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Making it easy for businesses to go green

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As part of our work to help Moreland get on track for zero carbon emissions by 2025 MEFL’s Zero Carbon Evolution team have been working with Moreland City Council to make it possible for businesses (both building owners and tenants) to install solar at no upfront cost.

In September Moreland City Council approved a key tool – Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs). These are a council-based funding mechanism that has been developed to enable businesses to borrow money at lower interest rates for upgrades that improve the environmental performance of the building.

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A healthier and more energy-efficient housing stock

heatwaveWe know that improving the standard of our housing is required to meet the demands of a tougher climate. MEFL has been very active in this space recently. We’ve taken on key roles in a suite of projects which are attempting to aggregate the benefits of improvement to our housing stock to improve the business case for investment. And of course we hosted a workshop at the Spark conference on just this topic. The increased focus on improving comfort and health outcomes (such as reduced hospital admissions from less exposure to weather extremes) further builds a compelling case for action especially when aggregated with the energy savings to the households and the greenhouse gas emission savings (traditional MEFL core business). Our recent work has included:

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Sign up for a free home energy efficiency score AND the chance to win energy efficiency measures up to $1,500 for your home

Would you like to know more about the energy efficiency of your home, and how you could improve it?

Positive Charge is looking for households to take part in a home energy efficiency trial during August and early September.

On behalf of the Moreland energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL) Positive Charge is conducting a second round of trial testing of the Residential Efficiency Scorecard.

The Residential Efficiency Scorecard system is being developed by the Victorian Government to help Victorians better understand the energy performance of their homes, make informed choices about improving the quality of their living environment, while saving money on their gas and electricity bills.

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Election issues

The federal Election is in a few weeks so we thought we’d have a look at the policies (if any) that the major parties have in place regarding climate change.

The Coalition on climate change

The 2016 Budget provides no vision to transition away from coal to the renewable economy of the future. Emphasised by the refusal of a price on carbon and the announcement last week that, more than half a billion dollars has been spent on planting trees under the Turnbull governments Direct Action Plan, while nothing has been done to tighten the relaxed laws on land clearing in NSW and QLD. The Sydney Morning Herald discusses how this policy is illogical and unable to achieve desired emissions reduction while safeguarding the big polluters.

The budget will see fuel tax credits cost Australians almost $26.5 billion over the next four years as they pay 40 cents in tax on every litre of fuel they buy while some of the world’s largest mining companies will not pay tax on the fuel they use, says the CEO of Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Kelly O’Shanassy in an interview with VICE.

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How Does Your Home Rate?

Victorian householders now have the opportunity to understand the thermal performance of their home and the efficiency of their major electrical appliances, as well as where their energy is being used.

The Victorian Government has developed Australia’s first home energy efficiency rating tool, known as The Residential Efficiency Scorecard, which has been specifically designed to help Victorians save on their power bills, and improve the comfort of their homes.

How it works

The Scorecard is a cloud-based web app used on a tablet, such as an iPad, which gives households a star rating out of ten for their home’s energy costs. The higher the star rating, the more energy efficient a home is and the lower the energy costs.

Expert assessors use the Scorecard to enter information about the fixed features of a home such as heaters, air conditioners, hot water systems, wall and floor materials, insulation, windows and solar power systems. They can then generate an overall Energy Efficiency Star Rating and certificate on the spot.

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Making Energy Visible

 For low-income households, managing energy costs can be critical to avoiding severe financial hardship. In-home display units that show energy usage in detail can help these households improve their energy efficiency and lower their costs, according to new report from the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS).
The report is titled Making Energy Visible: Using smart meters and in-home display units to improve energy efficiency for people facing disadvantage.

Background

The report makes the following points about the current situation for low-income households:

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Supporting business

The independent experts at Positive Charge can help you save energy and money: that’s the message our team has recently been taking to Moreland businesses. We’ve already assisted many local businesses identify simple ways to save. Popular energy saving initiatives for Moreland businesses have included: switching off unused equipment and appliances; upgrading to efficient LED lighting; adjusting heating and cooling temperature set-points; maintaining/servicing equipment; and solar.

It’s never too late

Businesses want to save money on energy costs but are typically time-poor and don’t have time to look at their energy usage – electricity and gas – in detail. We’ve found that it’s easy to forget the benefits of lowering your energy bills, until the next bill arrives. It’s good to know that it’s never too late to start saving and that Positive Charge can help your business do just that.

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Projects /

Merri Community Health Services

MEFL played a key role in the delivery of Merri Community Health Services CEEP grant through being their technical advisors throughout the project. The CEEP grant (Community Energy Efficiency Program, delivered by the federal Department of Primary Industries) facilitated the installation of a new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system, new ducting and new lighting infrastructure.

Results

The project was delivered in conjunction with some building envelope modifications, and overall resulted in a dramatic improvement in the energy efficiency to the site (almost 30% reduction in energy consumption) in addition to improved comfort for staff and patients. The overall figures show a $5,878 reduction in energy costs, with a 16,219 kWh/year in energy savings for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and 14,080 kWh/year in savings on lighting.

MEFL’s role

We liaised between all of the stakeholders including architects, installers and MCHS staff to ensure that the energy efficiency and occupant amenity delivered through the project was as high as possible. MEFL also delivered a range of engagements to improve awareness and understanding of the impacts of the upgrade and sustainability in general, through workshops, briefing sessions and documentation such as pamphlets and website content.

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Carbon price package – The basics

So, after all the waiting, we now have the carbon price package laid out before us. In short, MEFL believes that the policy is an excellent start to reducing Australia’s emissions, and to transforming Australia’s economy to take advantage of clean energy opportunities. See ourmedia release for our full response.

Over the next few weeks, we will post updates on this blog, with detailed analysis of each element of the package. But for starters, here’s a quick rundown of the basics.

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