Policy & Projects

Policy & Projects


The Council’s expert team of staff and advisors – led by Head of Policy Jeremy Sung and Head of Strategy and Partnerships 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:

Strategic research

Business engagement

  • 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.

Industry development

Click here to learn more about our current and past projects, or get in contact with Holly via email at holly.taylor@eec.org.au.

Heat pump hot water systems roadmap

Heat pumps reduce the amount of energy needed to provide heating and cooling services, and unlock the potential to deliver heating and cooling services with near-zero emissions by integrating heat pumps with renewable energy sources.

This project will support the decarbonisation of domestic hot water systems (HWS) across Australia by considering market development opportunities for heat pump hot water systems (HPHWS) that are powered by renewable energy. Specifically, the purpose of this project is to:

  • Define an action plan for dramatically scaling up the rollout of HPHWS; and
  • Galvanise key stakeholders to work together in this effort, for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Australia.

The project will clearly define actions that should be taken by industry, government and other key stakeholders – including consumers – all of whom are essential to the effort to scale up the rollout of HPHWS. It will support efforts to ensure that HPHWS are deployed as part of an affordable and reliable transition to net zero emissions, particularly in residential settings.

The aim of this industry-led HPHWS roadmap is to facilitate actions from industry, government and community that will enable market transformation.  

The project is proudly funded by the New South Wales Office of Energy and Climate Change (OECC) and Solar Victoria within the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).
You can learn more about the project here.

The consultation for the roadmap was launched with a webinar on 30 November, 2023, which can be viewed here.

How to participate

Help support industry and government to develop a practical roadmap that ensures HPHWS are deployed as part of an affordable and reliable transition to net zero emissions, particularly in residential settings by completing the consultation survey.  Survey closes at 5pm AEST on January 26, 2024.

For more information on this project, please contact Rachael Wilkinson, Senior Advisor, Policy and Partnerships, at rachael.wilkinson@eec.org.au.

ANZ & EEC's Forgotten Fuel series launched at the 2023 National Energy Efficiency Conference

On Thursday 25 May 2023, ANZ and the EEC released Putting energy efficiency to work, a new report highlighting to everyday Australians the significant contribution of energy efficiency and electrification to cutting energy bills and decarbonising the Australian economy.

You can read the report online nowdownload the PDF to read later, or listen to ANZ Institutional's On Air 'energy, efficiency & the bottom line' podcast episode with Tsen Wong, Head of Energy Transition at ANZ and the EEC's Head of Projects, Holly Taylor.

Released at the National Energy Efficiency Conference in Sydney, the report contains newly commissioned independent modelling from Northmore Gordon that demonstrates the role that energy efficiency could and should play in achieving Australia's emissions reductions goals.

On June 13, Holly hosted a webinar with Tsen from ANZ, Craig Morgan and Huon Seymour from Northmore Gordon, and the EEC's very own Alex St John, where they unpacked the modelling behind the recent report. Watch the webinar recording here and access the slides here.

You can access the Northmore Gordon Energy efficiency scenario modelling research here.

Putting energy efficiency to work is the first report in ANZ and the EEC’s Forgotten Fuel series. The second and third reports will have a deeper focus on the benefits of and opportunities for energy efficiency in businesses and households.

Read the Putting energy efficiency to work now.

Residential energy upgrades workforce mapping project

As Australia's net zero transformation kicks into gear, we need to ensure that we have the right people, in the right places, at the right time to deliver the necessary energy upgrades to make all homes healthy, comfortable, decarbonised and low energy cost.

Many homes in Australia are leaky, poorly insulated and have high emissions, especially older homes built before minimum energy efficiency and thermal comfort standards were introduced.  The task of upgrading millions of homes is becoming increasingly urgent as our emissions reduction targets draw closer and climate extremes increase. 

At present, we don’t have enough appropriately skilled people to deliver the massive scale of energy upgrades needed. This ‘residential energy upgrades workforce mapping’ project is looking to help accelerate the development and deployment of the residential energy upgrade workforce to address this issue. 

This project will map the skills and knowledge needed to upgrade Australia’s homes – and build our new homes even better, with a particular emphasis on thermal performance and efficient electrification. It will identify how to improve the current capability and capacity of the residential energy upgrade industry, including by identifying the professional development pathways into key roles, and any gaps in existing training within these professional development pathways.

Ultimately, the EEC will present recommended priority actions and next steps for industry and government in the form of a ‘residential energy upgrades workforce development roadmap’.

The roadmao is expected to be released in October 2023.

You can learn more about the project here.

Initial public forum 

The EEC held a public forum on Monday 20 March from 3:30pm to 5pm AEDT. The project team provided stakeholders with an overview of the project, and attendees had a chance to raise questions and queries, and provided the project team with some initial feedback.

Slides from the forum can be found here.

Second public forum

The EEC, with the support of the Institute for Sustainable futures, will hold a second public consultation forum to discuss the initial outcomes of the workforce mapping. Further details to be confirmed.

For more information on this project, please contact Karla Paeglis, Head of Workforce Development on karla.paeglis@eec.org.au.


Careers for Net Zero showcases the many career opportunities that will help deliver an equitable, prosperous and net zero emissions Australia.

Careers for Net Zero is a joint initiative of the Clean Energy Council and Energy Efficiency Council, with the support of Ai Group, Australian Power InstituteBoundless Earth and Engineers Australia.

Learn more at careersfornetzero.org.au.

Careers for Net Zero was launched at the inaugural Careers for Net Zero Fair in October 2023, which was attended by Victorian Premier, the Hon. Jacinta Allan MP, Commonwealth Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Resources and Climate Action the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Atlassian and Chair of Boundless Earth, Mike Cannon-Brookes, and a host of other leading industry, education and training sector, and civil society representatives.

Learn more about the launch event here.

The CEC and EEC, along with a lot of other leading voices, are committed to ensuring that we have a clean economy workforce to achieve Australia’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals. The campaign associated with Careers for Net Zero is underpinned by three goals:

1. Growing the clean economy workforce

Ensuring the clean economy workforce is appropriately sized and skilled to enable a rapid transition to an equitable, prosperous and net zero emissions economy.

2. Empowering everyday Aussies to make a difference

Enabling students, graduates and experienced workers to find their role in Australia’s clean economy.

3. Moving beyond ambition to action

Supporting government and industry to co-create and deliver an effective workforce development strategy for the clean economy, and education and training systems that can rapidly scale to meet our net zero emissions goal.

 Learn more at careersfornetzero.org.au.

Commercial building energy upgrades workforce mapping report 

In October 2023, the EEC and NSW Government released a new report Commercial building energy upgrades workforce mapping, which seeks to clarify the professional development pathways for trades and professionals that are involved in decarbonising Australia’s commercial buildings.  

 The report highlights the key roles that are required to perform energy upgrades on, and support the decarbonisation of, Australia’s existing commercial building stock. There is significant work required to improve thermal envelopes, reduce heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) and lighting loads, as well as optimising commercial building operations and performance where possible.  

 The report identifies 14 key roles that are critical to the decarbonisation of Australia’s commercial buildings. Yet it also highlights that many of the individuals in these key roles do not generally have adequate knowledge and skills regarding energy management as it relates to their roles. Similarly, the current workforce is not ready to electrify Australia’s commercial building stock, which is necessary to support Australia’s decarbonisation efforts.  

The report recommends building a toolkit for workforce development to deliver commercial building energy upgrades. This involves six key activities:  

  1. Utilise procurement and regulatory levers to create demand; 

  1. Unlock scale through integrated policy drivers; 

  1. Attract workers to the sector with clear entry and upskilling pathways; 

  1. Catalyse development of systemic education and training; 

  1. Build strong industry links and communities of practice; and 

  1. Create confidence, expertise and awareness through initial investment.  

Career profiles that were developed as part of this report – see Appendix 1 – have been included on the new Careers for Net Zero website, where you can find more information about the professional development pathways into these roles, as well as upskilling opportunities. Browse these roles now: 

The Commercial building energy upgrades workforce mapping report was proudly funded by the


Insulation retrofit training

The EEC has worked for several years to make Australian homes healthier and more comfortable through insulation.

We’ve collaborated with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council on the Ensuring quality control and safety in insulation installation report; brought together a broad coalition to support the industry-led Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation; and in 2022 introduced the Certified Insulation Installer certification as part of the launch of EEC Professional Certifications.

Additional training for insulation retrofitting

The EEC delivered high-quality training output for use by registered training organisations (RTOs) in a short time-frame to support the introduction of the ACT Government’s minimum rental standards. This training enables the development and maintenance of knowledge and skills around the safe, effective installation of insulation in existing buildings.

In a project funded by the ACT Government, the EEC:

  • Established an industry-based competency specification (EEC001 – Prepare for insulation retrofitting within ceiling spaces),
  • Developed training content, and
  • Updated the Certified Insulation Installer certification pre-requisites to include the competency specification and accompanying training content.

Through strong relationships with the insulation industry, state and territory governments and RTOs we developed a fit-for-purpose competency specification, and detailed training content including assessment tasks, model answers and a training video demonstrating the end-to-end process of preparing for insulation retrofitting.

Note: If you are an RTO wishing to deliver training to meet this competency specification, please contact us for more information.

For more information on this project or other Sector Development work, please contact Toby Lawrenson, Sector Development Manager on toby.lawrenson@eec.org.au.

Harnessing heat pumps for net zero


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 was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), and 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; and
  • Industry.

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 report has found that heat pumps can achieve potential cumulative energy savings of up to 14,391 PJ and up to 747 MtCO2e to 2050, with the added benefit of reducing exposure to volatile global gas markets.

The report can be downloaded here.

EEC Professional Certifications Framework

As announced in October 2021, since 2013 the Energy Efficiency Council has administered the Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme (EECS), which certifies professionals that can lead integrated building energy retrofits (IBERs) of commercial buildings, and has supported the role out of Victoria's Greener Government Buildings (GGB) Program and NSW's Government Resource Efficiency Program (GREP), amongst other commerial buildings programs.

The EEC is working collaboratively with the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to redesign the Scheme into an ‘umbrella certification framework’ - the EEC Professional Certifications Framework - under which multiple professional certifications and associated training programs will sit, including:

  • Certified Emissions Reduction Leaders - Commercial Buildings, replacing the existing EECS certifications;
  • Certified EnMS Advisors;
  • Certified Insulation Installers.

The EEC Professional Certifications Framework will be launched in late June, with certifications being awarded from 1 July 2022.

If you’d like to know more about the EEC Professional Certifications Framework, please contact Toby Lawrenson, Sector Development Manager on toby.lawrenson@eec.org.au.

Certified Insulation Installer

Insulation is an essential component of healthy, comfortable buildings and supports Australia’s energy transition by reducing energy demand and facilitating flexibility of heating and cooling services.

The Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation – developed by a coalition of industry associations and released in May 2021 – identified training and certification of insulation installers as an essential step in enabling quality, safe insulation installations in Australian homes and commercial buildings.

In pursuit of this goal, an insulation installer program has been administered by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) since 2013. The program has been critical to enabling the safe and effective installation of insulation in Australia, but it needs to grow to scale impact. Acknowledging this and that the program no longer aligns with CEC’s core priorities, the CEC announced that it will discontinue the installer program after 31 March 2022, passing the baton to the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC).

The program is initially being taken on by the EEC on an interim basis until 30 June 2023 to enable a review of skills and training needs to ensure the program effectively facilitates the availability of qualified installers to deliver quality insulation installations across Australia. Recommendations from the review will be implemented and the improved program will operate from 1 July 2023.

For more information, please see below and here.

Please direct any questions regarding certification to certifications@eec.org.au.


Clean Energy Council passes the baton of insulation installer certification to the Energy Efficiency Council in 2022

Insulation is an essential component of healthy, comfortable buildings. The Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation – which was developed by a coalition of industry associations and released in May 2021 – identified training and certification of insulation installers as an essential step in enabling quality, safe insulation installations in Australian homes and commercial buildings.

As announced in December 2021, with the rapid growth of the renewables industry and the Energy Efficiency Council’s (EEC) recent deep engagement with the insulation industry, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has decided to pass the baton for managing the insulation installer certification program to the EEC. The CEC will stop processing new insulation installer applications from 1 April 2022, with the EEC beginning to do so from 1 July 2022, which will come into effect under the new umbrella certification framework that will be launched in the coming months.

The EEC will be managing the Insulation Installer Certification on an interim basis until 31 June 2023, with a review of needs undertaken in advance of then to ensure that the program effectively facilitates the availability of qualified installers to deliver quality insulation installations. Permanent arrangements will be announced in due course. Considering this, the CEC’s current program will be largely replicated under the interim arrangement with the EEC. However, the EEC will begin public consultation in early 2022 to ensure that the certification meets industry, government and consumer needs.

Lead, accelerate, transform

December 2022

The Energy Efficiency Council in collaboration with adelphi, a German climate think thank, is pleased to announce the launch of Lead, accelerate, transform: Energy efficiency in buildings – insights from a 2022 Australian delegation to Germany

The report provides Australian policy makers with opportunities to enhance its leadership on energy efficiency in Australian buildings, from a country that has put energy efficiency front and centre in its efforts to reach net zero and drive down energy costs.

One of the guiding principles of the Germany Energy Transition is “efficiency first”. The country’s focus on energy efficiency in buildings has helped shape the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which provides a legislative framework for EU Member states to decarbonise new and existing buildings. At the same time, Germany aims to go beyond the requirements of the EPBD by implementing a comprehensive policy framework that combines ambitious targets and accountability with financial incentives, innovative demonstration projects, minimum standards that increase in stringency over time, and industry-wide capacity building to address market barriers to energy efficiency.

This report is the result of a July 2022 delegation of Australian energy efficiency policy, finance and industry experts, who travelled to Germany on a bilateral knowledge exchange tour, led by Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel.

Focussing on Germany’s policy framework for energy efficiency in buildingsthe delegation met with a variety of German government bodies and visited a range of sites showcasing energy efficiency best-practice for both new and existing buildings.

The Australian federal government’s recently renewed commitment to emissions reduction presents an opportunity to lead on emissions reduction through accelerating energy efficiency in buildings and transforming the market for energy efficient products and services. 

A webinar launched the report on 14 December 2022. Find the recording here.



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 sector spotlights and other resources that accompany the briefing exist to support this aim.

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.

Smart energy management in government operations

Strengthening budgets | slashing emissions

December 2021

All levels of government have significant property holdings, with state and territory governments having particularly large assets. Governments own and occupy over 25 per cent of the commercial building stock in Australia, including schools and hospitals, and run energy-intensive facilities such as water supply and treatment facilities. Consequently, governments use a huge amount of energy.

Better energy management can reduce energy use in facilities by 50 per cent or more, with very significant impacts on both government budgets and policy goals. This document provides guidance for federal, state and local governments on how to manage energy use in their own operations. 

The guide encourages governments to implement and scale up centralised, whole-of-government energy management programs as a critical first step towards decarbonisation.
Download the guide here.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Property Council of Australia gratefully acknowledge the many organisations and individuals that contributed to the development of this report.



 For more information, contact Julianne Tice, Buildings Policy Advisor, at julianne.tice@eec.org.au




Office building energy costs are often borne by two different groups: owners and tenants. While owners are typically responsible for the base building including foyers, lifts, HVAC, and bathrooms, tenants generally cover the lighting, IT and other ‘plug load’ or appliances in their tenanted space. The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) was engaged by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) to conduct research to determine office tenancies energy end use. The purpose of the research is to determine:

  • The proportion of office buildings’ energy use attributable to office tenants;
  • The proportion of office tenants’ energy use attributable to lighting, supplementary heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) and plug-load;
  • The breakdown – by average value and energy intensity – of office tenants’ energy use attributable to lighting, supplementary HVAC and plug-load energy use, broken down by office equipment type; and
  • How these figures are anticipated to change between 2020 and 2030, and what this means for the relative size of energy savings opportunities for office tenancies.

This research demonstrates the relative size of energy savings opportunities for office tenancies. It aims to facilitate the uptake of and investment in energy upgrades that offer the largest energy and emissions savings for office tenancies.

Note: The bulk of this research was completed between July and November 2020. In April 2021, once the relevant data was collected, additional research was completed to determine the proportion of an office tenancy’s energy consumption attributable to supplementary HVAC.

The report looks at the main uses for energy and seeks to establish the energy savings opportunities available in office tenancies to 2030. The report’s objective is to facilitate the uptake of and investment in energy upgrades that offer the largest energy and emissions savings for tenancies.

Download the report here.



The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) gratefully acknowledges the support of CitySwitch, NABERS and Property NSW, as well as energy consultancies Point Advisory, DeltaQ and Strategy. Policy. Research. in completing this research project.

CitySwitch played an integral role of facilitating responses to the survey, with NABERS providing expert technical advice and the NABERS data against which the bottom-up energy use model was validated. Property NSW provided the data used to estimate supplementary HVAC load, with DeltaQ undertaking the analysis on their behalf. Strategy. Policy. Research. reviewed methodological approaches to determining office tenancies energy end use. And, importantly, Point Advisory developed the model and led the analysis of the results of the research.

The EEC worked closely with CitySwitch, NABERS and Point Advisory on developing the discussion and conclusions of this research.

Lastly, the EEC thanks the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) for funding this research, which has enabled CitySwitch and the Energy Efficiency Council to better support office-based businesses with improving their energy performance through a targeted campaign and the establishment of a dedicated resource detailing opportunities for office-based businesses, with a particular emphasis on office tenancies. To learn more, go to energybriefing.org.au/sector-spotlights/offices



Opportunities for collaboration between Germany and Australia on energy efficiency in buildings

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.

Further, faster, together: Opportunities for collaboration between Germany and Australia on energy efficiency in buildings - download the report now

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.

For further information, contact Amelia Jarrett, EEC Project Manager at amelia.jarrett@eec.org.au.

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 Light House 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.


For further information, contact Julianne Tice, Buildings Policy Advisor, at julianne.tice@eec.org.au.

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.

Download The impacts of COVID-19 on the energy management sector in the period March 2020 to July 2020

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 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 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.


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.


Survey of community views by YouGov Galaxy
April 2018

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.