand to serve as a solution to the forecast gas shortfall.

Victorian Gas Market – Demand Side Measures to Avoid Forecast Supply Shortfall

Consequently, Northmore Gordon was recently engaged by Environment Victoria to assess the Victorian gas market supply and demand balance in the next ten years, and the role of demand side measures in avoiding any shortfalls.

Using data from the 2019 GSOO and modelled Victorian gas demand for each sector, we estimated the annual surplus or shortfall in Victoria until 2030. Forecast production estimates were taken from existing, committed, and anticipated projects, but did not include any available supply from northern regions (Queensland and Northern Territory) transported via gas pipeline to Victoria.


This analysis found that, on an annual basis, there is enough supply capacity in Victoria until 2027, however from 2027 until 2030 there is a shortfall of between 26 PJ and 85 PJ.

The same technology innovation that has led to falling prices in wind and solar PV has resulting in a plethora of high efficiency electric alternatives to fossil fuel combustion driven equipment. These include reverse cycle air-conditioners; heat pump hot water systems; and induction, microwave, and infrared process heating systems.

Industry, for many years faced with unprofitably high gas prices, has recognised the competitive advantage of direct procurement of renewable electricity, via on-site solar PV or off-site Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and have combined these with efficient electric alternatives to replace out-dated natural gas combustion systems.Households have also followed suit, as evidenced by the uptake of rooftop solar PV and reverse cycle air conditioners for heating.

Electrification and efficiency opportunities across the economy

We assessed the potential for readily available electrification technologies and gas efficiency activities to significantly reduce Victorian gas demand and offset the need for new gas field developments. This review was based on existing published literature and previous work by Northmore Gordon for commercial and industrial clients. Measures were selected that were considered generally applicable and achievable in the next 5 to 10 years with current technology and targeted economic support.




Ease of implementation



Anticipated gas reduction (PJ/annum)


Replace ageing ducted gas heating systems





48 PJ


Improving building insulation[1]





> 10 PJ


Use existing air-conditioners for space heating


Very easy

Zero cost


5-15 PJ


Heat pump hot water





10 PJ


Heat pump space heating





7.75 PJ


Industrial gas efficiency





2.5 PJ to 5.5 PJ


Renewable process heating


Moderate to hard



13.6 PJ


High temperature heat pumps





1 PJ to 3.5 PJ


Induction cooktops





0.5 PJ

Total gas demand reduction

98.35 PJ to 113.85 PJ

 An important conclusion is that more than half of the total shortfall could be made up by a single measure – replacing ageing ducted gas space heating systems in households with efficient reverse cycle air-conditioning systems.

Energy efficiency and fuel switching almost entirely eliminate the forecast shortfall

By modelling a linear adoption of the proposed measures and mapping the resulting gas demand reduction against the forecast supply adequacy, we demonstrated that the adoption of measures such as energy efficiency and fuel switching entirely eliminates the forecast shortfall, with the exception of in 2028 which had a minor 6.5PJ modelled shortfall.

A detailed review was also conducted of existing and historic government support programs relating to gas usage and energy efficiency. The review investigated the efficacy of current programs in supporting households and businesses to improve energy efficiency and identifying potential pathways for supporting gas demand reduction measures.

Opportunities for policies and programs to facilitate the uptake of electrification and energy efficiency

Northmore Gordon also consulted representatives of industry associations, such as the Energy Savings Industry Association, Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity, and the Energy Efficiency Council. Drawing on the program review and input from industry association representatives, several policy recommendations were developed for government and decision makers. These included:

  • Amendment of Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) activities to remove support for fuel switching from electric to gas;
  • Introduction of new VEU activities to incentivise replacement of gas hot water systems and gas space heating systems with electric heat pump and reverse cycle air-conditioners;
  • Amending the Victorian Building Authority Minimum 6-star energy provisions to include heat pumps as acceptable solar hot water systems;
  • Establishing a Sustainability Victoria led training program, coupled with VEU support, to engage and educate relevant trades, developers, and building owners on all-electric homes;
  • Establishment of a new energy efficient business program, similar to the NSW Business Energy Saver Program within the Victorian Department of Environment Water Land and Planning (DEWLP) or the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions (DJPR); and
  • Provide Victorian government backing and joint funding to the ARENA renewable process heat program.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from Environment Victoria's website.

About Northmore Gordon

Northmore Gordon is a specialist energy consultancy focused on reducing energy costs for industrial and large commercial businesses. For more information, visit our website at

Trent Hawkins is a Principal Energy Consultant at Northmore Gordon. Trent can be reached at

1 Gas demand reduction is not necessarily additive with other residential measures.

Are you a member of the Energy Efficiency Council with a view on an energy management hot topic? Contact us at to discuss penning an op-ed for an upcoming edition of Efficiency Insight.

Efficiency Insight - May 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

CEO welcome

COVID-19 restrictions are – slowly – easing around the country. We're entering a new phase now, a phase that requires a careful balancing act.

On one side, mindfulness of our civic responsibility to manage the spread of the virus. On the other, enthusiasm and creativity for the task at hand: restarting the Australian economy.

The Energy Efficiency Council's contribution on that front is centred on highlighting the crucial role of energy efficiency in stimulus measures. More on that in Rob's update below, but suffice to say that this effort is continuing to pick up pace, with the support of our partners here in Australia and experts overseas.

We're getting this message out there through existing channels, as well as some novel ones, including our new podcast, First Fuel. For anyone with an interest in how we can align clean energy goals with stimulus goals, this week's episode with the International Energy Agency's Dr. Brian Motherway is essential listening.

However it is important to note that we're continuing to focus on the big, long term issues facing our sector. There are crucial reforms in train that will shape the industry for years to come, from the Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism to the NSW's Energy Security Safeguard, and the Future of NABERS consultation. We need to address the urgent, but we must have an eye to the strategic. We won't let these crucial issues fall by the wayside.

Finally, I want to welcome three new members.

I'm delighted to announce that the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has joined the Council. We've collaborated with the Department in its various iterations for many years now, so we're building on a strong foundation.

And it's wonderful to have the Facility Management Association and the Carbon Market Institute on board as our latest NGO Partners. These organisations and their members both have a crucial role in transforming the market for energy management products and services; a warm welcome to them and their respective CEOs, Nic Burt and John Connor.


Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Follow Luke on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.


Welcome new Energy Efficiency Council members

Policy update

Expert view: Energy management systems are the new black

Efficiency Leaders with Merrily Hunter of MAC Energy Efficiency Group

Enhancing Australia’s engagement with the IEA EBC Programme

Online professional development: First Fuel podcast and more

Expert view: Data is the key to optimising energy performance

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Welcome new Energy Efficiency Council members

The Energy Efficiency Council would like to welcome its newest Government Leader and NGO Partner members: 

DISER joins CSIRO, the ACT Government and the City of Sydney as a Government Leader member of the Council, highlighting its commitment to working with industry to build a sophisticated market for energy management products and services in Australia. Indeed, we're currently working closely with the Department on enhancing Australia’s engagement with the IEA EBC Programme.

We're also delighted to welcome CMI and FMA - Australia's leading authorities in carbon markets and facilities management respectively - to our already strong group of NGO Partners.

By working collaboratively with governments, industry and consumer advocacy groups, we are best placed to deliver tangible benefits - like healthy and comfortable buildings, productive and competitive businesses, and an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system - for our members, and the wider community.

Policy update

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

Energy in a time of COVID-19

In Australia...

A new report by Dr Hugh Saddler has found that electricity demand in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) was around 2.4 per cent lower in the period 16 March 2020 to 21 April 2020 than the same period in 2019. The relatively modest impact of Australia’s lockdown on electricity demand might seem surprising, but:

  • Household energy use has increased significantly;
  • Many of Australia’s largest energy users, including mines and manufacturers, have continued to operate during the shutdown; and
  • While many offices and shopping centres have significantly reduced their energy use, they have still had to partially run their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems – this is covered by David Walsh in more depth here.

In fact, the lockdown has probably had more of an impact in shifting the geographical distribution of electricity demand than the size of demand, with energy use increasing in residential suburbs and reducing in commercial and retail districts. 

COVID-19 has also had a significant impact on energy prices, in combination with other factors like increased renewable energy supply. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has published the latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics update, which found that wholesale electricity prices in the NEM fell 49 per cent in the year to March 2020, from $130 per megawatt-hour to $66 per megawatt-hour. The global glut in oil and gas has also resulted in wholesale gas prices falling 42 per cent from $9.75 per GJ to $5.63 per GJ.

The lockdown will have a much larger impact on Australian oil demand, due to the significant reduction in driving and aviation. The satnav maker TomTom has released data showing that traffic volumes in cities around the world, including Sydney, have dropped significantly during lockdowns.

Figure 1: TomTom ‘congestion index’ for Sydney in 2020

Source: The Guardian


And overseas...

The impact of COVID-19 on energy demand in other countries has been far more significant. The IEA has just released a new report on the impact of COVID-19 on the global energy system.

The IEA found that electricity demand has fallen by 20 per cent or more in several countries, with increases in residential energy demand outweighed by much larger reductions in commercial and industrial energy demand. In March 2020 road transport activity was almost 50 per cent lower than 2019 levels, and global aviation 60 per cent below 2019. The IEA found that overall energy use declined an average of 18 per cent in countries that are in partial lockdown, and 25 per cent in countries that are in full lockdown.

Despite lockdowns in most countries not starting until mid-March, this has had a significant impact on the whole first quarter of 2020 - energy demand was 3.8 per cent lower in the first quarter of the year than in the first quarter of 2019. Renewable energy was the only source of energy that increased in the first quarter, rising 1.5 per cent compared to 2019, while: 

  • Oil demand fell 5 per cent off the back of significant reductions in transport;
  • Gas demand fell 2 per cent, with the reduction in demand softened by lower gas prices leading to more substitution of gas for coal; and
  • Coal demand fell 8 per cent, significantly more than other fuels.

The fall in coal demand was exacerbated by renewable and gas-fired generation displacing coal and COVID-19 hitting China (a major coal user) earlier than other countries. 

The IEA has developed projections for energy use for the whole of 2020, based on a scenario where economies only recover slowly from the lockdown. It’s important to note that these projections are, of course, based on a series of assumptions and should not be taken as predictions of energy demand.

In the IEA’s projections: 

  • Global energy demand for the whole of 2020 could be 6 per cent lower than 2019, the largest percentage reduction in energy use in 70 years;
  • Global electricity demand could be 6 per cent lower than in 2019, with steeper falls of 10 per cent in some countries;
  • Coal demand could fall by 8 per cent;
  • Gas demand could fall by 5 per cent;
  • Renewable energy supply would increase by around 1 per cent; and
  • Oil demand could fall by 9 per cent, returning oil demand to 2012 levels.

As a result of all these changes, the IEA projects that global CO2 levels could fall by 8 per cent, or 2.6 gigatonnes, which would be six times larger than the impact of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis on global emissions. However, the IEA states unequivocally that:

“the rebound in emissions may be larger than the decline, unless the wave of investment to restart the economy is dedicated to cleaner and more resilient energy infrastructure.”

The impact of COVID-19 on energy management

While COVID-19 has made many households and businesses more selective about where they spend money, they have also become far more interested in energy management. During uncertain economic times, people become very focussed on reducing outgoings, and many people are spending enough time at home to realise how cold the building is!

We’ve seen increases in the sale of a range of low-cost DIY home improvement products, including insulation and draught proofing. This suggests that there is significant appetite among both households and businesses to improve their energy efficiency. We believe that relatively modest programs from governments could help channel this interest into action.

We’ve been working with a broad range of business groups, welfare organisations and environmental NGOs to advocate for governments to invest in energy management as a cornerstone of their stimulus mechanisms. A recent article from the International Energy Agency strongly recommended that governments look at energy efficiency as a key way to drive economic recovery because “energy efficiency is job-intensive”, with relatively limited input of imported goods being combined with significant input from local labour. Key programs by government here could include:

  • Upgrading the efficiency of government-owned buildings, including schools, hospitals and public housing; this is a perfect stimulus measure, because increased government investment now in shovel-ready programs results in lower government expenditure in the future from dramatically reduced energy and maintenance costs;
  • Support to upgrade commercial and residential buildings; and
  • Retooling manufacturing for the 21st century.

Some government programs are already acting like de facto stimulus programs, including the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program, ACT Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme and South Australian Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme. The NSW Government has just released its consultation papers on the major expansion of the Energy Security Safeguard (the rebranded Energy Savings Scheme).

Expert view: Energy management systems are the new black

By Ross Tunmer

Corporate energy management systems (EnMS) in Australia tend to lag behind the rest of the world. There are several reasons for this: for example, an EnMS isn’t as sexy as shiny new solar panels or new manufacturing equipment, and many organisations don’t see how improving things like management processes, policies and documentation can drive energy reductions.

But that’s starting to change, thanks in large part to the new Business Energy Coaching program now being rolled out by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).

What is an energy management system?

Sometimes the term energy management system is used to reflect a company’s vague ambition to become more energy efficient, or to describe an online platform that collects energy data. While these elements are part of it, true energy management is much more.

An EnMS, at its heart, involves shifting from ad-hoc energy management practices across siloed business functions to a systematic and integrated approach to energy performance driven by ongoing cycles of continuous improvement.

 Key elements of an EnMS include things like:

  • Developing an energy policy, to set the organisation’s strategic direction and publicly declare its objectives;
  • Assigning oversight of energy to a senior manager, to ensure energy gets discussed by key decision makers; and
  • Setting energy performance indicators (EnPIs), to help zero in on the key drivers of energy consumption.

Several standards, most notably ISO 50001:2018, offer a robust framework to develop an EnMS.





Many companies already track their energy usage on some level and undertake projects intermittently to improve energy efficiency, however there is usually no unifying strategy or organisational infrastructure that sits behind these activities. This explains why Australia’s recent obsession with energy auditing hasn’t improved our energy productivity: because companies lack the wherewithal to act on the energy efficiency opportunities that get identified in these audits.

You can have all the energy analysis in the world, but if you don’t have senior management buy-in or an organisational energy target to point towards, it’s very hard to get projects off the ground.

How do energy management systems help?

An effective EnMS results in ongoing cost savings, adjacent process improvements, increased business resilience, and improved competitiveness. It can also offer a relatively cheap approach to greenhouse gas emission reductions, thereby becoming an important part of a wider corporate sustainability strategy. Research suggests that average ongoing annual energy savings of around 3-5 per cent are achievable by implementing an EnMS, although there are several examples where companies have saved significantly more than that. Five per cent may not sound like much, but compound this across five years and you have reduced your energy consumption by almost 25 per cent.

In Australia, the opportunity for gains remains particularly large, as we are one of the few countries where energy productivity actually got worse over the period from 2008 to 2016.


Source: Energy Efficiency Council 2019, The World’s First Fuel: How energy efficiency is reshaping global energy systems, p. 13.


Energy management systems are poised to help Australian businesses catch up.

The NSW Business Energy Coaching program

A new NSW Government initiative, developed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), with support from Point Advisory and other leading energy services providers, is giving NSW businesses access to up to $35,000 in funding for ‘energy coaching’ services to improve their energy management systems.  An energy coach is an expert who gives businesses a personalised assessment of their energy management systems, helping them to identify and triage shortcomings, and providing them with recommendations on what to target for their next strategic energy investments. 

The program is divided into three tiers:

  • Small energy users (under $30,000 annual energy spend);
  • Medium energy users (over $30,000 annual energy spend); and
  • High energy users (mining, manufacturing and agriculture businesses with around $500,000 annual energy spends).1

For large energy users, the grant is delivered on an 80:20 basis, meaning if the business contributes the maximum $8,750, DPIE will contribute $35,000 (totaling $43,750 worth of energy upgrades, excluding GST).

Are energy management systems the new black?

Beyond rolling out the NSW Business Energy Coaching program, DPIE is also investing in upskilling the energy services sector in EnMS competencies, with a new program – EnMS advisor training – currently being developed by the Energy Efficiency Council for DPIE.

The NSW Government’s leadership in assisting businesses with implementing EnMS and in upskilling industry to effectively do so demonstrates that if EnMS aren’t yet the new black, they soon will be.

For more information about implementing an EnMS and the NSW Business Energy Coaching program,  please watch our recent webinar on the topic,2 which included speakers from DPIE, Tooheys and Point Advisory.

You can also find more information about the NSW Business Energy Coaching program here, and stay tuned for further information about the EnMS advisor training program in the coming months.

About Point Advisory

Point Advisory is a leading sustainability services company. For more information, visit our website at

Ross Tunmer is Senior Manager, Energy and Climate Change at Point Advisory. Ross can be reached at

Please see for up-to-date information on eligibility for the NSW Business Energy Coaching program and other programs that support NSW businesses.

Are you a member of the Energy Efficiency Council with a view on an energy management hot topic? Contact us at to discuss penning an op-ed for an upcoming edition of Efficiency Insight.

Efficiency Leaders with Merrily Hunter of MAC Energy Efficiency Group

The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.

This month we’re profiling Merrily Hunter, Director of MAC Energy Efficiency Group, and new member of the Energy Efficiency Council Board.

What what is your role?

I am the Director of MAC Energy Efficiency Group.

What did you do prior to your current role?

Prior to starting at MAC in 2014, I worked at AGL for nearly 10 years, heading up its energy efficiency compliance team. In the years before that, I lived in QLD, working in the oil & gas sector – a far cry from the environmental warrior I am today.

What is MAC’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

MAC creates tools to help businesses working in the energy sector to grow their operations whilst maintaining quality and consistency.

We do this by creating online training modules for new energy efficient or renewable technologies, procedures or government programs. We convert heavy written instruction manuals and regulations into animation and film so that people can learn visually.

In addition to training, we provide auditing services (desktop and field) addressing a range of criteria from business energy audits through to site safety and contractor compliance.

What do you enjoy about working for your company?

My team. Much like the Energy Efficiency Council, the MAC team is comprised of a small group of passionate, talented people that really enjoy working together. Nothing is too hard or ‘can’t be done’, we have fun innovating and collaborating on new projects and enjoy working in such a dynamic space. An added bonus is that I get to work with people far cooler than I am.

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

We built our home only a couple of years ago. My husband has an electronic engineering and automation background and I have worked in energy efficiency for over a decade, so together we designed our home to take advantage of what we had learnt in our careers and the natural resources available to us.

We used a lot of recycled and natural materials in the build process and designed the shape of our house to take advantage of sunlight. We have a lot of windows and skylights in our house (double glazed of course) which provides so much natural light that we don’t need to turn on lights until the sun goes down.

We have high ceilings for airflow, LED lights throughout, double glazed windows, high rated insulation, rubber backed blinds and skylights, windows and/or solar tubes in every room. We have designed the house to wrap around an internal courtyard, which brings greenery, light and air to the heart of the home. It’s a beautiful place to live and work.


When not immersed in Australia’s energy transition, what do you do for fun?

I am a mad gardener with a penchant for good wine. So, if I’m not working, I’m playing with my daughter in the veggie garden or sitting on the deck with a glass of wine and a good book.     

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

I’m excited that climate change is finally becoming a common household discussion. Back in 2006 when I first started in the energy sector anything green, carbon or renewable-related was reserved for the hardcore environmentalists. Now, solar and batteries are an everyday thing. People from all walks of life understand that their energy consumption and consumer choices are having an impact and that there are affordable and achievable steps that you can take today to change that.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

The influx of solar is reshaping our energy profile and generation needs. Over the coming years I see that demand response initiatives will also impact this profile and change the way we consume energy.

I’m excited by the evolution and traction that hydrogen is gaining in the market and think that this will play a critical role in our future energy mix.

On a personal level, it’s my hope that by 2030, my role will become redundant. Energy efficiency will be a thing of the past as our homes and businesses will have been built or retrofitted to operate at their optimal levels and kitted out with their own generation sources.

Why do you value being a member of the Energy Efficiency Council?

I’m proud to not only have my business be a member of the Council, but to be an elected Board member as well. The Council has driven energy efficiency to be a fundamental part of energy policy in Australia and continues to build momentum in this space. They are well respected, operate with integrity and bring together thought leaders from around the world to help shape the future of energy policy in Australia. This breadth of network and expertise allows them to deliver well rounded, professional, tested and unbiased positions on how we can effectively transform the energy market.

As a business, when I see other businesses that are Council members, it tells me that they are here to be part of something bigger than their own brand or business interests. They are part of a movement and share a common vision for the future.

Enhancing Australia’s engagement with the IEA EBC Programme

The Energy Efficiency Council is supporting the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources with increasing industry, academic and public engagement with the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities (IEA EBC) Programme in Australia.

The IEA-EBC Programme is an international energy research and innovation programme in the buildings and communities field. It enables collaborative R&D projects among its 24 member countries, providing:

  • High quality scientific reports; and
  • Summary information for policy makers.

Stanford Harrison from the Department and Carlos Flores from NABERS represent Australia on the IEA EBC, with support from a range of academic and industry professionals on Annexes and Working Groups.

In particular, we're working with the Department to deepen the impact of Australia’s engagement with the IEA EBC by providing engagement opportunities with the IEA EBC, including:

IEA EBC participant profiles

In the first instance, we welcome you to review a recent IEA EBC participant profile from Dr Stephen White, highlights of which include:

  • Information on the role of the Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling (i-Hub) demand response in HVAC systems; and
  • Information on the joint Mission Innovation / IEA EBC Annex 81.
Excerpt from Stephen's profile:
"From an industry jobs and growth perspective: A number of Australian companies are pioneers in the field of data-driven building services. The IEA Annex 81 is an opportunity for these companies to showcase Australian capability and identify opportunities for new markets and growth.  It is also an opportunity for Australian companies to influence international technical standards and thereby help avoid being locked out of international markets."

Stephen is one of Australia's home grown efficiency leaders, and has deep breadth of knowledge on the role of energy efficiency in buildings in the Australian context. If you're keen to learn more, read the profile, reach out to Stephen and attend a webinar on Annex 81 activities on Friday 19 June.

IEA EBC Annexes and Working Groups

We also invite you to learn more about the IEA EBC Annexes and Working Groups to which Australians are already contributing:

  • EBC Annex 83 – Positive Energy Districts;
  • EBC Annex 81 – Data-driven Smart Buildings;
  • EBC Annex 80 – Resilient cooling;
  • EBC Annex 73 – Towards Net Zero Energy Public Resilient Communities;
  • EBC Annex 70 – Building Energy Epidemiology: Analysis of Real Building Energy Use at Scale;
  • EBC Annex 69 – Strategy and Practice of Adaptive Thermal Comfort in Low Energy Buildings; and
  • Working Group – Building Energy Codes.

Online professional development: First Fuel podcast and more

First Fuel podcast

The Energy Efficiency Council's podcast, First Fuelbrings you the latest perspectives on energy efficiency, energy management and demand response from Australia and around the world.

The First Fuel podcast will be broadcast live as a webinar, and shared later as a podcast.

Please click here to subscribe to your prefered streaming service, where you can catch episodes one and two with Anna Skarbek and Dr Brian Motherway respectively.

Upcoming First Fuel podcast live recordings

You can register for upcoming live podcast recordings by clicking through the links below.

Online Energy Efficiency Council training

Capturing the Value of Demand Response

Dates: Tuesday 2 - Wednesday 3 June 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $490 +GST
EEC member fee: $360 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 8 contact hours; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course.

Click here for more information and to register

Certified Measurement & Verification Professional (CMVP)

Dates: Monday 18 - Thursday 21 May 2020 SOLD OUT
Times: 10am - 12.30pm AEST and 1.30pm - 4pm AEST (each day) + a 4-hour exam, which will be individually scheduled and proctored

Full registration (training and exam) standard fee: $3,950 inc. GST
Full registration (training and exam) EEC/EVO member fee: $3,160 inc. GST 

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)

Click here for more information and to register your expression of interest to undertake online training in advance of the scheduled October training. 

Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard 3598

Dates: Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 17 June 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $890 +GST
EEC member fee: $660 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits; the certificate of completion will be emailed to you after the course

Click here for more information and to register

Expert view: Data is the key to optimising energy performance

By David Walsh

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced building owners and operators to take unprecedented steps in managing shopping centres.

The lockdown has dramatically increased the pressure on operations teams to cut costs and prioritise health and safety. Economic conditions have increased the pressure on building owners to cut outgoings, including their energy costs. However, shutting down the energy-using systems in empty buildings is extremely complicated, and many offices and shopping centres have faced the even more challenging situation of being partially occupied.

Our engineers have been flat out helping commercial business customers adapt their building operations to these new conditions. The data from these sites have told us a very intriguing story about the impact of COVID-19 on energy consumption, particularly among shopping centres.

CIM Retail Energy Index

We’ve aggregated the data from the Australian shopping centres we work with to publish the CIM Retail Energy Index. This index demonstrates that occupancy across our retail customer sites fell below 40% in late March following government-mandated closures of gyms and cinemas, and decisions by other retailers to close due to health and safety concerns.

As a result of these closures and the work being carried out in shopping centres to optimise the systems in these centres for partial occupancy or complete shutdown, there has also been significant falls in energy consumption.

Energy use is down 35 per cent compared to the same time period last year.

This result is consistent across all the centres we are working with as the types of stores closing or staying open is the same in every centre, which determines what equipment needs to keep running and what can be shut down completely. 


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) consumes up to 65 per cent of a large building’s energy bill, which is why streamlining operations to match demand is a critical element of building management strategies for retail customers, enabling them to cut costs without sacrificing health and safety.

Scaling back operations or putting the system into full hibernation, however, is not as straightforward as flipping the switch and walking away. It requires careful planning and management.

Building systems are complex and interconnected

Building systems are complex and interconnected, often comprising hundreds of expensive components and pieces of equipment. Incorrectly adjusting these systems can adversely affect equipment operation and cause costly breakages or indoor air quality health and safety risks. For example, HVAC systems need to be powered down and up in very specific ways to minimise the risk of Legionnaires disease.

In many shopping centres this task is made even more complicated by the interaction of old systems with newer systems that have been added as the centre expanded. Building analytics help building owners and operators identify safe and effective ways to power down their operations.

Optimising shopping centres

Based on this analysis, the shopping centres we work with have implemented a range of measures to  limit energy consumption and cut costs, including:

  • Reviewing operating schedules to reflect occupancy;
  • Locking-out zones, tenancies and floors that are unoccupied;
  • Limiting chiller or boiler operation through lock-outs, staging or widening setpoints;
  • Widening internal temperature setpoint dead bands;
  • Optimising car park exhaust fan schedules;
  • Correcting operating schedules for specific retail tenancies; and
  • Preserving operation and conditions of critical areas such as data or server rooms.

As retailer confidence in reopening grows, we are now seeing a recovery of occupancy above 50 per cent, with expectations for it to rise back above 70 per cent as lockdown is eased even further. This means that many building owners will need to prepare to restore normal operations, a process that also needs to be carefully managed.

However, as the lockdown lifts, we believe that building owners and operators will need to go beyond just bringing their buildings back online, and take further steps to optimise their assets. The heath impacts of buildings will be closely scrutinised over the coming year, and budgets will continue to be squeezed tightly; now is a good time to make sure existing systems and equipment are operating as efficiently as possible.

As the real estate sector focuses on how it can do more with less, and make smarter capital planning decisions to optimise budgets, using data to better understand buildings will be the key to making the most of existing assets.

About CIM

CIM transforms building operations by combining building analytics, machine learning and technical engineering support into real-time, data-driven insights. Click here to learn more about CIM.

David Walsh is the founder and CEO of CIM, David can be reached at

Are you a member of the Energy Efficiency Council with a view on an energy management hot topic? Contact us at to discuss penning an op-ed for an upcoming edition of Efficiency Insight.

Efficiency Insight - April 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

CEO welcome

In a crisis it pays to be on the front foot; indecisiveness can often make matters worse. However, being both decisive and right is hard, especially if the crisis you're facing is a novel one. Data will be piecemeal, there will be competing opinions about the best way forward, and even once you have decided a course of action, lining the troops up behind you takes time.

COVID-19 is an extraordinary challenge of leadership. And I don't just mean our state and federal political leaders who, for the most part, have really stepped up in the last few weeks. These same challenges are being faced by leaders across Australia, in businesses, not for profits, community groups, local governments, and state and federal departments and agencies. People that lead organisations, lead teams or lead by example; we're all grappling, collectively, with how to support the people who rely on us, how to do the right thing for our organisation, and how to play our part in managing the broader economic and social impacts of this crisis.

Importantly its a challenge we're all facing simultaneously, which mean there is huge and immediate benefit in rapidly sharing information and strategies as they emerge. In our industry, we're working hard to act as a clearing house, to make sure our members and our broader network have the information needed to make good decisions.

New webinar series: Efficiency Insights

Which is why we're announcing our new webinar series, Efficiency Insights. Twice a month, every month, we will interview a local or global leader about a critical issue facing the energy management sector. One of these webinars will be for members only, and will canvas business critical technical, regulatory and market developments. The other will be open to everyone in our network, and give us the opportunity to kick along the public conversation around the role of energy efficiency and energy management.

We're launching on Tuesday 21 April with a member only webinar with Carlos Flores, Director of the NABERS, to unpack the recent, rapid changes NABERS has implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Energy Efficiency Council members will get an invite to this session shortly.

Then the following week, on Thursday 30 April, we'll host our first public webinar with Anna Skarbek, CEO of ClimateWorks Australia, to discuss their new report Decarbonisation Futures, and the role the demand side can play in the economic recovery on the other side of this crisis. You can sign up for this session here, and further details are below.

Stay safe. Have a great long weekend. It's been a massive start to the year; I hope you can take a break over the next four days to rest and reflect.

Kind regards,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Follow Luke on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.


Policy update

Latest COVID-19 economic support packages for business

Decarbonisation Futures with Anna Skarbek

Why virtual comms in the energy sector is not only possible, it's necessary

Training update: transition to online delivery

Efficiency Leaders with Paul Lang from Schneider Electric

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Policy update

Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council

Our response to COVID-19: Protect, pivot and rebound

After deep and rapid consultation with our members over the last month, the Energy Efficiency Council has been working with a broad coalition of industry, consumer and community groups to develop policy responses to COVID-19.

Australian governments’ first priority right now must be protecting the health of the community. However, we also need to protect the financial and mental wellbeing of the community, and minimise the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

The National Cabinet has restricted a range of personal and business activities, and these restrictions could be in place for many months. However, essential activities are continuing, as is working or studying at home.

Classic ‘stimulus’ measures will be far less effective during this period of restricted activities. Accordingly, governments’ economic support packages have focused on both providing a safety net for workers who have become unexpectedly unemployed, and helping organisations stay solvent and retain staff. This approach of protecting workers and businesses will minimise social disruption and put the economy in the best position to resume as restrictions ease.

Beyond this immediate economic protection, governments and businesses should consider how to use the shutdown period in the most productive way possible, so that the economy is in the best position to rebound on the other side of this crisis. Stimulus measures should be targeted to jumpstart economic sectors as restrictions ease. This approach can be framed as ‘Protect, Pivot and Rebound’.

Protect, Pivot and Rebound and energy management

Protect, Pivot and Rebound is a general framework for managing the economy in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. This approach provides for limiting job losses in the short term, bolstering industry skills and capability to support and drive regrowth, and stimulating demand to accelerate recovery.

Protect, Pivot and Rebound works best when economy-wide action is paired with targeted measures in particular sectors. In particular, focussing on improving energy management in homes and businesses would support the rapid rebound of the economy and support us on a longer-term pathway to a stronger economy by:

  • Creating 120,000 job-years of employment;
  • Cutting households’ and businesses’ energy bills by over $7 billion per annum;
  • Improving the health and wellbeing of the community – the low-quality of Australia’s homes is implicated in the estimated 2,600 deaths that occur each year during periods of cooler weather;
  • Strengthening the reliability and affordability of electricity grid; and
  • Dramatically reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Studies around the world have confirmed that investments in energy management are major creators of local employment in trades, professions and manufacturing. A report from 2019 found that at least 500,000 Australians spend part of their time improving homes’ and businesses’ energy efficiency, including electricians, architects and engineers. The amount of time that they spend on energy efficiency adds up to at least 59,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. However, an ambitious strategy to upgrade Australia’s existing homes and businesses would create over 120,000 additional job-years of employment.

Below I outline our view on how these three stages should be managed in the energy management sector. 


Governments have announced measures that are aligned with the ‘protect’ stage of the pandemic that support a wide range of businesses to remain viable – such as reducing the cost to businesses of retaining staff. There is a strong case for pairing these general measures with targeted interventions in strategic sectors of the economy.

The Energy Efficiency Council is collaborating with governments to rapidly undertake a detailed impact analysis for the energy management sector, and develop a range of policy options to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector.


There are several key actions that governments can take to support the economy to ‘pivot’ and prepare for the rebound, including:

  • Funding for rapid research to support the rebound, such as finalising the details of energy efficiency and energy management programs including large-scale retrofits of different building types;
  • Training to help upskill workers in fields such as construction and electrical trades so that they can help upgrade Australian buildings. For example, training for plumbers (initially online and eventually supported by in person training) could provide plumbers with the skills they need to install heat pump hot water systems; and
  • Clear, early guidance on the government programs that will drive the ‘rebound’ phase, as this will encourage businesses to pivot and take advantage of stimulus measures such as tax write offs already in place.


The majority of government funding should be directed to the rebound phase to support energy efficiency and energy management upgrades in:

  • Commercial buildings, including government buildings. There are significant advantages to upgrading commercial buildings right now, as many have no or low levels of occupancy, making it far simpler to upgrade them without disrupting tenants;
  • Homes to ensure that they are comfortable all year round, and minimise the number of households that experience extreme heat or cold in their homes; and
  • Manufacturing, mining and agriculture, helping businesses to retool for the 21st century.

The Energy Efficiency Council will continue to work with its members, partners and government stakeholders to refine and advocate for these proposals. The Energy Efficiency Council will continue to work with its members, partners and government stakeholders to refine and advocate for these proposals. If we Protect, Pivot and Rebound our sector it will help to drive a recovery that delivers a stronger, cleaner and healthier economy.

Latest COVID-19 economic support packages for business

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic governments around the country have rallied behind business and households. From Western Australia's initial $607 million package over three weeks ago, to the Commonwealth Government's $130 billion JobKeeper payment last week, we've been monitoring the economic support packages for business, and sharing member alerts with Energy Efficiency Council members. 

To view a round-up of all of the economic support packages for business announced by state and federal governments, and keep up-to-date on the lates announcements, including the recently announced grants of up to $10,000 for struggling small businesses in NSW and protections for landlords and private tenants in South Australia, please click here.

Announcements have been made by every state and territory as well as the Commonwealth, including:

  • JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments;
  • Assistance for businesses to pay their energy bills; and
  • Incentives for business investment, among other supports.

Economic support packages totalling $1 billion or more have been announced in New South WalesSouth Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. These packages include support for businesses to retain employees and sustain business, including payroll tax breaks, grants, and no-interest loans.

The ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland, and Tasmania have also announced significant supports.

Importantly, the Commonwealth Government has released a JobKeeper FAQ document, last updated Sunday 5 April 2020, that further explains the parameters of the program.

To learn more, click here.

We will continue to monitor the economic support packages for business announced by state and federal governments. And as new packages are announced we will continue to send member alerts and keep this page up to date.

Decarbonisation Futures with Anna Skarbek

ClimateWorks Australia has released a groundbreaking new report – Decarbonisation Futures – that sets out how Australia can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

All eight state and territory governments, and many leading businesses, have either set targets or aspirations to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. ClimateWorks has found that Australia can achieve net zero emissions before 2050 through a mixture of largely mature technologies in electricity generation and buildings, and mature and emerging technologies in transport, industry and agriculture.


In electricity generation, the modeling in the report suggests that around 75 per cent of generation could be renewable by 2030, reaching 100 per cent renewable generation well before 2050. The report suggests that demand management and storage will be critical to ensure that a renewable electricity network is affordable and reliable.


In buildings, a combination of largely mature energy efficiency technologies and electrification are the main sources of abatement. ClimateWorks notes that the maturity and affordability of many energy efficient technologies has improved rapidly, such as the cost of LED lighting dropping 80 per cent over the last five years. In homes, energy efficiency improvements could reduce the energy used per household by 44 to 49 per cent by 2030, and by up to 60 per cent by 2050. In commercial buildings, energy efficiency could reduce energy use per m2 by 16 to 28 per cent by 2030 and around 50 per cent by 2050. ClimateWorks also expects that most buildings will be electrified by 2040.


In industry, the report notes a range of mature and emerging technologies, including the use of heat pumps for low temperature processes. The modeling suggests that energy used in manufacturing and other industry could drop by 45 per cent between 2020 and 2050. However, there is a range of non-energy emissions from processes such as cement production that will require more effort to abate.

Agriculture and transport

Mature energy efficiency technologies will also play a key role in decarbonising transport and agriculture. However, like industry, deep decarbonisation of these sectors will require developments in new technologies.

It’s a long and thorough report that is well-worth reading in its entirety. However, if you are short on time we would particularly encourage people to read the modelling sections on:

  • Electricity - pages 86-89;
  • Buildings - pages 90-93;
  • Transport - pages 94-10;
  • Industry - pages 102-111; and
  • Agriculture - pages 112-116.

Webinar: Decarbonisation Futures with Anna Skarbek - Thursday 30 April, 2.30pm - 3.30pm AEST

If you're eager to learn more about Decarbonisation Futures and the work of ClimateWorks Australia, on Thursday 30 April from 2.30pm - 3.30pm AEST, Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel will hold conversation with Anna Skarbek, CEO of ClimateWorks Australia.

They'll discuss the main takeaways from Decarbonisation Futures, demand side opportunities, and activities that can be picked up to drive the economic rebound on other side of the current COVID-19 crisis.

Please register for this complimentary webinar here.

Decarbonisation Futures: solutions, actions and benchmarks for a net zero emissions Australia

Read the full report
Read the media release
Download the briefing slide pack

Why virtual comms in the energy sector is not only possible, it's necessary

Liz Fletcher

Before we entered a world of lockdowns and quarantines, our energy sector was trying to recover after the bushfires and get ready for change. COAG Energy Council walked out of the March meeting with a laundry list of actions.  We're navigating a transition from a series of big generators who predictably deliver to customers, to a world where every house, car, office and person is both a source and user of energy. And if you thought that was tough - add in the immediate challenge of recovering from the bushfires and preparing for next summer. 

However, the news of COVID-19 saw many energy organisations halt their stakeholder activities. But we can’t just wait for this to all blow over and we don’t need to. 

I’m not sure about you, but the constant stream of news has had me oscillating between sheer determination and utter desperation. The news of these programs being paused made it even worse.

In one of those moments of determination, last week I ran an online event as part of the etc, with experts from across the virtual comms spectrum. And I came to the conclusion (as the title hints) this is not only possible, it's necessary.  

By embracing the virtual world, we will find new audiences, fresh eyes and probably most importantly - help us all get through this. 


News websites, podcasts, video on demand services and more have seen enormous spikes in demand as audiences look for ways to fill their days. People are stuck behind a laptop in a spare bedroom and are building new habits for collaboration. Check out the boom of COVID-19 memes if you have any hesitations. 

The energy sector has always struggled to bring new people into our world. But being conscious of this can mean virtual comms are a true leveller. It can deliver more inclusive solutions as can be seen by recent work in translating medical updates and how the CDC is proactively working with homeless communities. 

For whatever reason, the energy sector has stuck to traditional channels but now its time to shift to virtual - and not just because we have to. Virtual technology provides a platform for low cost, data driven, democratic engagement. We can tap into people's time because they now have it. Whether you are training, engaging or promoting, people now have time to get involved and we have tools to find them. 


Late last year the Energy Security Board hosted academics from around the world at a conference on the future of energy markets. One senior Australian energy regulator made the comment - 

"We are trying to design a market for participants that aren't even in the room." 

Don't get me wrong, the way the energy sector works with stakeholders is improving. Initiatives like The Energy Charter show that customers are now being heard. However, the rise of new (very successful) businesses shows that there's more to come and the system needs to be willing to embrace it. Now that we're forced to redesign how we work together, we can reframe how we bring voices together to embrace event more voices. 

Going virtual eradicates barriers of distance and time. These times breed innovation. Breweries are making sanitiser and Dyson is making ventilators. The challenge was set and opened up to those who wanted to rise to it- virtually.


Humans need to communicate and interact. We also need direction. Luke Menzel wrote last week about the ramifications of the pandemic on our mental health. Our energy community is a small world. Before social distancing, we would bump into people at events and get the chance to catch up. Now we don’t have that, we’re at risk of losing some we’ve spent years creating. Half of the solution is the technology and that's not too hard. LinkedIn, Slack, Teams create space for communities. House PartyFacetimeWhatsApp mean you can communicate more than ever. MiroMural and StormBoard shift all those sticky notes onto your screen. 

The other half is how we do it. The transactional nature of virtual platforms can remove humanity if you aren’t purposeful. When transitioning to virtual comms, the key is understanding what you are trying to achieve. From information sharing or networking through to consultation, match the need with the technology and the intent with a sense of purpose. 

Tomorrow’s challenges can't be navigated with yesterday's communication strategies and now we're forced to do it differently, there may be even more opportunities

Engevity has developed a new model that accounts for the who, what, why and when’s of virtual comms. We want to help energy get into the virtual world as soon as possible. 

So if you’re sitting behind your laptop in your spare room, trying to figure this out - reach out and let’s grab a virtual coffee. 

Happy to connect you to someone in the etc network, work on a project together or loop you in on the latest work from the EEC.

It would be great to connect. Virtually.


Liz Fletcher is Associate Director at Engevity; Co-founder of the etc.; and Board member - Marketing and Communications Expert at the Energy Efficiency Council. This article originally appeared as a post on Liz Fletcher's LinkedIn account. 

Training update: transition to online delivery

The Energy Efficiency Council is nothing if not nimble, and we have swiftly transitioned our face-to-face training courses online. Last week, our first cohort of 15 eager learners successfully undertook online professional development in Capturing the Value of Demand Response over two half-days.

An advantage of online delivery is that we're able to loop in international experts. In Capturing the Value of Demand Response last week, the cohort was joined by subject matter experts from California, who spoke to their experience in demand response in the California market, and how the lessons learned in California could present opportunities in Australia. In addition, the Council's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach, joined the class to provide a timely update on the impact of the upcoming Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism.

Additionally, online classrooms remove the geographical limitations of face-to-face delivery, offering people from Brisbane to Broome and Hobart the opportunity to join the class.

We're holding additional online training sessions for Capturing the Value of Demand Response and Energy auditing to the Australian Standard before the end of the financial year, as well as holding Australia's first Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) accreditation online training in May.

Capturing the Value of Demand Response

Dates: Tuesday 12 - Wednesday 13 May 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $490 +GST
EEC member fee: $360 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits towards CMVP accreditation

Click here for more information and to register

Certified Measurement & Verification Professional (CMVP)

Dates: Monday 18 - Thursday 21 May 2020
Times: 10am - 12.30pm AEST and 1.30pm - 4pm AEST (each day) + a 4-hour exam, which will be individually scheduled and proctored

Full registration (training and exam) standard fee: $3,950 inc. GST
Full registration (training and exam) EEC/EVO member fee: $3,160 inc. GST 

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)

Click here for more information and to register

Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard 3598

Dates: Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 17 June 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)

Standard fee: $890 +GST
EEC member fee: $660 +GST

Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Videoconference: Zoom
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits towards CMVP accreditation

Click here for more information and to register


See our training page for more information and dates for online training sessions.

Efficiency Leaders with Paul Lang from Schneider Electric

The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.

We kick off this month with Paul Lang from Schneider Electric. Paul was elected to the Energy Efficiency Council Board in November 2019.

What is your current role?

Business Development Manager for Efficiency and Demand Solutions at Schneider Electric.

What did you do prior to your current role?

I’ve worked in a variety of energy efficiency roles over the past 20 years, including in the Energy Services divisions of Origin Energy and AGL delivering energy efficiency solutions for customers. I also spent 8 ½ years on the energy user side at Coles Supermarket delivering their energy efficiency program.

What is Schneider Electric’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?

My division, Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS), works with some of Australia’s largest energy users to help them procure energy smarter, manage their energy usage through smart data platforms and implement energy efficiency measures. Our customers are part of Australia’s energy transition and we help them with energy data, energy efficiency, renewable energy options including on-site generation and Power Purchase Agreements.     

Schneider Electric offers a large range of services and products including Residential and Small Business, Building and Industrial Automation and Control, Low and Medium Voltage Products and Grid Automation. Some of the products we offer include Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, Building Management Systems (BMS), circuit breakers, switch gear, transformers and a micro-grid offering.

What do you enjoy about working for Schneider?

Schneider Electric is the first multinational, global company I have worked for, so I love that we are helping so many people and companies all over the globe with their energy needs as the whole world moves with an energy transition. We get a global view on the energy market and get to learn from talented individuals all over the world. We have great leadership from our CEO down to individual managers, and the culture of the team is great; I’m actually missing not being with the team in the office at the moment.  

How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?

We have moved to using Microsoft Teams recently and I find this a very good platform; sound and vision are stable and it’s great to turn on your camera and see your team. We use the chat function as well and share what we are doing for the day and try to add a few personal touches as well to keep us all amused.

We are continuing to hold our monthly ESS Town Hall’s, we have just moved these to Microsoft Teams as well. As a personal way of staying in touch with those that aren’t in my direct team, I just pick up the phone and call a few people a week to check in and say hello. I think it’s important to maintain the connections.

How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?

I’ve always been interested in energy efficiency in homes and I have done all the obvious things like changing all the light bulbs to CFL’s or LED’s, draught-proofing a number of window and doors and fitted heavy external canvas blinds to the west facing windows; these make a huge difference in summer.

From a behavioural perspective as a family I’m pretty lucky, as my wife and kids have always known me working in energy efficiency, so they get it. We make conscious decisions to dress correctly in both summer and winter to minimise the use of heating and cooling, although the Melbourne winters can get cold. We wash our clothes in cold water and dry the clothes on the clothesline in summer, autumn and spring and in front of the heater in winter. I must admit I do turn a few lights off from time to time that shouldn’t be on!

What are you currently excited about in the energy world?

I’m excited that a lot of companies and government organisations are setting carbon neutral goals or Science Based Targets (SBTs) that will lead them to invest in energy efficiency and productivity to reduce their energy wastage first before then looking into renewable energy and PPAs. I’m also excited about the push to provide infrastructure in the Electric Vehicle sector worldwide to help that market get more EVs on the roads.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

To use the Energy Efficiency Council’s own words, a lot of us in the energy efficiency sector really see the next decade as the critical decade for energy efficiency in the energy transition, making energy work. So I’ll be extremely optimistic, not just for our own industry, but for the futures of our children and grandchildren and our planet, and say that by 2030 we will have really moved in the energy transition in that decade and made energy efficiency a part of what all industries and companies do and just implement energy efficiency in all that they do.

Companies will have stopped looking at short term simple paybacks and will have invested in saving the wasted energy. And those with 2025, 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets are progressing towards those targets. Renewable energy, demand response and micro-grids will also be very important to the energy market in 2030 and companies will have invested heavily in that space as well. Technology and data and extracting value from that data will be very important.     

Why do you value being a member of the Energy Efficiency Council?

Schneider Electric was one of the founding members of the Council over 10 years ago, and it is an extremely important membership for us; we have always contributed as part of the Board during that time as well.

The Energy Efficiency Council has worked hard to earn a great reputation in the energy industry over the past 10 years and become a respected voice and participant in the energy transition. Energy efficiency is an important plank of the energy transition, so the work the Council does to promote the sector is very important.

Efficiency Insight - March 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

CEO welcome

Four weeks ago in my introduction to the first edition of Efficiency Insight for 2020, I reflected on the aftermath of the bushfire catastrophe, and how it had thrown our political landscape into flux.Just a month later and Australia, along with the rest of the world, is gripped by another escalating crisis which poses an even greater threat to lives and wellbeing.

COVID-19 is affecting us all. Like may other businesses, all Energy Efficiency Council staff are working from home. And working hard: we have rolled up our sleeves, rapidly reshaping our operations so we can play the most constructive role possible in the broader community response to this new emergency.

Yesterday we sent members the first in a series of rolling updates on government assistance for businesses doing it tough as a part of the economic downturn. Our policy focus will shift to ensure the energy management and energy efficiency sector has the support it needs to weather this crisis. Our National Energy Efficiency Conference has been deferred to late 2020, so we are looking at how we can use digital platforms to keep our network connected over coming months. And we’re reviewing all our training with a view to taking it online so we can continue to support the professional development of everyone working in our sector.

We’re a very small part of a much broader effort. But if you have ideas for how the EEC can a constructive role over the coming months, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Follow Luke on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.


Coronavirus throws political and economic landscape into flux

Policy update from Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy at the Energy Efficiency Council

National Energy Efficiency Conference & Awards 2020

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Coronavirus throws political and economic landscape into flux

Rob Murray-Leach

Australia’s political landscape is in flux due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). There has been a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in Australia since 11 March and the political, corporate and community responses to COVID-19 are changing rapidly.

The World Health Organisation have made it clear that slowing the rate of transmission is vital to minimise the number of people who have COVID-19 at any one time. Reducing the number of coincident infections is important to ensure that our health system can support everyone that needs assistance. This approach is known as ‘flattening the curve’.

Accordingly, the Australian Government has imposed a 14 day quarantine period on anyone arrive from overseas and has banned non-essential gatherings of over 100 people. Many organisations, including the EEC, have gone further and chosen to reduce non-essential face-to-face meetings. Many COVID-19 policies, including the EEC’s, are partly aimed reducing the risk of staff contracting the disease, and partly about reducing the speed of transmission in the community. 

However, the EEC and other businesses will continue to operate. Governments have started to roll out policies that aim to both encourage ‘social distancing’ (i.e. keeping people a reasonable distance apart) and keep the economy running. However certain sectors will be particularly impacted, and over the last week the Council has begun analysing how COVID-19 might affect carbon emissions and the energy and energy management sectors.

Global air travel dropped by 4.3 per cent in February. Qantas announced that it would cut its international flights by 90 per cent and domestic flights by 60 per cent. Some of this reduction will be temporary, but it’s entirely possible that COVID-19 could lead to some permanent changes in work practices. Some of these changes are overdue - in 2011 I participated in a high-quality telepresence event run by The Economist magazine, and I expect we’ll see further investment in video conferencing systems over the coming months.

The significant reduction in air traffic has delivered reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. However, it’s not the only factor driving down emissions, and some energy-intensive factories in China have significantly reduced their output. Carbon Brief estimates that COVID-19 has reduced China’s emissions over four weeks by around a quarter, although the scale of this reduction is likely to be temporary.

COVID-19 has also impacted on energy markets. International oil prices have dropped significantly in the last fortnight, and the price of natural gas has dropped in several countries. COVID-19 could result in Australian businesses energy demand decreasing and residential energy demand increasing, although the extent and duration of this impact is completely unknown.

The EEC is rapidly engaging with its Board and members to assess the likely impacts of COVID-19 on markets for energy management services and products. We anticipate that there will be some delays in securing stock, particularly from overseas. There will also likely be a general reduction in household and business investment, and self-distancing and quarantines could restrict access to buildings to deliver energy efficiency upgrades.

However, the impact of COVID-19 on the energy management sector, as with the economy at large, will be strongly affected by governments’ policy decisions. EEC members will have received our summary of stimulus measures and their impacts on markets for energy efficiency services and products. As the peak body for Australia’s energy management sector, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide members and the broader community with guidance as the situation evolves.

We will also be carefully considering how to engage with Government on the policy front over the coming year. We need to continue to represent our member’s interests, progress the importants strategic conversations around climate and energy that are so important for Australia’s future prosperity. However we are entering a period where managing a national crisis will be of paramount importance for governments around the country. We’ll be engaging closely with members and partners over coming days and weeks to ensure we get the balance right.

Policy update from Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy at the Energy Efficiency Council

Rob Murray-Leach

See below for our general policy roundup. As always, the EEC’s members will receive a separate, member-only newsletter later in the month that includes more extensive analysis on crucial, topical policy issues.

Net zero news from NSW

We had anticipated that governments would reduce their focus on climate change and energy in the short-term due to COVID-19. So far, this has not been the case. As we notified members, on Saturday the NSW Government announced its long awaited 2030 climate target along with its Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030.

The target, reducing statewide emissions by 35% by 2030, is significantly higher than the Federal Government’s 26-28% emissions reduction target. The Plan sets out the actions the NSW Government will take to achieve its target, and is underpinned by the recent $2 billion dollar MOU between NSW and the Commonwealth.

Like most policy frameworks, there is a lot of detail to flesh out. However both the target and the Plan provide a lot of scope for energy efficiency, energy management and demand response to play a central role in driving NSW’s transition over the next decade.

Commonwealth considers emissions play, and invests in the RACE for 2030

The Australian Government has indicated that it will start to announce parts of its Technology Roadmap and its review of the Emissions Reduction Fund, although this may be delayed.

Angus Taylor has stated that "Our [climate change] strategy will be based on a series of detailed pieces of work that we will complete over the rest of this year.” This means that the government’s climate change strategy might not be a single document, but a series of reports, potentially including the forthcoming Electric Vehicle Strategy and review of the National Energy Efficiency Productivity Plan.

Taylor also stated that he would be looking for private investment in emissions reduction to match and significantly exceed government investment. One clear example of this has just been announced – a new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) called the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 CRC (RACE for 2030).

The RACE for 2030 CRC will bring industry and research institutions together for its mission to deliver High-impact research on boosting energy productivity and integrating clean, distributed energy into the grid, in order to cut bills and carbon emissions of Australian businesses and households.”

The Federal Government will provide the RACE for 2030 CRC with $68.5 million over ten years, which will leverage $87.1 million in cash and $193.5 million of in-kind contributions from 91 partners, including the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity, the Energy Efficiency Council and several of its members. The CRC’s research partners include the University of Technology Sydney, CSIRO, Monash University, Curtain University, Griffith University, QUT, RMIT University and the University of South Australia.

The CRC will be led by its Chair designate, Lousie Sylvan, and interim CEO, Jon Jutsen. The CRC could play a decisive role improving energy efficiency in Australia, and we look forward to further announcements from the CRC over the coming months. For more information on RACE visit

Wholesale demand response back on the cards

Energy market bodies have also delivered significant policy developments. As we advised members earlier this week, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has recently released its revised Draft Determination for a Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism.

If this is implemented it will provide another route to reward large energy users if they reduce their demand for electricity during periods when wholesale electricity prices are high.

Banks and networks move ahead of the curve?

Two of the most significant announcements in recent months were actually made by a bank and a network service provider.

In banking, Bank Australia has announced a new Clean Energy Home Loan to encourage home retrofitting. Instead of a loan for the retrofit, the Clean Energy Home Loan offers households a 0.4 per cent reduction in the interest rates in their main mortgage (e.g. from 3.2 per cent to 2.8 per cent) if they buy a more efficient home or substantially retrofit their home. Households can use various rating systems to demonstrate the efficiency of their home, including NatHERS, the Victorian Residential Energy Efficiency Scorecard, GreenStar and Passive House Certification.

This type of approach is similar to the home loans supported by the KfW Bank in Germany. While there are already several attractive loans on the market in Australia that support retrofitting, households are only likely to consider them if they are already interested in retrofitting. The Clean Energy Home Loan motivates households that aren’t already thinking about sustainability to consider improving the energy efficiency of their home.

Bank Australia is by no means that only bank that is developing new products to encourage the construction and retrofit of more efficient homes, and I expect that several banks will introduce new loan products in the next years. The EEC does not endorse this particular loan, and we encourage anyone interested in sustainable financing to compare the products that are available on the market.

In energy networks, Evoenergy, the ACT’s electricity and gas distribution service provider, has released a draft plan for 2021-26 for its gas network. Pages 16-20 of the Plan set out a significant shift in direction that is worth looking at in detail.

The draft plan states that decarbonising the ACT’s gas system could involve three options – full electrification of homes and businesses, transitioning the gas supply to ‘renewable gas’ (e.g. hydrogen or bio-methane) or a combination of the two. Evoenergy’s plan states it isn’t yet clear which option is the best, and therefore proposes to minimise further investments that could become sunk – specifically it won’t expand the gas network to new suburbs. This lines up with the ACT Government’s recent decision to remove the mandate that all new suburbs in the ACT needed to be connected to the gas network.

Evoenergy’s strategy is strongly influenced by the ACT Government’s statements around transitioning away from gas, and this context doesn’t apply in other states and territories. However, I think that Evoenergy’s draft strategy still has national ramifications, in part because they have clearly articulated a sound point - there are prospects for gas networks to carry zero-emissions fuel, but the potential costs and benefits are still unclear compared to all-electric homes.

Households can now install high-quality appliances for cooking (induction stoves), water heating and space heating and cooling (heat-pumps). Renew released this excellent report in 2018 that concluded that it is cheaper to build an all-electric home than a dual-fuel home (electricity and gas). For existing homes, the cost-effectiveness of switching to an all electric home depends on how many appliances need replacing, but this equation will change as the price of various appliances and fuels change.

This issue has significant implications for energy management, as all-electric homes have the potential to both be more energy-efficient than dual-fuel homes, and will place greater demands on the electricity system. For the moment, it seems likely that more and more developers will build all-electric homes, especially apartments. In this context, gas networks should all be considering whether they adopt Evoenergy’s approach.

National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 Deferred

Luke Menzel

The Energy Efficiency Council is postponing the the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 to minimise the potential for transmission of COVID-19 and ensure that we deliver the highest quality event possible. 

We did not make this decision lightly. The Conference plays an important role in Australia’s energy sector, forging links between industry, government and experts, and progressing debates on critical energy management issues. However, after careful consideration, we have concluded that a delay until later in the year is in the best interests of attendees, speakers and the broader community.

Conference to be rescheduled for second half of 2020 

The Conference was scheduled to take place in Melbourne on 26 and 27 May 2020. We are working with our partners to determine a revised date for the Conference in the second half of 2020; I’ll be in touch with an announcement on that front very soon. In the meantime, we will be reopening ‘early bird’ Conference tickets.

I want to thank our Conference sponsors and partners for their incredible support as we have worked through this process. Your commitment is deeply appreciated, and helps us manage the challenges of shifting an event of this magnitude at short notice.

National Energy Efficiency Awards

The Awards ceremony for the National Energy Efficiency Awards has also been deferred from May to the second half of 2020. As a result, the deadline for Awards submissions has been extended to June 30, 2020. Everyone that has previously submitted nominations will also have the opportunity to update their  nomination prior to June 30.

A new date for the Awards ceremony will be announced soon.

Broader response to COVID-19

Like organisations across the country, we are monitoring health advice closely and putting sensible risk management measures in place for our staff and all our public facing activities.

At this stage we are proceeding with smaller events such as training. However, a full credit (for use at future Council training or events) will be provided to any person unable to attend as a result of feeling unwell and needing to self-isolate in accordance with the latest public health guidelines.

As an organisation we have a particular focus on energy and carbon issues, however those conversations don't happen in a vacuum. The immediate task for Australian families and businesses is to navigate the dual challenges – bushfires and pandemic – that have marked the start of this year. Our thoughts are with the victims of both crises, and we’ll be doing what we can to support the broader community effort to ensure we all emerge on the other side stronger than ever.







Efficiency Insight - February 2020

Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.

CEO welcome

At the Energy Efficiency Council's tenth anniversary celebration in June last year, I reflected on the state of play.

We were on the edge of the 2020s, the 'critical decade' in which we have the opportunity to secure our economic prosperity and begin dealing with the climate challenge by moving decisively towards a twenty-first century energy system.

We are no longer on the cusp of the critical decade; we are in thick of it. And the ferocious summer that has ripped through so much of our landscape has thrown the task before us into stark relief.

No one industry or profession has all the answers. But if you are receiving this email you probably have an interest in energy efficiency, energy management and demand response. So you know that the demand side has a crucial role to play, here in Australia and around the world, in taking unnecessary load off the system, in effectively managing the shift to renewables, and in lowering the costs of the transition to net zero emissions.

At the Energy Efficiency Council we have started 2020 with a strong sense of purpose, to ensure that those answers that we do have are elevated, and acted on.

But we know we can't do that alone. Which is why I'm proud to introduce you to the Council's first nine official NGO Partners.

We have collaborated with most of the organisations below for years. We've now formalised these relationships, providing a solid foundation for ramping up joint efforts aimed at putting smart energy management at the heart of Australia's energy transition.

It's going to be a big year. We look forward to working with you to ensure it is also a pivotal one.

Kind regards,

Luke Menzel
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council

Follow Luke on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.


Energy Efficiency Council NGO Partners

Expert view: demand-side supports the grid during bushfire emergency

Policy update from Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy at the Energy Efficiency Council

Energy efficiency was a popular theme at the World Economic Forum

National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020

Apply now for the National Energy Efficiency Awards 2020

Capturing the value of demand response and more professional development opportunities

To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.

Energy Efficiency Council NGO Partners

“Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation and consensus.”

Simon Mainwaring, CEO of We First

In other words, partnerships are key to success. This couldn’t hold more true when it comes to successfully navigating Australia’s energy transition. It is for this reason that we are bolstering the Council’s relationship with key industry, consumer and environmental groups that support our vision of building a sophisticated market for energy management products and services that delivers:

  • Healthy and comfortable buildings;
  • Productive and competitive businesses; and
  • An affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system for Australia.

In particular, the Council’s new strategy outlines the importance of industry and community coming together to achieve these goals. And consequently, our NGO Partner membership is designed to deepen the partnership between our organisation and other leading Australian non-governmental organisations. This enables us all to leverage our collective expertise and drive outcomes that are in Australia’s economic, environmental and social interests.

And on that note, we’d like to formally welcome the following organisations as NGO Partners of the Energy Efficiency Council:

The Energy Efficiency Council has been working with all of these organisations on advocacy and sector development for quite some time. Formalising the partnerships that already exist puts us in the best possible position to ensure our advocacy agendas are aligned and our communications strategies are cutting through.

This will enable us to realise the Energy Efficiency Council’s vision, and those of our partners, not just for the benefit of the energy management industry and our members, but for the benefit of all Australian households, businesses and communities.

With time we will build this coalition to include more allied organisations, so if you’d like to know more about the Council’s NGO Partnership initiative, please contact Holly Taylor, Senior Manager, Projects and Partnerships on

Expert view: demand-side supports the grid during bushfire emergency

By Rando Yam and Zac Hardie

In Australia’s current climate of extreme weather and bushfires, businesses participating in demand response are playing an important role in maintaining system security and stability for all energy users. Demand response can also provide a quicker and cheaper alternative to new generation. 

Businesses suited to demand response programs range from agribusiness to hospitals, water corporations, retail shopping centres, data centres, industrial manufacturing and more.  

Businesses participate via a third-party aggregator who supplies their combined energy load to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) when called on in response to a grid need. 

There have been multiple, significant grid requirements from December 2019 to February 2020.

New to demand response? Read the Energy Efficiency Council's demand response 101 that Enel X helped to develop. 

A perfect storm 

From Thursday 30 January to Saturday 1 February, AEMO called on two types of demand response - in both emergency and ancillary services via its Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) program and Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) - to support the grid each day. The cause was a combination of extreme weather and fragility of the transmission lines and network supply assets - particularly after bushfires, heat, smoke and damaging winds and storms.

In particular, on Friday 31 January, storms damaged six transmission towers in western Victoria, causing a trip to the main interconnector transmission line between Victoria and South Australia. This caused the grid’s frequency to drop. FCAS providers were called on by AEMO to immediately stabilise the frequency and avoid widespread blackouts. 

That same day, large parts of Victoria and New South Wales, which were already facing bushfire conditions, also experienced extreme temperatures that caused price spikes during the late afternoon and evening peak demand period. 

Over these three days commercial and industrial businesses also powered down for up to four hours via RERT. As just one example, Enel X’s aggregated capacity provided 30 MW to the grid. This helped to reduce the length and severity of the emergency situation when the grid was under threat.

Other recent events

At the end of December 2019, there were temperatures over 30 and 40 degrees across the NEM, causing immense pressure on the grid. This was exacerbated by widespread bushfire conditions, particularly in eastern Victoria, where there was unavailability of large generating units at Loy Yang, as well as softening availability from wind and solar farms during the peak evening period.

When the main transmission line between Victoria and New South Wales tripped due to the bushfires, the result was substantial loss of supply in Victoria and AEMO issuing a ‘Lack of Reserve (LOR) level 2’ notice to the market. 

While demand response capacity was impacted by bushfire hazards, as well as operational constraints given the time of year, a significant number of sites were able to respond to AEMO’s RERT activation, by powering down as much load as possible from 6:00pm – 9:00pm on 30 December. 

On Saturday 4 January the transmission line trip caused a separation event between New South Wales and Queensland and the rest of the NEM. As a result, the grid’s frequency rapidly dropped in both states. 

Enel X participated in three FCAS events, when the grid’s frequency dropped below its normal operating band. Businesses across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia curtailed load in response, helping to return the grid to its normal operating range. This also helps avoid generators tripping as a result of dangerously low frequency. 

Businesses playing a role in supporting Australia’s electricity grid

Across all events, a combination of cold storage facilities, water utilities, data centres and industrial gas processors helped to provide crucial demand response, taking some pressure off the generators who were operating at an elevated output as they struggled to meet demand. 

We expect that additional demand response events will take place before the summer is over, particularly with the transmission tower damage in Victoria, which will take several weeks to repair.

About Enel X

Enel X is an energy management company dedicated to accelerating the renewable energy transformation, and is the only independent aggregator providing demand response and power flexibility services to commercial and industrial businesses (C&I) in Australia. 

Click here to learn more about how Enel X is supporting system security and reliability this summer.

Rando Yam is Manager, Flexibility Operations & Zach Hardie is Program Manager, Flexibility Operations at Enel X Australia & New Zealand. Rando can be reached at and Zac can be reached at

Are you an Industry Leader or Corporate member of the Energy Efficiency Council with a view on an energy management hot topic? Contact us at to discuss penning an op-ed for an upcoming edition of Efficiency Insight.

Policy update from Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy at the Energy Efficiency Council

Australia’s summer of drought, bushfires and floods has had a profound impact on the political debate in Australia. It’s hard to predict exactly how the political conversation will evolve, or how long memories will last. However, there is now significant pressure on Australian governments – state and federal – to ramp up ambition on climate change.

Of course, energy efficiency has multiple benefits. It can deliver 40 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions Australia needs to meet its 2030 target. Energy efficiency also makes sense on purely financial grounds, especially with gas and electricity prices rising dramatically over the last decade. Further, making our buildings more energy efficient will help protect Australians during the heatwaves that will become more common in a warmer climate.

In this first edition of Efficiency Insight for 2020, I provide a recap of the current state of policy in some key areas, offering a view on where things may be going over the coming year, and conclude with how you can get involved with shaping the debate.


Minimum standards for new commercial buildings will become about 40 per cent stronger this year, as the energy efficiency provisions of the 2019 National Construction Code come into force.

The energy efficiency of Australia’s new and existing offices has been improving rapidly – in offices that have NABERS ratings, the average energy used per square meter declined by 43 per cent between FY2011 and FY2019. However, the energy efficiency of other types of existing commercial buildings, including hotels, shopping centres and smaller offices, is lagging a long way behind.

Unfortunately, the energy efficiency of Australia’s homes is very poor by global standards. In most parts of the country, new homes are built to at least 6-star NatHERS efficiency, but existing homes are worse – one sample of existing Victorian homes built before 2003 found that they had an average NatHERS rating of 1.8 stars.

And the situation is even more dire for rental properties, which are often in very poor condition. The low quality of our housing stock contributes to the estimated 3,000 deaths each year in Australia that are caused by hot and cold weather.

However, the tide appears to be turning. In February 2019, the COAG Energy Council agreed to a Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, which set out a broad framework to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s new and existing buildings. In December 2019, the COAG Energy Council also agreed to an Addendum to the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, which set out a detailed national work plan to improve the efficiency of existing buildings.

Important areas of policy work in the next year include:

  • Significantly updating minimum standards for new residential buildings and tweaking the standards for new commercial buildings. The overall design of standards is likely to be determined in the next 6-12 months, although the National Construction Code won’t be updated until 2022;
  • Designing minimum energy efficiency standards for residential rental properties in Victoria and the ACT;
  • Further work on the development of energy efficiency ratings for homes, which would ideally become mandatory when homes are sold and leased; and
  • Expansion of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program for commercial buildings. While the Australian Government has yet to announce a decision on whether it will expand the CBD program, the Draft Report by the independent reviewers recommended expanding the program to some hotels and office tenancies.

Business energy management

Governments are starting to pay more attention to improving the energy management of businesses, including manufacturing, resources and agriculture.

The NSW Government is rolling out support to help businesses improve their energy management, and we expect that the Government will start to share some of the results from this program in coming months.

The Victorian Government is also considering how to encourage large energy users to adopt energy management systems (EnMS), potentially by exempting companies that have EnMS from certain requirements.

In the meantime, the Energy Efficiency Council is continuing to drive the conversation, with fresh editions of our energy briefing for business, and ‘sector spotlights’ on energy management issues for manufacturing and agribusiness, coming up in 2020.

Energy efficiency schemes

Four state and territory governments require energy retailers to help consumers save energy using ‘energy efficiency schemes’ – NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT. These schemes are delivering major savings to consumers, and so these four governments are considering or have committed to expansions of their energy efficiency schemes.

A couple of very significant issues are currently being considered as part of scheme reviews:

  • The speed that these schemes move away from their current focus on improving the energy efficiency of lighting; and
  • How these schemes can support reductions in peak demand and improve the flexibility of energy demand.

Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory still haven’t introduced energy efficiency schemes, a failure that is costing their residents and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted energy.

Energy markets

This summer seriously challenged Australia’s energy system. Savvy programs to save energy, particularly reducing demand during heatwaves, played a critical role in keeping the lights on. However, far more needs to be done.

In December the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) decided to delay finalising the mechanism that will reward consumers if they reduce their energy demand during high-price periods, the ‘Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism’. We now anticipate that the AEMC will make a decision on the demand response mechanism in the middle of 2020. However, this will just be the start of a more comprehensive move towards a ‘two-sided’ energy market.

Help change the debate

Across all these areas we are seeing a growing appetite for policy change, but it is critical that new policy is well-designed and based on the latest research.

To support this, over the next several months the Energy Efficiency Council will consult with members, partners and other stakeholders on a major update to the Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook.

The quality of the Handbook depends on bringing together the collective wisdom of Australia’s energy efficiency experts, and we’re keen to hear your views. If you are interested in being involved in this process, please register your interest by emailing me at

Energy efficiency was a popular theme at the World Economic Forum

At the World Economic Forum last month, climate change topped the agenda and was coined the ‘defining question of our time’ by UN Secretary General António Guterres. As 67% of primary energy is wasted due to system inefficiencies, systemic efficiency – ‘the optimisation of energy to create a net-zero carbon future’ – was discussed as a solution. The panel Creating a Carbon-Neutral Future discussed systemic change and featured Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO of Schneider Electric, which is an Industry Leader member of the Council.

Click here to view the 45-minute session.

The European Green Deal was also a hot topic of discussion at the WEF. Europe plans to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and to do so, it plans to put energy efficiency first. Energy production and use across economic sectors accounts for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, so halving energy demand by 2050 compared to 2005 levels will be the first step. 

National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020

The National Energy Efficiency Conference 2020 program is now available!

Click here to view the draft program.*

Taking place at the start of a critical decade for Australia’s energy transition, the Conference is a must attend event for anyone with an interest in building an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system for Australia.

Speaker announcement 

The Council is delighted to announce Ross Garnaut as a plenary speaker at NEEC20. 

No stranger to the Australian climate space, Ross Garnaut is the recent author of Superpower: Australia's Low-Carbon Opportunity and a distinguished professor of economics. 

Ross will lead a high-profile panel on climate change science, politics and the implications for energy management policy and practice.

Click here to view the draft program.

More speakers will be announced soon so keep an eye on your inbox, as well as @EECouncil and #NEEC20 on Twitter for the latest updates.

Click the link below to view registration options and secure your early bird tickets now. Earlybird rates won’t hang around for long, so book now!

*Please note that the program is subject to change. 

The Energy Efficiency Council extends warm thanks to the following sponsors of the National Energy Efficiency Conference & Awards 2020, whose support and vision makes the event possible: 

Major Partner

 Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsor

Apply now for the National Energy Efficiency Awards 2020

Pesented by the Energy Efficiency Council, and now in its eighth year, the National Energy Efficiency Awards are Australia's highest profile honours dedicated to excellence in energy efficiency.

The National Energy Efficiency Awards are a fantastic opportunity to be recognised for your efforts and celebrate your commitment to energy efficiency.

We invite individuals and organisations to nominate their projects for one of 11 award categories that demonstrate outstanding achievement in performance, leadership and innovation.

Nominations are now open for the following award categories:

  • Best Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Project
  • Best Agricultural Energy Efficiency Project, prroudly sponsored by Queensland Farmers' Federation
  • Best Industrial Energy Efficiency Project
  • Best Residential Energy Efficiency Project, presented in partnership with Renew
  • Best Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Energy Efficiency Project, presented in partnership with the Australian Energy Foundation
  • Best ‘Smart Energy’ Project, for cogeneration, district energy, demand response and utility programs
  • Best Innovation in Energy Efficiency
  • Best Energy Saving Program
  • Leading Energy User, presented in partnership with the Energy Users Association of Australia
  • Young Energy Efficiency Professional 2020, for a leading individual under 35 who has contributed to energy efficiency through advocacy, research, education or projects
  • Energy Efficiency Champion 2020, for a leading individual who has advanced the energy efficiency sector through outstanding advocacy, research, education or projects

Nominations from the Commercial Building, Agricultural, Industrial, Residential and Energy User categories will also be invited to nominate their project for consideration in the:

  • Integrated Clean Energy Award, proudly sponsored by ARENA


The winners of the National Energy Efficiency Awards 2020 will be announced at the National Energy Efficiency Conference Gala Dinner on Tuesday 26 May 2020 at the Pullman on the Park in Melbourne, Victoria.

Nominations close at 5pm on Monday 16 March 2020

Need inspiration? Click here to learn about previous winners that were recognised for their efforts in energy efficiency.

If you have any further questions regarding the National Energy Efficiency Awards, please feel free to contact the Energy Efficiency Council by email at or on 03 9069 6588.

For further updates follow the Energy Efficiency Council and #NEEC20 on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.

Capturing the value of demand response and more professional development opportunities

As we enter a new decade of Australia's energy transition, training and professional development in the energy management sector have never been more important.

With that in mind, we'd like to highlight that we've updated the Energy Efficiency Council's training and professional development calendar for 2020:

Energy Efficiency Council member and group discounts are available.

For more information, click here.

Upcoming training on Capturing the value of demand response

Tuesday 31 March 2020, Sydney

Demand response enables energy users to manage costs behind the meter, while also being an increasingly important tool for improving the affordability and reliability of Australia’s electricity system. And as Australia’s energy market transforms, the ability of energy users to rapidly adjust their energy use to adapt to changes in the energy system is only becoming more valuable.

In this practical one-day masterclass, you’ll learn about the benefits of demand response for businesses and the broader energy system, different value propositions and business models for demand response, how to leverage existing and emerging technologies to facilitate demand response, and rapidly evolving opportunities to create new revenue streams for businesses by selling demand response in energy markets.

For more information and to register, click here.