Shauna Coffey and Craig Roussac

28 June 2010 – Sustainability consultant Shauna Coffey (formerly of Mirvac) and Investa’s Craig Roussac were among guests who turned out for the launch of the Energy Efficiency Council’s new policy Platform for 2010 at 260 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, one of Investa’s buildings which it retrofitted to a 4.5 star NABERS Energy standard.

Australia urgently needed action to save energy said EEC chief executive officer of the council, Rob Murray-Leach, said at the launch: “Nationally electricity networks planned to spend $42 billion dollars over the next five years, but one third of this is to cope with ever-increasing power demand.”

Key to the new document were three “big policies” to transform Australia:

  • An energy efficiency target for Australia- “We could meet all the growth in our energy needs over the next decade simply by using the energy we waste now. Australia should follow Europe, China and the US and set a serious energy efficiency target. The Council recommends that Australia cut energy demand by 20 per cent below business-as-usual by 2020.”
  • Targeted investment in efficiency by electricity distributors – “Electricity bills are going to increase by as much as 42 per cent over the next three years simply because we’re investing too much in new and expanded electricity networks. If the network companies invest just 10 per cent of this planned spending in energy efficiency they could reduce the need for new infrastructure, reducing energy consumers’ bills.”
  • A National Efficiency Scheme  –  which would drive energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy.
  • The scheme would also reduce red tape by replacing three existing state

The EEC also nominated key sectors for action as industry, Cogeneration, Commercial Buildings and government operations.

Commercial buildings

Millions of Australians work in “ageing, inefficient and uncomfortable offices. Combining a new National Efficiency Scheme with a sophisticated loan scheme for commercial buildings would drive a new wave of productivity improvement in our workplaces,” the EEC said.

“Retrofitting Australia’s buildings will create a huge number of jobs, but this means up-skilling existing workers and training
new workers.

“A major retrofit of Australia’s existing commercial buildings over the next decade could save $1.4 billion a year9, cut building emissions by 30 per cent, and create 27,000 jobs. While we should make all new buildings efficient, focusing on retrofitting existing buildings will have a much bigger impact, as these will  account for two thirds or more of the building stock in 2030.

‘Retrofit’ programs need to focus on integrated building upgrades. Combining a bundle of measures together, like chiller
replacements and lighting refits, is financially attractive and delivers deep cuts in emissions. If property owners have to do these upgrades separately it is harder to finance them. ”

The council said that investing in building energy efficiency delivered “excellent rates of return.”