Energy efficiency

All-Electric Household Monitoring and Evaluation

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.

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Easy Energy Efficiency for SMEs

This project focused on the development and delivery of easy-to-implement energy efficiency actions for small and medium businesses (SMEs) across northern metropolitan Melbourne. AEF was funded by the Federal Government’s Energy Efficiency Information Grants (EEIG) program to deliver accessible and useful information on energy efficiency to SMEs in six languages. The project was supported by the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA) local government members.  AEF developed engaging information products (factsheets, case studies and videos) and reached out to four key employment sectors – accommodation, retail, food services and professional/technical services. The information produced was translated into six languages- Arabic, Turkish, Vietnamese, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian and Greek. It was disseminated through AEF’s direct contact with SMEs, economic development units of NAGA local government members and the VECCI’s distribution network. AEF trained Environment Health Officers in local government and community workers within peak agencies in the six language groups to engage

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Coffee Time

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

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Solar and retrofit cost study

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.

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EnergySmart

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.

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Healthy Homes

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

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Cooling Communities

In partnership with Moreland City Council, AEF retrofitted ten social housing properties in Moreland to improve understanding of the actions required to mitigate impacts of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE). The project was funded through DELWP’s Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015. Health issues Global warming is leading to longer, hotter and more frequent heatwaves across Victoria. These conditions are compounded in dense built up areas through the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), which is recognised as a key issue for Moreland. This extreme heat can cause and exacerbate a range of serious health issues. Social housing residents are particularly at risk from heat stress as they are more likely to live in poorly designed or maintained properties and have chronic health conditions. They also may spend more time in their properties than residents renting privately or owner occupiers. Upgrades Upgrade works included improvements to building fabric (insulation, draught proofing

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Six star scoping study

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.

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