A new guide released by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Property Council of Australia is helping property owners to immediately reduce energy costs and emissions.

The comprehensive guide, Distributed energy in the property sector – today’s opportunities, analyses the nine most common distributed energy options for houses, apartments, commercial, retail and industrial property.

It looks at a broad range of proven technologies – from solar PV and batteries to heat pumps, off-site renewables and demand management systems – and indicates which are best suited for different property types. Importantly, it also looks at the business case for investment, giving owners and managers helpful insights into the likely benefits and payback periods.

Examples include a $3 million drop in annual electricity charges for Townsville’s James Cook University following the installation of thermal storage, and an eleven per cent drop in power consumption at Sydney Markets, which boasts Australia’s largest private sector rooftop solar array. An aged care facility is meeting up to half its hot water needs thanks to a solar hot water system, and Monash University in Melbourne is on track to substantially cut its gas consumption thanks to new energy efficient heat pumps.

CEFC CEO, Ian Learmonth, said, “This guide is about taking the hard work out of switching to clean energy solutions right across the property sector. Whether it’s individual homes, apartment developments or commercial, industrial and office buildings, with the right approach it’s possible to immediately cut energy consumption, cut energy costs and cut energy emissions.

“Together with the Property Council, we want to make smarter, cleaner energy the standard when it comes to Australia’s built environment. We’re confident that with more renewable energy and better energy efficiency measures, the property sector can achieve net zero emissions by 2050, with the potential to capture very significant energy savings in the process.”

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, said, “Rising wholesale energy costs and uncertainty regarding policy and market settings has resulted in unprecedented cost pressures for households and businesses.

“Our industry leaders have shown they can deliver rapid improvements in the quality and performance of buildings and have taken action to mitigate against rising electricity prices and reduce emissions by investing in clean energy technology.

“This guide is designed to drive an industry-wide understanding of the opportunity as well as provide practical advice on business case preparation and implementation of clean energy technology for property.”  

Highlights from the guide include:

  1. For homes, all the technologies are in the lowest investment range, up to a maximum $25,000, with upfront costs expected to be recovered in under nine years.
  2. While investment costs for large-scale commercial and retail properties can exceed $100,000, in the case of solar PV the payback period is four years.
  3. The highest upfront investment costs, potentially of more than $500,000, included thermal storage installations for commercial, retail and industrial buildings, which can substantially reduce exposure to peak electricity prices. However, the payback period of 15 years or less complements the relatively long lives of these large-scale scale and complex structures.
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