MEFL worked with the Centroc group of councils in central NSW on the Council-led Energy Innovation Project. The project developed a process to scope out and assess a range of renewable energy projects identified by the councils in the region. We assisted in the preliminary development of a proposal for a local renewable energy project with potential funding partners.
One of the most common arguments against renewable energy (particularly solar) is its inability to provide base load generation. Here Comes the Sun sought to address this issue by investigating the viability of microgrids. This means that small communities can install solar arrays with excess generating capacity and store any excess generation in batteries. The stored electricity can be used when the community’s solar arrays are not generating enough energy to meet its needs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This plan develops both a long term strategy for the council to reduce the emissions intensity of its corporate assets and operational processes to ensure it meets its goals.
Shepparton Council is very progressive, with a great array of talented staff. Like other regional councils, Shepparton faces special challenges in becoming carbon neutral. We are confident that the Energy Reduction Plan will enable Shepparton to take a leadership role in addressing these challenges.
MEFL has undertaken a solar modelling project for the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) which examines the impact of various development scenarios on shading of solar systems.
The modelling and subsequent report provides analysis on both the annual generation loss and environmental impact as well as loss of financial return on investment of the various development scenarios and utilises the PV assist modelling system to depict a range of electrical configurations and incorporating a wide range of influencing factors such as time of use tariffs and varying energy consumption profiles.