Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Who does the Scheme certify?

The scheme certifies individuals with the knowledge and capabilities to oversee and co-ordinate an entire Integrated Building Energy Retrofit (IBER) project.

What are the levels of certification?

There are two levels of certification - Certified Energy Efficiency Specialist and Certified Energy Efficiency Leader. For more information, click here.

Who can become certified?

Anyone that meets the required level of knowledge and capability and fulfills the other requirements set out in the Scheme Rules can become certified.

Do I need to be a member of the EEC to be certified?

No.

Which level of certification should I apply for?

A Certified Energy Efficiency Specialist (CEES) is an individual that has worked as part of project teams implementing commercial building retrofits, and has developed a good level of knowledge and experience in project delivery. A CEES may be a professional with an intermediate level of knowledge experience that is gaining further experience. Alternatively, a CEES may be an expert in certain stages of project delivery who is not yet an expert in all stages.

Certified Energy Efficiency Leaders (CEELs) are individuals that have significant knowledge and experience across all stages of project delivery.

Candidates that apply for certification as a Certified Energy Efficiency Leader may be awarded CEES certification if they do not meet the requirements for CEEL.

For more information, see the Guide for Candidates.

What if I just miss out on certification?

The Scheme Rules give the Assessment Panel some flexibility in awarding conditional certification to individuals that need to acquire a discrete amount of additional knowledge or experience prior to being awarded full certification. Conditional certification is subject to review within a short period (generally no more than three months).

There is also a probationary CEES registration that may be awarded in certain circumstances.

For more information, see the Guide for Candidates.

Is there an entry level registration for people entering the industry?

An affiliate registration is slated to launch in 2015. This registration will allow individuals with limited experience in project delivery to join the community of professionals associated with the Scheme.

How much does it cost to become certified?

Fees for certification applications are set out here.

What are the ongoing fees?

Ongoing fees for certified professionals are set out here.

How are fees set?

Fees are set by the EEC Board. Fees for certification and re-certification reflect the cost associated with engaging senior industry professionals to undertake detailed application reviews and interviews.

Ongoing fees contribute to the costs of running the Scheme. Ongoing fees have been reduced via a subsidy from the Energy Efficiency Council to maintain costs at a reasonable level for certified professionals.

How can individuals develop the skills to become certified?

The Scheme provides a clear benchmark for the skills and knowledge necessary to oversee and co-ordinate an IBER project. In most cases individuals will work with their employer to develop the knowledge and experience necessary to be eligible for certification.

The development of foundation training that directly addresses the areas of assessment is currently under consideration.

How does the Scheme ensure that assessments are independent?

To ensure impartiality and transparency, members of an independent Assessment Panel conduct assessments. The Assessment Panel is made up of senior industry professionals from across the industry with direct and current experience in project delivery.

Under the Scheme Rules, assessors are required to declare any clear and identifiable conflicts of interest related to the assessment of certified professionals. In addition, all assessment decisions are reviewed by two other Assessment Panel members prior to being finalised.

Candidates also have the right to veto the first choice of assessor. For more information, see the Guide for Candidates.

How does the Scheme ensure that assessments are confidential?

Members of the Assessment Panel, Steering Committee, the Ombudsperson and Scheme staff are required to sign a strict confidentiality undertaking preventing them from utilising or disclosing confidential information related to their duties. 

How does the Scheme ensure assessments are consistent?

A confidential evidence guide has been developed by the Assessment Panel that defines the appropriate level of skills and knowledge for each certification level. Each assessment is also reviewed by two other members of the Assessment Panel to ensure consistency between assessors.

What doesn't the Scheme cover?

There are many other roles in the scoping and delivery of commercial building retrofits, some of which have established certifications in place. There are also other models for the delivery of commercial building retrofits.

The Scheme does not seek to certify other roles in the retrofit industry, or affect other delivery models for commercial building retrofits. The Scheme sets and maintains standards for the individuals charged with ensuring that IBER projects are effectively delivered, and complement other standards and certifications that are already in place.

Does the Scheme cover companies?

The EEC has previously consulted on the option of creating a companion scheme for energy service companies alongside the certification for individuals. The Scheme Steering Committee will be considering potential models for a company registration or accreditation in 2015.

What are my options for upgrading my building?

There are three main ways to upgrade the energy performance of your building - there's bound to be one that suits your objectives and budget.

Energy Tune Up

Over time, buildings become less efficient, using more energy than necessary to and meet heating and lighting requirements and keep tenants comfortable. A building tune up applies simple, effective strategies to tweak the building's energy-using systems to reduce energy use while maintaining or improving comfort and then sustaining this new 'optimised' state through real-time performance monitoring, targeting and reporting.

Targeted Energy Retrofit

Retrofitting a building means making changes to the systems or structure at some point after its initial construction and occupation. Retrofitting is often undertaken with the primary objective of improving comfort for the building's occupants. But you can also improve the performance of the building in areas like energy and water use and indoor air quality at the same time. This type of retrofit targets energy efficiency opportunities in one or two of the building's energy-using systems, such as lighting or air-conditioning, at a time.

Integrated Building Energy Retrofit (IBER)

An IBER approaches a building as an integrated system, and looks to upgrade its energy performance in a comprehensive way. An IBER can achieve significantly higher levels of energy and cost savings in a shorter period of time than a targeted retrofit by best managing the interactions between the different energy-using processes and activities.

How much does an IBER cost?

An Integrated Building Energy Retrofit ('IBER') will realise the best energy efficiency and energy cost savings outcome for your building.

In addition, measures taken during an IBER will improve a range of other building performance factors, which in turn, create value for the occupant, tenant enterprise, and owner.

VALUE

HOW?

Reduction in cost

  • Lower maintenance cost

  • Lower health cost (absenteeism, health care)
  • Lower employee recruiting and churn costs

Revenue growth

  • Higher occupancy rates

  • Higher rents

  • Increased employee productivity
  • Improved marketing & sales

Improved reputation and leadership

  • Recruiting best employees or tenants
  • Employee or tenant satisfaction and retention
  • Public relations/brand management

  • Retain "social license" to operate

Compliance with internal and external policies/ initiatives

  • Meet needs of Global Reporting Initiative, Corporate Social Responsibility, Carbon Disclosure Project

  • Meet responsible investment fund requirements

  • Meet growing Securities and Exchange Commission regulations

Reduced risk to future earnings

  • Reduced risk from energy disclosure mandates

  • Limit exposure to energy/water price volatility

  • Overall reduced potential loss of value due to functional obsolescence

  • Reduced legal risks-sick building syndrome and mould claims, etc

 

The scale of the IBER, financing approaches and value of the IBER all need to be considered in determining the costs and benefits.

Your certified energy efficiency professional can guide you.

When should I Consider An Integrated Building Energy Retrofit?

The incremental cost of pursuing an IBER is significantly reduced if you were already planning to spend money on capital improvements, which buildings always require anyway.

SITUATION

OPPORTUNITY

HVAC, lighting or other major equipment replacement

Major equipment fails over time, and the need for replacement provides an ideal opportunity to address and other building systems and potentially the building envelope as part of an IBER. After reducing thermal and electrical loads, the marginal cost of replacing the major equipment with much smaller equipment (or no equipment at all) can be negative.

Market repositioning, modernisation or change of use

Repositioning an existing building requires significant capital expense, and the cost of an IBER is often small in comparison.  However significantly improved performance can form a key part of communications around the building's repositioning , broadening the potential market for buyers and tenants.

Roof, window or other major envelope replacement

Planned roof, window and other major envelope replacements provide opportunities for significant improvements in daylighting and efficiency at minor incremental cost. This can open the way for an IBER; by reducing energy loads the cost of replacing major equipment such as HVAC and lighting can go down significantly.

Upgrades to meet code

Changing building codes and other standards my require upgrades resulting in substantial disruption and cost, enough that the incremental investment and effort to radically improve the building efficiency becomes not only feasible but also profitable.

New acquisition or refinancing

A new acquisition, or refinancing an existing asset can support attractively financed building performance upgrades as part of the transaction, which may not have been possible at other times.

Fixing an "energy hog"

There are some buildings with such high energy-use or high energy-prices (perhaps after a major rate increase) that an IBER has compelling economics without leveraging any of the factors above.

Major occupancy change

A tenant moving a significant number of people into a building, or a major turnover in square meterage, presents a prime opportunity for an IBER, for three reasons. First, an IBER can generate interior layouts that improve energy and space efficiency, and can create more leasable space through downsizing mechanical equipment. Second, ownership can leverage tenant investment in the fit-out. Third, tenant disruption can be minimised as the IBER can be undertaken during the changeover period.

Energy management planning

As part of an ongoing energy management plan for a group of buildings, the owner may desire a set of replicable efficiency measures. These measures can be developed from an IBER of an representative building and applied to a larger set of similar buildings.

How do I get the money?

 

There are a range of options available for financing your IBER from self-funding from available capital, to loans, lease arrangement and innovative environmental upgrade and energy services agreements.

 

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage 'Energy Efficiency and Renewables Finance Guide' (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/business/project-financing.htm) will help you understand the different financial options available as well as providing step-by-step guidance in selecting the best finance for your business. Options presented in the guide include:

 

Self funded

Energy efficiency project is financed with own funds from capital budget

Commercial loan

A lender provides capital to a borrower, to be repaid by a certain date, typically at a predetermined interest rate that moves in line with changes in a reference lending rate.

Customer makes regular repayments to lender to cover interest costs. Capital repayments can be bundled with interest payments, or can occur at the end of the loan.

Energy efficiency loan

A loan available only for energy efficiency and renewables projects

Operating lease

The equipment is owned by the financier and the customer obtains the sole right to use it.

The customer pays regular lease payments to financier and pays all maintenance costs.

At the end of the lease, the customer has the option of returning the equipment, making an offer to buy it, or continuing to lease it.

Capital lease

Same as operating lease, except that at the end of the lease, equipment ownership transfers to the customer on payment of an agreed amount .

Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA)

A loan for the environmental upgrade of a building which is repaid through a local council environmental upgrade charge .

On-bill financing

Energy retailer installs equipment. This is repaid through a 'repayment' charge on energy bills. Once all payments are made, title for the equipment transfers to the customer.

Energy services agreement

An ESA provider designs, constructs, owns and operates equipment

Customer pays fees to cover operation and maintenance costs, including energy costs, and to repay capital and implementation cost. The fees are indexed to CPI, labour rates, and to the price of energy. Customer can typically purchase equipment at end of ESA.

An ESA provides the end- to-end delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Finance can be arranged using any of the finance options above, or can be provided by the ESA provider

 

You should seek finance options that meet your preferences and requirements for:

  • the level and type of risk you are comfortable with
  • balance sheet impact

  • asset ownership and your ability to pay the up-front cost. 


Your certified energy efficiency professional is able to explain the different options and incorporate preferred options into the IBER business case.

Won't energy efficiency make the office less comfortable?

No - your building should actually be more comfortable after it has been upgraded.

An Integrated Building Energy Retrofit ('IBER') includes measures that not only increase energy efficiency but also improve other factors of tenant satisfaction and retention including:

  • thermal comfort
  • active occupant environmental control
  • indoor air quality
  • visual comfort
  • green building rating or score
  • views to the outdoors
  • space efficiency space flexibility

The value of all of these factors can be hard to quantify, but is often key to tenant decision-making. 

Do I have to change my equipment supplier?

Your Certified Energy Efficiency Professional will identify and scope a broad range of potential energy efficiency opportunities utilising a wide range of available technologies. They are your source of independent, reliable advice.

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