By Rob Murray-Leach, chief executive officer, Energy Efficiency Council.
The Energy Efficiency Council believes the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG)
National Strategy on Energy Efficiency is an important step forward, and calls for more
action on industrial and commercial energy efficiency. [see TFE post on this]
The National Strategy shows that Australian governments are waking up to the massive
potential of energy efficiency. To meet the Commonwealth’s target to put Australia at the
forefront of OECD energy efficiency improvement we’ll need to build on the Strategy with
serious programs to retrofit commercial buildings and drive industrial energy efficiency.
There is no doubt that the largest and cheapest opportunities for energy efficiency are in
commercial buildings and industry.
There are huge savings available in manufacturing and mining, with Australia’s top 215
energy users spending over $25 billion on energy per year, around 65 per cent of all
business energy use. The Australian Government needs to expand and strengthen the
Energy Efficiency Opportunities Program to reap these savings.
Existing commercial buildings account for 98 per cent of office space each year, and are a
gold mine of potential energy savings. A report by the Australian Sustainable Built
Environment Council found that tapping into the building sector’s potential for energy
efficiency could save $38 billion a year by 2050.
Standards for new buildings are important, but over the next two decades energy savings
from existing buildings will dwarf savings from new buildings. We need a major program to
retrofit existing commercial buildings.
Investing in energy efficiency is more than a double-dividend. Energy efficiency creates
green jobs, improves Australia’s economic competitiveness, cuts greenhouse pollution and
• The International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency will drive 54 per
cent of greenhouse reductions by 2030, much of this saving money.
• A single industrial site in Australia recently found that it could save $5.5 million each
year through energy efficiency.
• Davis Langdon estimates that retrofitting existing office buildings could create 27,000
jobs each year over the next ten years
The Energy Efficiency Council calls for all governments to work closely together to develop
programs to retrofit existing commercial buildings and industrial sites.
The Energy Efficiency Council is the peak body for non-residential energy efficiency services
and products. The Energy Efficiency Council was formed in 2009, incorporating the
members of the Australasian Energy Performance Contracting Alliance.