Reporting on energy savings

Reporting is an essential part of energy savings projects, for recognising the organisation’s achievements and also identifying the next areas of activity. There are a number of ways to report and reward improvement.


Carbon neutral

When you are carbon neutral, the net emissions associated with your organisation or its activities are equal to zero. In Australia, there is a government-backed certification for this claim, done against the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). Going ‘carbon neutral’ is voluntary and gaining certification provides proof of a company’s actions, strengthens its business reputation and positions the products and services as environmentally-friendly choices. 


The International Standard, ISO 14001 specifies requirements for an Environmental Management System (EMS) that form a framework for organisations to design and implement an EMS to suit their own business. Originally used by power stations, treatment works and other resource-intensive organisations, the standard has since been adopted by Councils and government organisations to show how costs and environmental footprint can be reduced. It is a systematic approach that goes beyond compliance with environmental legislation.

CitySwitch awards

The CitySwitch Awards are based on the signatories’ annual reporting submitted as part of their commitment. The awards showcase signatories that have improved, maintained or achieved their NABERS Energy tenancy or whole building rating and have reported significant energy savings.  Purchases of Green Power reported to NABERS are admissible under the CitySwitch program.


Emissions factors for calculating carbon savings from energy savings

An emissions factor represents an amount of equivalent carbon emission relative to an activity which relates to those emissions. At CitySwitch we measure the amount of emission saved by our signatories based on how much electricity they save.

Because electricity is produced through different processes including burning coal, wind turbines and hydro power, the emissions associated with these processes varies from source to source. In Australia emissions factors are calculated by state. This means that all of the different ways in which electricity is produced in a particular state are aggregated to produce a single emissions factor for that state. Those states with more wind power for example will have a lower aggregate emissions factor than those states that burn more coal.

The table below shows the emissions factors that should be used for 2014/15 financial year reporting to calculate the emissions saved from electricity savings made. These factors are updated every year based on the energy mix in our system.

To calculate emissions saved by saving electricity use this method:

kWh Saved X Emissions Factor / 1000 = Tonnes of Carbon Emissions Saved

If you have any questions about calculating emissions savings, contact your CitySwitch program manager for more information.

 Table: 2015/16 Emissions Factor  Scope 2&3 (kgCO2-e/kWh)  by State



2016/17 Emissions Factor

 Scope 2&3 (kgCO2-e/kWh)







South Australia


Western Australia




Northern Territory
























































Sustainability reporting





















































The international standard for reporting on sustainability or ‘triple bottom line’ is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Their guidelines have been developed with global stakeholder input to represent all the factors making up ‘sustainability’ – from carbon emissions to human rights, water, resource use, and supply chain management.

For small-to-medium enterprises in Australia, the Good Business Register provides a free and easy way to report on their responsible and sustainable business practices and share their journey with others. Businesses joining the register create their own responsible business and sustainability report under five major principles mapped to the GRI guidelines. They are also listed on the Good Business Directory.

Australian government schemes

The Australian national and state governments have a number of initiatives to encourage government tenants and private enterprise to measure and report on their emissions.


  • Business SA provides assistance to South Australian businesses for energy efficiency and a green accreditation scheme that takes participants through three levels to reach ISO 14001 accreditation.
  • The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage provides a single point of business support through the Energy Saver, including assistance with auditing, technical support and training.  
  • Sustainability Victoria’s Business Program provides information, tools and assistance and recognition program for businesses to use materials and resources more efficiently.
  • Queensland’s ecobiz program provides free training, information and a way to recognise achievements.
  • Some programs to support businesses in audits and reporting are tied to grants as well.
  • Nationally, the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations Policy establishes energy efficiency targets for Government agency office buildings, including those relating to tenant use.


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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. 


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