Planning for energy savings

What goes in a plan

An office tenant’s plan is usually split into what the business will do in the general areas of measurement (to find the baseline), technology, (e.g. equipment, lights), behaviours (switch-off campaigns) and issues with the building itself (via the landlord).

Setting priorities

The planning stage is the time to identify all options for efficiencies and select the sequence and investment needs. There is no fixed approach for this and there are a range of tools and expert advice to help you plan. Lighting and equipment audits can be early steps in an Energy Action Plan, and their results will them inform activities for implementation.

Some CitySwitch signatories choose to begin with zero cost action items such as activating existing energy savings features on lights and appliances and behaviour changes, then track the results of these trials. The savings achieved can then justify investment in equipment from small items like hot water timers to larger upgrades like replacing lighting technology.

The lowest cost actions might not reap the biggest energy or carbon emissions reduction, so calculators and assistance from service providers can help set priority actions and estimate rates of return on investment.

There is a growing use of a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MAC Curve or MACC) brought to popular attention by McKinsey & Company for planning for greenhouse gas reduction projects. The curve shows both the cost of saving carbon and also the size of the potential saving from that source. In Australia, they are used at a policy level, showing costs per tonne of CO2 reduction for society at large or directly to the investor. They can be useful to individual businesses to analyse a range of options, from retrofits through to installing solar power from a greenhouse gas perspective.

Keeping a plan up to date

Plans should be reviewed quarterly and refreshed at least once a year. Project successes should be communicated to stakeholders, including staff who are the ones making the changes.

Scale of a plan

The scale and complexity of your Action Plan will be appropriate to the business size. Some of the smaller tenancies found that the biggest impacts to their efficiency would require refits to the base building, and their CitySwitch commitment became an impetus to move at the end of the lease agreement. Others made investments in technology such as flat-screen computers or sensor lights. A number of case studies explain how signatories used planning to select their efficiency priorities.


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and other forms of assistance are listed as related resources, below.


Related resources

Greening your Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Greening your Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can account for up to 65% of an office's energy use. Get an introduction to greening your office ICT including practical actions and start the conversation with your ICT department to find out how your organisation can work together to achieve greater energy and cost savings.

Fifth Estate ebook - Green ICT

Fifth Estate ebook - Green ICT

How much energy are your computers and office equipment using? What effect does all that equipment have on your office cooling bill? What’s happening to all your old equipment? And how green are the data centres your business depends upon?

This free Green ICT ebook aims to help clear up some of these questions and provide some simple solutions to make sure your ICT is running as efficiently as possible.

CitySwitch Energy Audit Toolkits

This Energy Audit Toolkit set has been developed to assist non-technical or semi-technical energy managers in small to medium organisations identify actions to improve energy efficiency through the use of a simple but detailed audit checklist and develop plans for implementing energy efficiency actions.

Energy Star

The ENERGY STAR is a voluntary label that indicates excellent energy performance for computers, monitors, printers and whitegoods. Products with the label are third-party certified based on laboratory testing.

Top tips for working paper free

Hear from one City of Sydney green champion about how she approached the challenge of going paper-free in the office including useful apps and other resources.

Energy efficiency certification scheme

This certification scheme offered by the Energy Efficiency Council certifies professionals that can lead comprehensive energy retrofits of commercial buildings. Certification helps building owners and managers find professionals they can trust and provides a benchmark for energy efficiency professionals.

Computer Audit Tool

A simple Computer Energy Management tool, developed by CitySwitch. Click to download a Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet that makes it easy to calculate the greenhouse and financial impact of computers left on overnight.

Data centre energy audit subsidies

The NSW Energy Saver program is offering eligible businesses a 50% subsidy for Data Centre Energy audits when combined with a NABERS Data Centre rating to help businesses identify opportunities for improvement and cost savings.

Allocating Data Center Energy Costs and Carbon to IT Users

An overview of measuring energy cost and allocate carbon emissions by Schneider Electric. It is both easy and inexpensive for any data center to get started regardless of size or age.


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