News /

Feed-in tariffs review

Currently households with solar panels receive a flat rate of only 5c per kilowatt-hour for electricity they feed in to the grid. The Victorian Essential Services Commission is currently reviewing the feed-in tariff system. The Commission has proposed that feed-in tariffs should reflect the broader economic, environmental and social benefits of solar.


Under the proposed new system, feed-in tariffs would no longer be a fixed flat rate but would vary depending on the time of day (i.e. peak, shoulder, and off-peak periods). Tariffs would include a Critical Peak Payment and a payment for Avoided Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  These changes could add up to a doubling of the feed-in tariff from next year, perhaps even more. Whether or not the proposed new tariff system is adopted next year will be a political decision.

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Projects /

Developer workshops

MEFL worked with the City of Kingston on a series of ten workshops for local developers. The project involved a council-sponsored initial sustainability opportunity assessment by MEFL, working directly with the development team.

The workshops, which took between two and three hours, also acted as an education opportunity for new environmentally sustainable development (ESD) approaches and technology. The methodology was informed by our experience in the management of the roll-out of Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) to councils across Victoria and the development of MEFL’s Sustainable Urban Development Framework which incorporates carbon (energy), water, waste, materials and transport considerations. This project has resulted in significant benefit for City of Kingston and developers.

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News /

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 /

The Commons

The Commons, photo: Andrew Wuttke
The Commons

The Commons is an outstanding sustainable apartment development that used MEFL’s
Sustainable Urban Development Framework  to communicate their approach to sustainability. Situated in Florence Street Brunswick, the development was designed by Breathe Architecture and delivered by developer Small Giants. This project sets a new benchmark in sustainable living. It has won two Victorian Australian Institute of Architects awards for sustainable design and multi-unit housing.

The potential

New houses, commercial buildings and entire neighbourhoods are being designed and built all around Melbourne. MEFL’s work using the Sustainable Urban Development Framework has demonstrated that all projects have the potential to improve their sustainability outcomes. Early consideration and taking a tailored approach based on the project’s unique context can lead to better outcomes that don’t have a huge cost impact – a win for all.

Projects /

Sustainable Urban Development Framework

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.

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News /

Sydney Rd Street Party



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).

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Projects /

ESD Advice to Yarra Ranges Shire

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.


Projects /

North-West Housing Adaptation

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.

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.

Projects /

Residential Sustainability Business Case


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.