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Give a little energy justice this holiday season

I have already shared with you what a big year 2018 was for us here at MEFL. A key theme has been our ongoing pursuit of energy justice – we want to make sure we look after all our neighbours across Australia.

A special project

Therefore, I wanted to share with you a special project that we are particularly proud of and to give you an opportunity to get involved…

The Re4Bre project, based in Brewarrina in northern NSW, is founded on the vision of local elder Uncle Ike. Ike wants “to see all the Indigenous people who live in country areas who struggle with power to have cheap power. It doesn’t have to be a burden to them. Let them live, and enjoy life.”

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Research Data Advisor – position at SV

The Victorian Healthy Homes Program is a first-in-Australia randomised controlled trial design that measures and monetises the health, energy and climate change benefits of improved energy efficiency and warmth in 1000 low-income Victorian Households.

Sustainability Victoria is the lead organisation of the trial and contractual relationships for the two main parts of this program. The Research Data Advisor, sits within Sustainability Victoria’s Sustainable Homes Team, reporting to the Manager, Sustainable Homes and forms part of the Business and Built Environment Group.

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A MEGA year at MEFL

What a MEGA year 2018 has been! At MEFL our focus has been on delivering our major programs, building our organisation and supporting our people. This has seen us smash our impact targets in the areas of renewables installed, emissions reduced and advice provided to households.

We have launched our new Strategic Plan which will guide our future work; we have a bold vision for an equitable zero carbon society. That’s a big task and we are up for it. MEFL’s role is to accelerate the energy transition by empowering communities to take action.

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Solar for Renters

The Solar for Renters pilot project is now largely concluded. There were four successful installs and around 30 tenants and landlords participating in surveys providing rich insight into the barriers and potential pathways to solar installation on rental properties. The pilot enabled rental property owners in Moreland to install solar systems on houses in exchange for slightly higher rental incomes, while tenants benefit from saving more on their energy bills than the cost of the rent increase.

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Regional Action Plan

Regional Action Plan

MEFL has been working on an exciting project that goes to the heart of what we do – empowering communities to take action in the energy transition and ensure no one is left behind.

The Port Phillip Region

The Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Port Phillip region appointed MEFL 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. The DELWP Port Phillip region consists of 31 local government areas and part of Mitchell Shire Council, all within Metropolitan Melbourne.

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MEFL at the Fuzzy Front End

The Fuzzy Front End is the early pipeline of innovation where creative problem-solving approaches are used to navigate through ambiguity and to discover real user needs. It’s the first stage an organisation goes through in developing a new idea, where opportunities are identified and concepts are developed, prior to entering the formal development process for the product or service. MEFL’s CEO Alison Rowe participated in a panel discussion on this topic at the Swinburne University Design Factory in November. Alison’s analogy to explain the Fuzzy Front End was making dinner on a Sunday evening:

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Victorian Solar Homes program

In November the Andrews Labor Government was re-elected. Prior to the election the party had made a number of election commitments relating to getting more solar power, battery storage and solar hot water (including hot water heat pumps) in to Victorian homes. So the re-election and planned implementation of Labor’s Solar Homes program is good news!

Background

Even before the election the Labor government had already launched part one of the Solar Homes program, whereby up to 24,000 homes were eligible to access a rebate for 50% of their solar install cost (up to $2,225). Approximately 14,000 households had already expressed an interest, before heading to the polling booths! This clearly demonstrates that the public are on board with an energy transition and demand is high.

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A simple Christmas

This Christmas story is by MEFL’s Jason Cox (pictured).

Santa looked out across the North Pole with sadness on his face. Seldom was Santa sad but on this occasion he couldn’t hide the disappointment in his eyes.

“What’s wrong Santa” asked Mrs Claus. “You look troubled.” Santa sighed with the weight of more than his generous belly. “I don’t think I want to do Christmas this year.” Mrs Claus was shocked. Christmas was the happiest time of the year and Santa loved it. What could be the problem?

Santa continued, “Climate change is hurting the polar bears. Every year they have less space to live because of the melting ice and I feel responsible. At Christmas everyone buys so much stuff and they drive all over the place to buy things. I can deliver presents all over the world with almost no carbon footprint, just a little reindeer flatulence, but the more they buy the more it hurts the environment. I think the meaning of Christmas has been lost.”

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Staff profile: Daniel Chadwick

I joined MEFL in August 2018 as Project Coordinator in the major projects team. My role is across our two state government funded research programs, the Victorian Healthy Homes Program and EnergySmart Public Housing Project. These projects are delivering energy appliance and thermal upgrades to over two thousand homes across Victoria. My role is focused on delivery of the installations where I work closely with delivery partners and subcontractors to develop and implement our project plans and manage the installations.

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Podcast interview with MEFL’s Lucy Best

MEFL’s Community Engagement Lead Lucy Best was interviewed recently about domestic solar power for the Undercover Architect podcast.

It’s such a big topic they needed 2 episodes to cover it all! Lucy knows the topic inside-out and cuts through the jargon to explain the choices and issues clearly.

Both parts are now available.

…or just click the play buttons below to listen now.

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Portal proves its value

Gippsland’s Energy Innovation Co-op (EICo-op) is one of many local community energy groups around Victoria powering ahead with locally-managed sustainable energy projects. EICo-op is running a range of initiatives in South Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.

The group also collaborated with MEFL and other community groups in the Victorian Community Solar Alliance to create the Community Solar Portal. The value of the Portal has been proven in two of EICo-op’s recent projects, which have used its resources to get up and running.

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MEFL’s international hit videos

Back in 2011 MEFL produced a series of advice videos demonstrating simple home energy-efficiency actions – replacing halogen downlights with LEDs, draught sealing, low-flow shower heads etc. They were made in 8 languages – English, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek and Mandarin. Positive Charge followed up a couple of years later with another series, including videos in Spanish, Cantonese and Macedonian. The videos were well received at the time, but over the years those videos have steadily increased in reach and popularity, with some exceeding all expectations!

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