This project tested the potential of the all-electric home to improve environmental performance, operating costs and occupant comfort compared to a ‘normal’ gas/electric suburban home. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) constructed 3 pilot all-electric dwellings with 7 star NatHERS ratings. AEF was engaged by DHHS to lead the monitoring, evaluation and reporting. AEF conducted technical testing to verify the 7-star rating of the dwellings and gave advice on the key design features used to attain the rating. We monitored energy usage, temperature and humidity in the dwellings and applied financial modelling to provide a comparison with a gas/electric home. We also worked directly with tenants to gauge their level of satisfaction with comfort levels and all-electric appliances in the home. AEF’s final report showed a positive outcome for the all-electric pilot dwellings and made recommendations for improvements in future developments of this kind.
In this pilot program, AEF worked with Moreland City Council and café owners to make a simple but effective change to the way coffee machines are used. Café owners often leave their coffee machines switched on overnight because the machines take a long time to warm up. Having staff arrive an hour early just to warm up the coffee machine is not cost-effective. The solution was to put the machines on timers so they can be switched on automatically at the right time. Because coffee machines use a lot of power, a simple plug-in timer is not sufficient; we had timers installed in the cafés’ switchboards by an electrician. The trial proved highly successful. The timer installations caused minimal interruption to the cafés’ operations and once set up, the savings were significant; café owners can expect to recoup the cost of the timer within a year. The idea has since
This project examined a range of different retrofit options for the DHHS’s extensive range of public housing. The housing was divided into categories and recommendations were made on the most cost-effective options for each housing type. For example, some housing types gain the most value from draught-sealing, others from solar power systems, others from insulation. The project also made recommendations on how different retrofit measures complement each other, e.g. airconditioning gives the best results in terms of cost-effectiveness and resident comfort if it is paired with draught-sealing. The project considered the various options from a cost-effectiveness and resident comfort point of view. The information AEF provided is now used by DHHS to inform decision-making on housing retrofits.
The Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Port Phillip region appointed AEF to develop a draft Renewable Energy Engagement, Communication, and Action Plan for the Port Phillip region. The Plan aims to enable proactive engagement with the community in supporting the transition to renewable energy. We began by compiling a list of available renewable energy resources in the region, and of government policies that already apply. We then consulted extensively, both internally with DELWP business units and externally with local government, industry peak bodies, peak regional groups, and communities of interest. The consultation focused on addressing knowledge gaps and identifying opportunities for further engagement by DELWP Port Phillip (from informing to collaboration) on initiatives to increase the uptake of renewables. Key project achievements included a draft Action Plan for the DELWP Port Phillip regional office, clearly indicating short-term activities and beyond. The draft Plan identifies specific actions to
AEF worked with electricity distributor Jemena on a pilot demand management program called Power Changer. Power Changer, in partnership with the Victorian Government, was a demand response trial, providing incentives to energy users to reduce their electricity consumption during peak times on very hot days. The trial was an innovative, technology-led, community program enabling customers to cut their bills, reduce energy and ease demand on the grid. AEF’s role AEF used its community engagement experience to support Jemena by recruiting households to take part in this exciting trial. More than 600 customers in the Jemena Electricity Network areas of Alphington, Craigieburn, Eaglemont, Ivanhoe and Ivanhoe East registered for the four month trial which ran from December 2017 to March 2018. Methods Utilising smart meter technology and mobile apps, Jemena provided participants with energy saving tips, challenging them to reduce their electricity usage. Participants in the Community program areas of Alphington,
AEF is working with DHHS to deliver the EnergySmart Public Housing Research Program. AEF is managing the replacement of inefficient electric hot water services and electric heaters and the delivery of tailored thermal upgrades to 1,500 public housing properties. There is a significant focus on regional Victoria. Research Following installation, AEF is undertaking research to better understand how these new installations help with improving tenants’ thermal comfort and reducing energy costs. The research includes on-site technical monitoring, analysis of smart-meter data and user surveys. DHHS has provided in excess of $7 million in funding, which will help Victorian households most in need to reduce their energy costs.
AEF is currently delivering the Victorian Healthy Homes program, which is funded by Sustainability Victoria. The program will help low income households where people are living with chronic health problems. The program will focus on improving the warmth of their home during winter. The study’s research partner, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will then measure whether the improved warmth leads to better health and wellbeing outcomes and reduced energy consumption. Upgrades Upgrades of draught proofing, heating or insulation will be provided to 800 homes in the western suburbs of Melbourne and 200 in the Goulburn Valley region of northern Victoria. AEF is working with delivery partners including Uniting Kildonan to deliver home visits and energy assessment scorecards and to manage the process of installing the new items. Alison Rowe, CEO of the Australian Energy Foundation said, “we are thrilled to be working with Sustainability Victoria on this important project. We’re
The Guide to Community-owned Renewable Energy for Victorians is a resource for community groups that are considering a renewable energy project and those that are already in the process of establishing a project. The guide was commissioned by the Victorian Government and was co-authored by AEF and three other members of the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE); Embark, the Alternative Technology Association and the Community Power Agency. The project was informed by a regional workshop held at Beechworth and attended by many of the stakeholders in the community energy field, including Renewable Albury Wodonga Energy. The guide was released in late 2015 and culminated in ten workshops around the state with over 350 attendees.The guide consolidated existing knowledge and resources and provided links to further information and advice. It provided practical pointers on critical commercial, technical, governance and regulatory aspects of renewable energy projects, including a wealth of useful information
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified a need for increased protection from extreme heat events for its clients in north-west Victoria. AEF was engaged to tackle this problem, leading a consortium including Design Inc, Ernst and Young, Breathe Architecture and Josh Byrne and Associates. New approaches The consortium developed a new suite of dwelling typologies and precinct approaches that will guarantee summer performance for DHHS clients. The consortium also took cost-effectiveness and and durability into account in the selection of sustainable design measures.
AEF was commissioned by the Victorian Building Commission to undertake research to investigate the impact of differing levels of residential thermal performance upon energy, financial and greenhouse gas savings, comfort levels, and construction cost. The main objective was to identify and analyse the benefits and costs associated with energy efficient homes, and different approaches to delivering high performance homes. AEF undertook the research in collaboration with Net Balance. Objective The objective of the research was to determine to what extent (and to what point) energy efficiency investments in residential buildings make good economic sense for the home owner. This is in the context of a “whole-of-life” analysis of the costs and benefits, in a context of the broader issue of housing affordability. Outcomes The final report was based on case studies and was directly usable by the Building Commission in the form of fact sheets and other capacity building material.
This project was undertaken for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in response to a growing demand for cooling devices within dwellings that are owned by the department. AEF used on-ground research to gather further information and data that would assist the DHHS to build upon its existing knowledge-base on upgrading the energy efficiency of department-owned apartments and movable housing units. For many DHHS housing assets the issue of maintaining comfort over summer is becoming of increasing importance. This is due to both the likely increase in frequency and longevity of hot weather conditions as projected by climate change, and the high proportion of DHHS residents that have heightened sensitivity to temperature, such as the elderly and those affected by illnesses. The study was designed to investigate the potential costs and benefits associated with the installation of different cooling technologies and to undertake a comparison between active systems
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science contracted AEF to undertake a scoping study for an evaluation of the benefits and costs resulting from the introduction of the 6-star energy efficiency standard for housing in the Building Code of Australia from 2010. This required us to review the methodology used by CSIRO for evaluating the costs and benefits resulting from the introduction of the 5 star standard and to propose at least one, or alternative options for a statistically valid, cost effective methodology for undertaking a study to evaluate the actual costs and benefits of the 6 star standard. AEF delivered the project in partnership with Pitt & Sherry.
AEF was appointed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to lead a consortium in developing a business case and blueprint for a Zero Net Energy Town (ZNET) in the town of Uralla, in rural NSW. The project determined how best to use local renewable energy resources, energy management and storage technologies to generate at least 100 per cent of the town’s energy needs. The report found that there is a substantial business case for taking small-scale actions which together can achieve a large impact, and set out a two-stage approach to achieve the ZNET goal. AEF worked with Enhar, Little Sketches, Climateworks, Percepscion and former Net Balance and Deloitte economist Rod Marsh to deliver this landmark project.
AEF was engaged by Citta and Australand to deliver a suite of Post Occupancy Studies for a major public and private housing redevelopment in Carlton with key partners the Department of Human Services. The projects were undertaken to understand how successful the developments have been, 12 months into operation, in meeting a range of objectives relating to occupant comfort, building efficiency, resource consumption and environmental sustainability more broadly. Outcomes The studies enabled recommendations to be made to improve operational comfort and sustainability through ongoing behaviour support and building performance modifications. The studies also made recommendations about refining design and technology measures for application to future property developments to improve cost efficiencies and performance outcomes. Study methods The study utilised a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to perform analysis directed to understanding whole-of-building performance as well as developing case studies to document the experience and performance of a number individual
The Electricity Use Impacts of Photovoltaic (PV) Installations Study investigated the impacts of installing a solar PV system on the electricity consumption of Victorian householders. The project gathered data from Victorian households with solar PV and without solar PV and accessed their billing data to ascertain if there were any changes in household electricity consumption. The results from the research, which involved about 3500 households from across Victoria, indicate that there is no statistically significant variation in electricity consumption between households with PV systems installed and those without. Significantly the results also indicate the absence of a ‘rebound effect’ once households have installed solar PV.
AEF managed the delivery of the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund project Delivering Clean Energy Solutions (DCES). The project provided bundled energy products and services to residents across the northern suburbs of Melbourne (The region covered by the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action). Solar panels and solar hot water systems were available through DCES, along with additional lower cost efficiency options throughout the year. Business model The project built on our experience of community bulk buys and resulted in a business model for delivering energy services. It developed a social marketing strategy to facilitate the rapid adoption of clean energy solutions into the mainstream community. DCES emerged from NAGA’s Towards Zero Net Emissions Action Plan and was a partnership with NAGA, Manningham, Darebin, Melbourne and Nillumbik Councils and the Yarra Energy Foundation.
A study by the Australian Energy Foundation for Sustainability Victoria, May 2010. AEF is undertaking a consulting contract with Sustainability Victoria. The research project is gathering information about the energy efficiency of existing Victorian houses. The study so far has given us a better understanding of just how inefficient Melbourne’s older houses are, what needs to be done to improve them, and how much it might cost. Pilot project As a first step, in 2009 Sustainability Victoria contracted AEF to undertake a pilot on-ground assessment project based on 15 existing houses. The houses chosen were typical of many of the homes in Melbourne’s inner north; built between 1900 and 1980, ranging from 75m 175 metres squared – much smaller than the average new home built today, and mainly free-standing weatherboard or brick-veneer. Assessment process The assessment of the houses consisted of the following steps: Measure up of house to generate