A range of industry and government programs are available to support businesses to understand their energy use and implement energy-efficient practices, systems and technologies.
The $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is an independent Commonwealth authority, supporting innovations that improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. ARENA invests in research, development, demonstration, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy and related technologies; and the storage and sharing of knowledge and information about renewable energy technologies.
For further information about ARENA and new initiatives, see the ARENA website.
CitySwitch is a free sustainability program supporting office-based businesses to significantly improve day-to-day energy and waste efficiency. The program provides network members with one-to-one support from an experienced program manager. It also includes free online resources, practical toolkits and regular education and networking events. Discounts on NABERS tenancy energy ratings are also available to members.
Play the CitySwitch Green Office ICT Challenge. Have some fun, test your knowledge and take away practical tools, tips and next steps to green your office ICT.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) welcomes proposals from organisations seeking finance for investment-ready renewable energy technology, low emissions technology and energy efficiency projects.
The CEFC’s funding will be invested in the areas of low emissions technology and energy efficiency. This includes technologies, systems, services or business models related to energy conservation or demand management outcomes.
The CEFC seeks opportunity for co-financing smaller scale energy efficiency projects through third parties and financiers aggregating these transactions.
Following the merger of Low Carbon Australia Limited(LCAL) and the CEFC, LCAL’s energy efficiency programs are being continued and successful financing models scaled up by the CEFC.
For more information see the CEFC website.
Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) is a national program designed to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings. Most sellers or lessors of office space of 2,000 square metres or more are required to obtain and disclose a current Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010.
A BEEC is comprised of a NABERS Energy star rating for the building, an assessment of tenancy lighting in the area of the building that is being sold or leased and general energy efficiency guidance. BEECs are valid for 12 months and must be publicly accessible on the online Building Energy Efficiency Register. There are also certain exceptions and exemptions.
Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO)
Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) aims to reduce the energy consumption of Australian Government operations with particular emphasis on building energy efficiency. The program is mandatory for Australian Government agencies and incorporates energy intensity targets, annual reporting and green lease requirements into new office lease arrangements.
For more information on the program see the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations page on the Department on Industry website.
Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO)
The government closed the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program, with effect from 29 June 2014.
Since it commenced in 2006, the EEO program successfully raised Australian industry’s awareness of the savings achievable through energy efficiency activities.
The Single Business Service at business.gov.au provides a national network of business advisors and business improvement services to small and medium businesses across the manufacturing, clean technology, resources, defence, tourism and creative sectors. It offers comprehensive advice and support to eligible small and medium-sized enterprises to help them transform and reach their full potential.
The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme (EIP) is the Australian Government’s flagship initiative for business competitiveness and productivity at the firm level. With a national network of more than 100 experienced private sector advisers, the programme offers support through three elements:
- business management – providing support for business improvement and growth
- research connections – helping small and medium businesses to collaborate with the research sector to develop new ideas with commercial potential
- accelerating commercialisation – helping entrepreneurs, researchers, start-ups and businesses address key challenges in the commercialisation pathway of bringing novel products, processes and service to the market.
More information on the EIP is available through the Department of Industry’s Single Business Service, or call 13 28 46.
The core elements of the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program include Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and the Energy Rating Label for regulated equipment and appliances. The program is managed by the Department of Industry, with Australian state/territory governments and the New Zealand Government, and is mandatory for retailers and importers of regulated equipment and appliances.
For more information on the program and products it covers, see the Energy Rating website.
Manufacturing Transition Programme
The $50 million Manufacturing Transition Programme provides grants to help manufacturing businesses become more competitive and sustainable. The Programme supports capital investment projects that help businesses:
- move or expand into higher value or niche manufacturing activities
- build skills in higher value and knowledge intensive activities in new or growing markets.
Applications for Round 1 opened on 1 September 2014 and closed at 11.59pm AEST on Friday 24 October 2014. If you would like to be notified of programme updates, you can register on the Manufacturing Transition Programme website.
NABERS is a performance-based rating system for buildings and uses a star system to rate a building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment. The NABERS system now extends to 6 stars and is a simple indication of how well a commercial building manages the environmental impact of the resources used, compared with similar buildings.
NABERS is a national program managed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. For more information on the program, including assessment requirements and accredited assessors see the NABERS website.
NGER is the national mechanism for businesses to report greenhouse gas emissions, energy production, energy consumption and other information specified under NGER legislation. NGER is mandatory for companies which meet the NGER threshold, which as a guide includes those emitting more than 25 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or consuming more than 25 000 megawatts of electricity or 2.5 million litres of fuel in a year.
The Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive is a targeted, generous and easy to access entitlement program that helps businesses offset some of the costs of doing R&D. The program aims to help more businesses do R&D and innovate. It is a broad-based entitlement program. This means that it is open to firms of all sizes in all sectors who are conducting eligible R&D.
The Energy Saver Program offers subsidised energy audits to small to medium sized NSW businesses. Opportunities identified through the audits may be eligible to generate tradeable certificates under the NSW Energy Savings Scheme. Audits can also be used to generate a NABERS rating in relevant businesses. The program also provides subsidised specialist audits for different types of technology and equipment such as lighting, industrial refrigeration and HVAC, to facilitate adoption of cost-effective, commercially proven energy efficient technologies.
For more information on the program see the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.
Environmental Upgrade Agreements
The financing of sustainability improvements to many existing buildings in New South Wales has been made easier with Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs). Under the agreement, owners of non-strata commercial and light industrial buildings can access funds from a finance provider for energy, water and other environmental improvements.
For more information on EUAs see the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage website.
Sustainability Advantage is an initiative to help businesses identify and implement environmental improvement projects that will reduce risk, lower costs and improve productivity. The program brings together groups of businesses into clusters that share regional, industry or supply chain interests. Cluster meetings are held 3−4 times a year and provide an opportunity to draw on the ideas and experiences of like minded organisations. The program’s initial management diagnostic helps participants evaluate their current environmental performance and rank areas of priority.
For more information on the program see the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.
Queensland’s Department of Energy and Water Supply website offers advice and information for building owners and local government on Low Emission Generation of renewables including photovoltaic installations, co-generation projects, wind-turbines and other technologies.
The ecoBiz program supports Queensland companies to measure current energy, water and waste use, identify opportunities, and plan and implement efficient business practices. ecoBiz is run by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.
Watt Savers aims to assist small to medium enterprise and community organisations in South East Queensland to save money and greenhouse emissions. The program includes fact sheets, telephone advisory services, workshops and information on accessing finance and funding options.
The Business Sustainability Alliance (BSA) Energy Efficiency program is funded by the South Australian Government to provide energy audits for small to medium businesses. Participating companies obtain an energy audit report with advice on capturing and analysing data as well as cost benefit analysis and a strategic action plan. Successful applicants receive 75% of the costs of their energy assessments, up to $10,000 (excluding GST). Please note applications for Round 4 funding closed on January 31 and Innovate SA concludes as an entity on June 30, 2012.
For more information see the Innovate SA website.
The Resource Efficiency Assistance Program (REAP) supports South Australian companies to measure their energy, water and waste usage. It is set up to tailor specific programs for each company to help them develop long term resource efficiency mechanisms. Available tools include business diagnostics, benchmarking, strategic planning and staff training. REAP is part of Zero Waste SA which subsidises waste audits and development of resource management plans to a maximum of $25,000.
This program is part of the Adelaide Solar City project and is designed to assist small-medium and large companies, as well as business tenants and organisations, to cut power consumption, increase profitability and reduce the production of greenhouse gases. It includes an energy audit and assistance to develop and implement an action plan.
For more information see the Adelaide Solar City website.
The Tasmanian Government is not currently running any specific industrial energy efficiency-related programs however to speak to a relevant government representative contact Resources and Energy Sectors and Trade, Department of State Growth on email@example.com or call 03 6165 5239.
Through the 1200 Buildings Program, the City of Melbourne is seeking to catalyse the environmental retrofit of 1200 non-residential buildings, which represent 70% of the commercial building stock within the municipality.
The program is managed through a strategic partnership between the City of Melbourne and the Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF) which offers environmental upgrade agreements to eligible building owners.
For more information visit the 1200 Buildings Program website
Grow Me The Money is a 12-step online program designed to help small to medium sized businesses become more sustainable and save money. Grow Me The Money provides businesses with the tools, resources and support to use less energy and water, create less waste and save money and is partnership between Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) and the Victorian Government.
The Smarter Resources, Smarter Business – Energy and Materials program provides funding and support for small to medium sized businesses to improve their energy and materials efficiency and boost productivity, through identifying cost saving opportunities, implementing projects and building business capability.
View details of the current Building Business Capability program which provides training, advice and on-site support to help small to medium sized businesses to understand, plan and implement energy and materials efficiency. Most services are provided at low or no cost to eligible businesses.
For more information see the Smarter Resources, Smarter Business website.
This ‘tradeable certificate’ scheme is aimed at increasing consumer energy efficiency, reducing emissions and promoting investment, employment and innovation in energy efficiency industries. Accredited installers offer householders and businesses around 30 prescribed energy efficiency activities designed to reduce their energy use. The installers can convert these to Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEEC). The VEECs are typically sold to large energy retailers in Victoria which are required by law to surrender a certain number each year.
For more information see the VEET scheme website.
(also see Mandatory Obligation Schemes)
CleanRun is a Western Australian government program aimed at improving air quality in Western Australia by reducing vehicle emissions. It is focused on heavy vehicles and fleet vehicles and includes an EcoDrive program for Transport companies to help them train their drivers to use safer, smarter driving techniques that maximise fuel economy by operating the engine as efficiently as possible.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program aims to assist small businesses in the ACT to reduce energy and water use, while lowering operating costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The program offers a subsidised energy and water assessment conducted by a qualified assessor which will result in a tailored energy and water action report for the business. Businesses can claim 50% of costs of upgrades recommended in the report, up to a maximum of $5,000.
For more information on the program see the ACTSmart website.
For more information on the ACT Government’s energy efficiency policy and programs contact the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 13 22 81.
ecoBiz NT is a program for small to medium businesses in the Northern Territory to assist them to address energy and water use, materials management and consumption. It is based upon a six-step process which includes an audit of resource usage and an assessment of relevant efficiency measures with the ultimate aim of reducing business costs and improving efficiency.