Apartment Block Solar PV systems and energy efficiency opportunities

Efficient Initiatives was invited to speak, together with Miriam Robinson, with Beyond Zero Emissions in their weekly technical radio show on 3CR about our energy efficiency and solar PV implementation on a 92 apartment block in North Fitzroy.

We described highlights of the energy efficiency and PV projects for the common areas at the North Fitzroy apartment block, as well as talking about the way forward to implement a shared solar PV system across apartments, using technology from our friends at Allume Energy.

Solar School Systems Inspections and Maintenance

There are lots of solar PV systems installed across Australia now – more than 1.5 million installations, with total capacity of more than 4.5GW (Aug 2015).  But how many of these are producing what they should be?  How many have hot spots in their cabling? How many have water damaged isolators?  How many have cables nearly chewed through by possums?

If you don’t know whether your school’s solar PV system is safe, if you don’t know whether it’s producing what it should be … now is the time to investigate.  A good inspection will involve:

  • A licensed electrician
  • A thermographic inspection – to look for hot spots in the cabling and connections
  • An on roof inspection – safely!
  • A review of your production vs what the system should have produced

In the first instance, contact your school’s system’s installer to arrange an inspection – or a specialist solar PV inspector and maintainer such as Efficient Initiatives.  Our Solar School Services team know solar in schools and will have your system inspected, cleaned, repaired if necessary in no time – and will help you with educational outcomes at the same time – so that you can maximise the benefits of your system not worry about things going wrong.

Energy Efficiency and Generation at Home – EI talks

Efficient Initiatives has considerable experience in home energy efficiency and generation projects and from time to time we give public talks about how to reduce your home energy use and improve thermal comfort.

A recent presentation, at Sophia Mundi Steiner School at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, was subtitled “What can your family do to reduce impacts on the planet, reduce your costs and improve your quality of life”.

This talk included:

  • Why reduce energy consumption at home
  • Process that we follow and recommend
  • Specifics around things like:
    • Insulation and glazing
    • Heat pumps
    • Electricity vs gas
    • Solar generation and storage
    • How to time consumption to match your solar PV (photo voltaic) production – to minimise your need for grid power or battery storage

We were delighted at the recent presentation to speak alongside representatives of Ceres – about electronic waste management, and BZE – about the urgent need for climate action.

See Energy Efficiency at Home for two helpful sheets on the process for home energy efficiency (questions to ask) and detail about some of the products and actions we recommend.



Client Change and Client Comfort – a Perfect Storm for Aged Care?

Efficient Initiatives was invited to speak at a recent Aged Care conference in Adelaide, Australia, regarding the impact of climate change on aged care facilities, residents and staff – and what should be done about this.

Our presentation – to approximately 120 representatives of LASA – was very well received and has resulted in immediate follow up work with aged care facilities.

Highlights of the presentation included:

  • Increasing extreme weather events combined with increasing resident and family expectations – for example expectations of air conditioning – as well as energy cost rises, are leading to strain on residents, staff and budgets
  • There are a number of technological part solutions to this problem – which may look simple on the surface but which can be pretty confusing to managers more used to dealing with complexity of aged care clients than with insulation and solar PV.
  • A strategic approach to energy efficiency and generation
  • A case study on a large Victorian facility
  • The “perfect storm” can be more of an opportunity than a problem.

IEA study shows the multiple benefits of Energy Efficiency

A report recently published by the IEA (International Energy Agency) and described and linked here explains why and how to capture the multiple benefits from energy efficiency projects: not just energy cost reduction.   The report has also been well covered by Giles Parkinson at Renew Economy.

The report suggests that energy efficiency or “Negawatts” is already the most significant “fuel” – that the reduction in fuel usage in 2010 due to prior energy efficiency investments was bigger than any single fuel source in IEA member countries.

The report emphasises what we’re doing at Efficient Initiatives: reducing energy consumption while improving business outcomes.

  • Reducing operating costs, enabling investment in other areas
  • Making indoor environments healthier – warmer in winter and cooler in summer
  • Boosting productivity
  • Refreshing ageing infrastructure

The multiple benefits are shown nicely in the image below from the IEA.

IEA multiple benefits from energy efficiency


The report shows that for industries, when the values of the improved productivity and operational benefits are added to the investment return calculations, payback periods dropped from 4.2 years – already good- to 1.9 years.