The Council’s expert team of staff and advisors – led by Head of Projects, Holly Taylor – work with governments at the state and federal level, key industry and professional associations, and non-governmental organisations, particularly our NGO Partners, on a range of strategic research, business engagement and industry development projects.
Current projects include:
- Research into the role of heat pumps in emissions reduction; and
- Opportunity assessment project for the RACE for 2030 CRC theme B4: Flexible demand and demand control technology and development; and
- Ongoing business engagement activity through the Navigating a dynamic energy landscape series, including the development and dissemination of:
- A farms sector spotlight; and
- A guide to support businesses with successfully leveraging the Federal Government’s expanded and new tax incentives for energy upgrades.
- Bolstering engagement pathways for Australian industry and international energy management collaborative activities, such as the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities (IEA EBC) Programme;
- Consultation on developing an Industry Council for Energy and Emissions (ICEE), as recommended by the Pivot – Rebound – Transform report;
- Developing a demand management for government training program to support policy makers and regulators with understanding the opportunities of flexible demand; and
- Opportunity assessment for the RACE for 2030 CRC theme E3: Developing the future energy workforce.
Heat pumps: realising low cost abatement in buildings and industry
The role of heat pumps in emissions reduction is an area of intense interest in countries around the world. While this project is primarily focused on the Australian market, it will identify opportunities for global collaboration that would support efforts to unlock the potential of heat pumps here in Australia. Specifically, the purpose of this project is to:
- Build an evidence base for the role, application and potential impact of heat pumps in decarbonising Australian buildings and industry;
- Identify opportunities and gaps to inform government policy and programs, efforts in research, development and demonstration (RD&D), standards, and workforce development required to realise the abatement opportunity of heat pumps; and
- Inform investment opportunities in low emissions technologies.
The project is being funded by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), and being jointly delivered by the Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity.
This project is focused on providing an overarching, multi-sectoral analysis of the interaction between heat pump adoption, economic sectors, policy and regulations, and goals such as emissions reduction. Specifically, the report that will be produced as part of this project will provide guidance to governments and other stakeholders on the role of heat pumps in reducing emissions.
The research and analysis will focus on heat pump applications in:
- Residential buildings;
- Commercial buildings;
- Manufacturing; and
Most of the future opportunity for heat pumps – both in terms of market growth and abatement potential – exists in these sectors, which is why these sectors have been included in the project scope.
The Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity will develop both a research report and an impact model, which will estimate the abatement potential of heat pumps in Australian buildings and industry, to the DISER in late 2021.
Any stakeholders wishing to receive updates on the project or participate in consultation may express their interest here.
NAVIGATING A DYNAMIC ENERGY LANDSCAPE: A BRIEFING FOR AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES
Please go to energybriefing.org.au for the latest Navigating a dynamic energy landscape resources, including the latest edition of the energy briefing, sector spotlights, energy 101s and more
There is an enormous amount of information on energy in the public domain, yet it can be hard for business leaders to extract what matters for their businesses.
Navigating a dynamic energy landscape is an executive-level briefing designed to cut through the noise and help businesses confidently navigate Australia’s dynamic energy landscape.
This regular briefing provides:
- An update on the key drivers of business energy costs;
- An analysis of the latest trends impacting Australia’s energy markets;
- An overview of how leading businesses are taking control of their energy position by investing in energy efficiency, demand management and renewable generation; and
- Suggestions for businesses looking for expert and financial support.
The Energy Efficiency Council regularly refreshes the briefing with up to date data, analysis, recommendations, and case studies.
You can sign up to receive updates when new editions are released here.
In June 2021 the Energy Efficiency Council, in partnership with the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and adelphi, has released a report identifying priority areas for collaboration between Germany and Australia on energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings.
The priority areas for collaboration identified in the report include commissioning research and facilitating dialogue in three main areas:
- Energy efficiency financing in Germany, and lessons for Australia;
- The role of NABERS Energy in Australia, and lessons for Germany; and
- Unlocking the potential of heat pumps.
Australia and Germany have identified energy efficiency policy, programs and technology as an important area for bilateral cooperation, with the German Government adopting ‘energy efficiency first’ as a central principle of its Energiewende (energy transition) and the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap identifying energy efficiency as a key ‘enabling technology’ for lowering carbon emissions across the economy. With these priorities in mind, the project was facilitated by the Australia-Germany Energy Working Group’s Sub Working Group on energy efficiency and was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
This report is the beginning of what will hopefully be a fruitful relationship between Germany and Australia on rapidly improving energy efficiency in the buildings sector in the coming years.
Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation
On 18 May 2021 a broad coalition of insulation, building and energy efficiency organisations released a joint Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation. The roadmap sets out a series of actions to ensure that insulation is installed following best practice processes for quality control and safety.
Insulation is an essential component of a healthy, comfortable building. Adequate insulation can increase thermal comfort, lower heating and cooling bills, and reduce the prevalence of illness and death. Insulation needs to be properly installed in order to deliver its full value in both existing and new buildings.
The over 40 organisations (see below) that developed and signed this roadmap are committed to working with governments to ensure that insulation is installed properly. The roadmap includes actions that industry commits to undertake, and recommendations for actions by governments and other organisations.
The roadmap sets out actions that include:
- Information and guidelines;
- Training and accreditation;
- Requirements for insulation installations supported by governments;
- Compliance associated with new buildings and major renovations; and
- Moving beyond an insulation-only approach.
In preparation for the roadmap release, Energy Efficiency Council's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach, sat down with Jenny Edwards from Lighthouse Architecture and Science and Felicia Richardson from Enviroflex to discuss the importance of properly installed insulation, professionalisation of the installer workforce and to lay out the Roadmap recommendations. You can check out their quick conversation here.
The roadmap draws on the report Ensuring quality control and safety in insulation installation, which was written by the Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, and was jointly funded by the Government of New South Wales, the Government of Victoria, Insulation Australasia and the Insulation Council of Australian and New Zealand.
This research report was only possible with considerable input from experts in a broad range of fields, including policy makers, insulation manufacturers, insulation installers, the construction industry and experts in building design and sustainability. However, the recommendations in the report are the view of the project team at Energy Efficiency Council and ASBEC, and do not necessarily represent the views of any expert with which we consulted.
Public launch webinar
On 10 February the Energy Efficiency Council and ASBEC held a public lauch webinar with an overview of the report's recommendations, followed by a Q&A session.
The impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector in the period March 2020 to July 2020
In March 2020 the Government of New South Wales and the Government of Victoria commissioned the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector to help inform the response of various organisations to the impacts of COVID-19.
This report – The impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector in the period March 2020 to July 2020 – is now being publicly released. It is important to note this report covers only five months: March to July 2020. This was a time of significant flux in which everyone – industry, government and beyond – were racing to come to grips with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
As such, it is a snapshot in time. There have been significant changes in the market for energy management services and goods since July 2020, including changes driven by policy announcements by governments.
The views set out in the report are solely those of the Energy Efficiency Council, and do not represent the views of either of the governments that funded the report nor the people interviewed for the report. However, this project would not have been possible without the incredibly generous contribution of time from senior executives and experts from a broad cross-section of the energy management industry. And we believe this contribution was timely, providing governments with critical information on the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector.
The report found that the COVID-19 pandemic has already had major impacts on the energy management sector in this period, including:
- In March and April 2020, social distancing measures and community concerns effectively prevented on-site energy efficiency upgrades in homes and businesses. This impact appears to have been temporary and, with the adoption of appropriate hygiene measures, many energy management activities resumed.
- Households significantly increased their expenditure on ‘home improvement’, including low-cost energy management measures such as do-it-yourself (DIY) draught-sealing and insulation. This is likely due to people spending more time at home, and therefore seeking to improve their comfort and reduce their energy bills. (It appears that this trend may be persisting in 2021, with household interest in the thermal comfort of homes remaining higher than before the pandemic.)
- While businesses were focused on reducing costs such as energy, many froze capital expenditure, including on energy projects. This had a serious impact on some energy management providers. However, some energy users were still paying for advisory services and / or investing in non-capital measures (e.g. system optimisation) and measures that are subsidised by government programs (e.g. lighting upgrades).
The report also found that the impact of COVID-19 on the energy management sector was being significantly shaped by governments’ policy decisions, including JobKeeper and JobSeeker. In addition, we found that many energy efficiency programs were acting as de facto stimulus programs, ensuring that investment occurred in energy efficiency.
The report recommended that governments prioritise energy management in economic stimulus packages, as energy efficiency is: jobs-intensive; suited to counter-cyclical investment; and delivers on other policy goals. The report identified a number of prospective policy measures that could drive immediate stimulus, including:
- Upgrading the energy efficiency of government facilities, such as office buildings, hospitals, schools and water treatment plants. This measure is very well suited to stimulus because it can be ramped up quickly, will ensure that high-skilled professionals remain in the industry and it is counter-cyclical, delivering billions of dollars in reduced energy and maintenance costs;
- Building and retrofitting public housing. Governments have control of all the necessary levers to deliver high-quality results with this measure, it will help retain employment in the construction sector and deliver multiple benefits;
- Retrofitting private housing. The reduction in Australian immigration rates will result in a significant reduction in demand for new private housing – incentives for retrofitting existing dwellings will absorb many of the jobs which are likely to be lost in new construction and deliver a significant improvement in community health and energy affordability;
- Supporting better energy management in businesses, with a focus on installing sub-metering for large energy users and a Smart Energy Fund to support the retrofit of specific types of commercial buildings; and
- Training and accreditation. Basic training will help many existing trades and professions shift to delivering high-quality energy efficiency upgrades.
Pivot – Rebound – Transform: A practical plan for rapidly transforming the energy management market that supports Australian industry
In June 2020 the Energy Efficiency Council and Australian Industry Group released Pivot – Rebound – Transform: a practical plan for rapidly transforming the energy management market that supports Australian industry.
The report 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. It progresses the crucial debate of transforming the energy management market for energy-intensive businesses, which must pivot, rebound, and then transform while supporting Australian industry.
The report was prepared by an independent group of energy and carbon experts convened by the Energy Efficiency Council.
Read the report here.
Read the media release here.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY EMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA
Energy efficiency has played a key role in improving Australians’ wealth, health and wellbeing. More efficient businesses are more productive, and more efficient homes are cooler in summer, warmer in winter, healthier and cheaper to run. Improving the energy efficiency of Australian homes and businesses is the largest opportunity we have to reduce households’ energy bills.
To date, very little work has been undertaken to estimate the number of people employed in energy efficiency in Australia. The Energy Efficiency Council and the Energy Savings Industry Association commissioned Green Energy Markets to estimate:
- Upper and lower bound estimates of the number of people currently working in energy efficiency activities in Australia. The estimates of current employment figures are based on a range of existing sources of information; and
- The employment that would be created by government policies that drive the adoption of a series of technologically mature energy efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses.
Green Energy Markets’ analysis suggested that there are large numbers of current workers in energy efficiency – in fact there are more FTE in energy efficiency than any other part of the energy sector. This scale of employment makes common sense – Australia has tens of millions of buildings and units of energy-using equipment, and a large workforce is required to build, use and maintain these assets. Green Energy Markets also found that, if Australian governments were to adopt policies aimed as accelerating energy efficiency improvement of this large number of assets, it would generate significant levels of employment.
Our energy efficiency workforce has been hiding in plain sight. This report shines a light into a major part of our economy that is worthy of far more attention.
Read the full report
Read the executive summary
AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING: GAS EFFICIENCY GUIDE
Australian Manufacturing: Gas Efficiency Guide is a comprehensive resource that sets out practical and proven measures that deliver energy and cost savings in gas-intensive manufacturing operations.
The Guide sets out a range of options for manufacturers that wish to reduce their reliance on gas, including:
- maintenance improvements;
- replacing old and inefficient equipment;
- smart redesigns of industrial processes; and
- shifting from gas to other energy sources.
The Guide is a joint initiative of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Energy Efficiency Council and the Australian Industry Group.
You can download the Guide here.
On Thursday 4 October 2018, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Energy Efficiency Council and Ai Group hosted a live, interactive online event to unpack and expand upon the guide.
You can download the webinar recording and slides to hear from Tennant Reed (Ai Group), Michael East (Out Performers) and Luke Menzel (Energy Efficiency Council) on how gas-intensive businesses can reduce their energy costs and reduce their reliance on gas to remain cost competitive.
BOOSTING SMALL BUSINESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY THROUGH ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION
In the 2018 Budget, the Federal Government announced a further extension to the $20,000 small business instant asset write-off initiative. This initiative allows businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million to immediately deduct for the cost of each business asset up to $20,000, improving cash flow and helping them to reinvest in their business and replace or upgrade their assets.
The Energy Efficiency Council, with the support from the City of Sydney, has produced a set of materials to help small business owners, energy efficiency service providers and small business advisors make use of this initiative.
Many energy efficiency projects in small businesses typically require less than $20,000 or less than $20,000 per asset. For example, it could include a $15,000 lighting upgrade, a $10,000 controls upgrade and a $10,000 investment in insulation. Similarly, an investment of $20,000 in renewable energy could buy a 15 kW solar power system or a 3 – 5 kW wind turbine (costs net of renewable energy certificates).
The materials will help small business owners make use of the Federal Government small business instant asset write-off initiative to boost their energy efficiency. It will develop new tools and materials and get them into the hands and minds of business owners, energy efficiency service providers and small business advisors.
Download a copy of the materials here.
Further information is available from the Australian Tax Office. If in doubt speak with your trusted financial adviser before making your purchase to ensure both you and your small business will benefit.
ENERGY BILLS & ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Survey of community views by YouGov Galaxy
In many parts of Australia electricity prices have almost doubled and wholesale gas prices have more than tripled over the last decade. Many Australians are struggling with high energy bills. Helping homes and businesses save energy is a highly effective way to reduce energy bills while improving energy security and sustainability.
The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), the Property Council of Australia (PCA) and the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) all share the goal of ensuring that energy bills are affordable for homes and businesses. In February 2018 these groups commissioned YouGov Galaxy to survey on the views of Australians on energy policy, with a focus on energy efficiency.
Click here to download the Survey results.
Quick snapshot of some of the results:
- 90 per cent of voters think that it is important or very important that governments help reduce households’ and businesses’ energy bills
- Energy efficiency was the most popular energy policy option:
- 88 per cent of voters support government investment in energy efficiency, and just 5 per cent oppose it, giving a net support of 83 per cent.
- Voters were more divided on whether government should invest in new coal-fired generators, with just 4 per cent net support, and
- More voters opposed than supported reducing incentives for renewable energy and energy storage, with 16 per cent net opposition.
- Voters supported a wide range of specific energy efficiency policies, including:
- 79 per cent support for incentives to upgrade commercial buildings
- 80 per cent support for minimum standards for rental homes to ensure that they are safe, comfortable and have low energy bills, and
- 92 per cent support for upgrading the energy efficiency of public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Raw data from the survey can be downloaded here.