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 - 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.