According to the Australian government, energy use contributes about 78 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that investing in energy efficiency is one of the most direct and cost-effective ways for businesses to improve their energy profile.
The same story
Luke Menzel, CEO at the Energy Efficiency Council says many SMEs – particularly manufacturers like the Bertazzos – find bringing down their energy usage is having additional benefits in terms of resource and process efficiency – “because they're all part of the same story”.
“Energy efficiency is one of the no-brainer measures that has a business benefit as well as an environmental benefit,” he told bluenotes.
Ben McIntyre, a Commercial & Agribusiness Manager at ANZ, says electricity costs, behind labour, are one of the major expenses for any business located in a regional area like the Bertazzos.
“Any way they could minimise or reduce those was obviously key focus for them,” he says.
In September 2017, an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report showed the doubling of wholesale power prices has seen significant increases in the prices offered to commercial and industrial users around Australia.
According to Trudie Bertazzo, Bertazzo Engineered owns machines which operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Before the audit, lacking the capacity to do more work, the company couldn't increase turnover. The owners knew they had to act.
“We could’ve just replaced what we had and be energy efficient,” she told bluenotes. “But we weren't going to really achieve anything.
“We needed to get the two machines. Obviously our consumption of energy would go up so we needed to be more-efficient in the way we did it.”
Raymond Bertazzo said in the three years leading up to the audit the group’s productivity had grown but that had been outstripped by the surge In power costs.
“The reality is… we have welders running all day and lights running all day. The equipment was where we had to find the solution.”
The 2018 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard report in June showed Australia is at the back of the pack when it comes to the energy efficiency story.
Menzel says the position has a lot to do with the fact energy has traditionally been pretty cheap in Australia.
“If you're a business looking at investing scarce time and resources, it's made sense to invest in other areas,” he says.