Reinhold Wieland

Energy services company Conservia has appointed Reinhold Wieland to the role of business development manager at its Sydney office, with the aim of generating more business in the energy performance contracting space.

The company is part of the international Oberix Group, and Mr Wieland was most recently working with the firm’s UK-based Optergy technology business.

Mr Wieland said the EPC market was more developed in Europe, attributing this to more financial institutions having specialist units offering energy efficiency finance at rates of around four to five per cent.

In Australia, he said, the rates on offer were generally between eight per cent and 12 per cent. This however, does not mean an EPC finance package cannot result in a solution that is cashflow positive from day one.

The company is targeting the government sector in NSW and Victoria, particularly healthcare and aged care, as well as small to medium enterprises in the industrial and general commercial sectors.

The model the company is offering clients uses a service agreement incurring a monthly charge that is financed through savings on energy bills. Mr Wieland said the option of energy efficiency insurance and sun cover insurance being taken out by Conservia would ensure that if expected gains are not achieved, the company can pay the balance, de-risking the EPC commitment.

Mr Wieland said the first step for any project following an energy assessment is the installation of submetering and real-time energy management systems to provide data.

This can reduce the payback for some clients to a single day, he said, as submetering can reveal faults in energy systems that can compromise critical systems if not attended to promptly. Just one day’s lost production for an industrial site, or shutdown for an airport or hospital, can represent more costs than an entire energy efficiency service package.

Subsequent activities that offer the highest levels of energy savings are the installation of LED lighting, voltage optimisation and behaviour change programs, he said.

The company is in the process of finalising a partnership agreement with a consultancy that specialises in behaviour change.

“In the UK, behaviour change was rated at number four in terms of effective energy saving measures.”

The company has a network of subcontractors to provide services including mechanical system upgrades, installation of window films to improve thermal performance, commercial solar power generation and building management system upgrades.

Mr Wieland said the major barrier that has prevented the Australian market for EPCs developing, as well as Europe’s, was a lack of understanding of the principle of them.

“The contracts are pretty heavy,” he said. In the UK this is less of a deterrent due to the scale of projects, where not just one hospital would be involved but a bundle of 20 would undertake a single EPC.

“Maybe the word ‘contract’ scares people off.”