Urban developments built now and into the future will have a lasting effect on the sustainability of our cities. However competing pressures can make delivery of truly sustainable development difficult to achieve.
During 2010-11, MEFL developed the Sustainable Urban Development Framework (SUDF) to help project managers, urban planners, and developers embed sustainability features throughout development projects.
Thanks to all those who came to our stall on Sunday – we had a fabulous day (as did Sunny the Solar Bear).
Actions and barriers
We put up a poster with lots of energy-saving actions and invited visitors to put a star on the ones they plan to do. It was great to see so many people signing up to take action to help Moreland get on track for its fair share of the carbon budget (see the poster below).
Early in 2014, MEFL completed a project as Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Advisor to Yarra Ranges Council which focused on providing strong impetus in the municipality’s efforts to implement the sustainability elements of the Council and community plan ‘Vision 2020’.
The role included the development of improved sustainability integration processes, particularly in capital works and planning operations, with staff capacity building and training. MEFL provided targeted and specialised advice, training and support across the following areas:
Capital Works Program – developed an ESD plan for nominated capital works projects.
Carbon Management Program – review of Council’s existing Carbon Management Program and Asset Management Systems
Planning Services – investigation of similar planning systems and tools to assist planners evaluate ESD inclusions in development applications
Capacity & Training – delivered training and built capacity of Council staff on the assessment tools and frameworks that help to integrate environmentally sustainable development into capital works projects and planning application and approval processes.
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. MEFL was engaged to tackle this problem, leading a consortium including Design Inc, Ernst and Young, Breathe Architecture and Josh Byrne and Associates.
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.
In collaboration with Net Balance, MEFL undertook an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of possible building upgrades in the residential sectors.
The objective of the report 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.
This study was based on case studies and the output had to be directly usable by the Building Commission in “fact sheet” 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. MEFL 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 units.
The Department of Industry and Science contracted MEFL 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 ongoing study 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 options for a statistically valid, cost effective methodology for undertaking a study. MEFL delivered the project in partnership with Pitt & Sherry.
The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet required a clean energy toolkit that local governments can utilize to develop mid-scale (30kW – 10 MW) clean energy projects. The project – a collaboration between MEFL and Net Balance – developed comprehensive, practical project models that overcome the barriers and assisted in facilitating clean energy projects by local councils.
Renewable Energy Precincts
The toolkit resources and associated reports were used to inform the work of the Renewable Energy Precincts program and utilised by local governments throughout NSW to scope and implement mid-scale clean energy projects. As well as providing the toolkit MEFL has delivered complementary training throughout NSW on how to use the toolkit and what other resources are available.
MEFL is leading a consortium in the development of a business case and blueprint for a Zero Net Energy Town (ZNET) in rural NSW.
The project will determine 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 town of Uralla in NSW which is located inland from Coffs Harbour in the New England region has been chosen from five towns that submitted applications to become the zero net energy town. They won their place based on significant local commitment and a passion for renewables with already widespread solar uptake.
The NSW government will provide $105,000 through the Office of Environment and Heritage to fund the business case and blueprint.
We are very excited to be leading the successful consortium. We’re working with Enhar, Little Sketches, Climateworks, Percepscion and former Net Balance and Deloitte economist Rod Marsh to deliver this landmark project.
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.
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.
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.