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.


Selected resources


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


Related Resources

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.

LED Lighting article

It could be as easy as LED.

Improvements in technology over the last couple of years make complete LED fitouts a cost-effective solution. This article provides useful information and resources for LED lighting upgrades.

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.

Calculite: an online calculator for lighting

The calculite calculator helps businesses make an informed decision about energy efficient lighting for your site. It is an online tool to identify savings, providing upgrade options and generic technical specifications to take to suppliers.
Webinar: cutting through the lighting technology jargon

Webinar: cutting through the lighting technology jargon

Working out where to begin with lighting upgrades can quickly become an overwhelming prospect from choosing products to funding and implementation. This free three-part lighting webinar series helps get the most out of your office lighting retrofit.

Quality Scheme for Solid State Lighting (LED)

A a quality scheme for Solid State Lighting (also known as LED). This is a voluntary industry scheme that provides confidence that a luminaire carrying the Scheme’s label matches certain performance claims made by the supplier. Products are listed in a database on the Australian Lighting Council's website.

CBD Lighting Assessment Guidance

A tenancy lighting assessment is an important component of a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) required under the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program. The guides and forms required are available here. 


Lamp recycling can help reduce the amount of mercury being sent to landfill. FluoroCycle is a voluntary product stewardship scheme that seeks to increase the national recycling rate of waste mercury-containing lamps.

Energy Gov Au: lighting technologies

Energy Gov Au provides a range of information and practical advice on energy saving for households and businesses including a rebate sorter for available assistance from Australian, state and territory governments for energy efficiency improvements.


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