The NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) – not just about lighting!

Are you onboard with the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS)? If yes, are you aware that it covers many aspects of energy saving – and it’s not just about replacing your lighting with LEDs?

As a result of the ESS’ Commercial Lighting Energy Savings Formula (CLESF), the supply and uptake of LED products has been so effective that the lighting market in New South Wales is in the advanced stages of transformation.

So LED lighting is becoming business as usual.

As a result, the ESS is now progressively cutting the rewards for efficient lighting and shifting the focus to other technologies. Some of these include but are not limited to: heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, compressed air, pumps, electric motors, boilers etc.

Now is the perfect time to review your other technologies to see if you make any changes to improve their energy efficiency. (If you need any help with this area, feel free to contact us!

What is the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS)?

As you’re probably aware, investing in energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the cost of running your business and improve environmental credentials.

For those unfamiliar with it, the ESS was introduced by the NSW Government in 2009 and is designed to reduce energy use by giving organisations financial incentives to invest in upgrades to save energy. The rewards from participation in the ESS reduces strain on cash-flow, which allows your business to undertake energy efficiency projects and choose more energy efficient equipment.

Businesses can become eligible by undertaking an energy efficiency project known as a ‘Recognised Energy Savings Activity’ (RESA). The reward is equal to one (1) Energy Savings Certificate (ESC) for every Megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy saved as a result of an eligible activity.

The ESS is administered and regulated by IPART, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal who accredits parties to create ESC’s and monitors the compliance and performance of the Liable Parties.

What is the process of applying for it?

As a business, there are two ways to get involved. You can:

Bring your own energy savings projects into the scheme, or
Develop your business in a way that lets you bring other people’s energy savings into the scheme.
Your participation is voluntary. If you would like to participate you will need to work with an Accredited Certificate Provider (ACP) to arrange a lighting or other mechanical upgrade.

If you choose to participate, you need to:

Discuss any particular requirements you have with your ACP and the upgrade solution provider (which may or may not be the ACP).
Discuss the equipment they propose to install and confirm it will meet your needs. The upgraded system will be in place for many years, so it’s important that you’re satisfied with the outcome.
Understand any commitments you are asked to make regarding the upgrade.
Complete the necessary paperwork. At a minimum, you will be asked to sign a Nomination Form to nominate the ACP as the energy saver for the upgrade. You will also be asked to sign a Post Implementation Declaration confirming you are satisfied with the upgrade.

How much does it cost?

You will need to contribute a net amount of at least $5 (excluding GST) for each MWh (megawatt hour) of energy saved towards the cost of the goods and services that make up the upgrade. In-kind payments are not acceptable and the payment cannot be reimbursed to you.

The ACP or its representatives may charge additional costs, but it will depend upon the type and size of the upgrade. The ACP will advise you of any additional charges.

How long does it take to be processed?

To get everything processed, it can take 4-6 weeks to upgrade lighting equipment and

up to 6 months when dealing with the mechanical side of things.

The ACP will come out to your site to conduct the assessments, including checking and verifying the data and reviewing seasonal changes. For areas such as car park ventilation and lighting, the time of year won’t impact on its usage. However, the demand for air conditioning, for example, will vary between the warmer and cooler months.

Regardless of the time frame, once you’ve signed off and agreed to the ACP’s recommendations you’re guaranteed action. It’s just a matter of time!

How much am I likely to receive from the ESS?

This is completely varied. It really depends upon your site, when the assessment is done, what type of technology you use, and the area you’re based in. The ratios are so different – it’s simply about how many megawatts can be saved per year.

However, when your ACP representative conducts the assessment, you will receive an estimate of the rebate.


How many times can you apply?

You can only apply for the same technology once. However, if the technology has advanced and you make improvements, you may be eligible to apply again in the future.

To find out more about the NSW Energy Savings Scheme, you should contact the Accredited Certificate Provider (ACP). They will be able to provide more information on the products and services they offer.

The ESS website contains general information about the scheme and some answers to frequently asked questions:


IPART Energy Savings Scheme –
Energy Conservation – NSW Energy Savings Scheme brochure –

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