Driving member value and systemic change through strategic research for government 05 August 2021

By Holly Taylor

The Council’s projects division works on a diverse range of strategic research, business engagement and industry development projects with government and industry. Strategic research projects, in particular, support the Council with realising its goal of building a sophisticated market for energy management products and services that delivers:

  • Healthy, comfortable buildings;
  • Productive, competitive businesses; and
  • An affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system for Australia.

In support of this aim, in FY21 the Council undertook several research projects that highlighted the role of energy efficiency, energy management and demand response in support Australia’s energy transition. In particular, between July 2020 and June 2021 the Council completed research on:


Managing the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector

Completed July 2020, with the support of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

This research assessed the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector in the period from March 2020 to July 2020. The report highlighted that households significantly increased their expenditure on ‘home improvement’ and undertook low-cost energy management measures. Further, it highlighted that government policy decisions significantly shaped the pandemic’s impact on the energy management sector. The latter was observed in the high take-up of existing government programs that subsidised energy efficiency upgrades for businesses, but only where the out-of-pocket expenses were relatively low.

The recommendations from the report influenced the Victorian Government’s substantial investments in  energy efficiency in homes in the FY21 budget, as well as other government programs that supported an efficient recovery.

Learn more about the project and download the report here.


Ensuring quality control and safety in insulation installation: a research report to support an industry-led roadmap for healthy, comfortable buildings

Completed May 2021 in partnership with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), with the support of DELWP, DPIE, Insulation Australasia and the Insulation Council of Australian and New Zealand

This research demonstrated how to ensure insulation is installed with appropriate quality-control and safety processes. The report highlights that enhancing quality control processes for insulation installation can deliver significant benefits for new builds, renovations and retrofits. These benefits include improved comfort, health and wellbeing for building occupants, reduced energy bills and emissions, and improved productivity, job creation and economic growth.

The findings of this report supported the development of an industry-led roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation, which set out a series of actions to ensure that insulation is installed in such a way that ensures quality control and safety.

Learn more about the project and download the report and roadmap here.


Further, faster, together: opportunities for collaboration between Germany and Australia on energy efficiency in buildings

Completed June 2021 in partnership with the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and adelphi, with the support of the German Government

This project kicked off with a joint webinar in December that explored the potential of energy efficiency in buildings, its role in German and Australian economic stimulus packages and specific opportunities for cooperation. The recording is available here.

Following the webinar, the research commenced and concluded with a joint report that identified priority areas for collaboration between Germany and Australia on energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. Key recommendations made in the report include:

      1. Commissioning research and facilitate dialogue on energy efficiency financing in Germany, and lessons for Australia;
      2. Commissioning research and facilitate dialogue on NABERS Energy’s role in Australia, and lessons for Germany; and
      3. Commissioning research and facilitate dialogue on unlocking the potential of heat pumps.

The EEC and A2EP have commenced research on the role of heat pumps in supporting emissions reduction, and NABERS is looking into how to share best practice with our German counterparts. Of course, we’re also exploring opportunities to learn from Germany’s KfW Bank.

Learn more about the project and download the report here.


Determining office tenancies energy end use: A research project to determine disaggregated energy consumption in office tenancies

Completed June 2021 in partnership with CitySwitch and NABERS, with the support of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER)

Between July and October last year, CitySwitch signatories participated in a survey that was used to create a model of office tenancies’ energy consumption.

The results from the research are referenced in the sector spotlight for office-based businesses, which was released in December 2020, and are being used to influence future policy and programs to support office tenancies with lowering their energy consumption.

The research was finalised in 2021 as site visits were needed to estimate the load of supplementary heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) in office tenancies. Key insights from the research included that:

The final report will be made public in the coming months, but you can learn more about the preliminary results here and catch up on the launch of the offices sector spotlight here.


RACE B4 flexible demand opportunity assessment

Completed June 2021 in conjunction with the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Energetics, the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University, with the support of the RACE for 2030 CRC.

This opportunity assessment identified the large untapped potential for low-cost flexible demand across industrial and commercial energy end-use applications, however there are a number of barriers and research gaps impeding uptake. The OA has outlined three streams of priority research to guide future research including strategic barriers and solutions, sectoral transformation pathways, and industry partner enablement.

Learn more about the project here.


RACE E3 developing the future energy workforce opportunity assessment

Completed June 2021 in conjunction with the University of Technology Sydney, Monash University, the Australian Power Institute, Climate-KIC Australia, EnergyLab, Startupbootcamp and Ultima Capital Partners, with the support of the RACE for 2030 CRC.

The opportunity assessment on developing the future energy workforce undertaken for the RACE for 2030 describes a pathway to understanding the present and future energy workforce and ensuring that the required skills, training and innovation pathways are available to maximise the jobs and opportunities created for Australia.

The opportunity assessment includes a research roadmap for the duration of RACE for 2030 that specifies priority research projects for developing the future energy workforce.

The final report will be released publicly in the coming months, with the Council and partners advocating for government to support the development of an Australian Energy and Employment Report, which is based on the U.S. Energy & Employment Report, and which will provide detailed energy sector work force and market size modelling. This modelling will support government and industry with:

  • Ensuring that the energy transition can proceed in smoothly and efficiently, without delays caused by skill shortages;
  • Enabling Australia, states and territories to maximise on-shore, regional, and local employment and value from the energy transition; and
  • Demonstrating the impacts of government policies and programs that are designed to energy productivity.

Learn more about the project here.


Holly Taylor is Head of Projects at the Energy Efficiency Council; follow Holly on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.


This article was originally published in the August edition of Efficiency Insight.