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The NSW Energy Savings Scheme: An Opportunity for Businesses

The NSW Energy Savings Scheme: An Opportunity for Businesses

The NSW Energy Savings Scheme: An Opportunity for Businesses

A government initiative, the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) offers financial incentives to businesses and households that install energy-efficient equipment. Earlier iterations of the ESS focused heavily on LED lighting, but the scheme has since expanded with rule changes as recent as April 2023.

This article will cover the basics of the scheme, what energy efficiency upgrades are included in the scheme, and who the scheme is for.

What is the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS)?

The ESS is a government-funded scheme that encourages businesses and households to make energy-efficient upgrades to equipment and appliances. The scheme incorporated various energy projects and is updated frequently to improve its effectiveness.

Since its inception in 2009, the ESS can account for 21,000 gigawatt-hours of energy savings across homes and businesses in NSW. It is currently the largest energy efficiency program and is designed to run until 2050.

The rules are updated regularly, so remember to check out the latest guidelines to get the most out of the ESS.

How Does the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) Work?

The Energy Savings Scheme NSW is basically a home energy efficiency retrofit, so how do you get your hands on the financial incentives that it offers? Energy savings certificates dictate the whole process. 

Energy savings certificates (ECS) are created when you upgrade or install something that reduces your electricity consumption. The ECS will demonstrate a single notional Megawatt hour of energy savings.

But where do the financial incentives come into play for this business and home energy efficiency retrofit? Well, the ECS you get after installing a piece of energy-efficient equipment is a tradeable commodity. These energy-saving certificates can be purchased from you by companies known as Accredited Certificate Providers or ACPs. The ECSs are then sold to energy and electricity retailers (like Origin Energy, Ausgrid, etc.)

The process can seem a little overwhelming, but the lengthiness is to ensure that the energy efficiency upgrades you have made are up to standard. A few things need to be verified by energy retailers, including:

  • That every project undertaken is creating energy savings certificates
  • That all businesses are eligible for the upgrades and haven’t already taken part in other ventures under the scheme
  • That the products used in energy savings projects adhere to minimum requirements
  • That anyone installing equipment upgrades is licensed, insured and qualified
  • That any old equipment and products are being removed and disposed of properly

The NSW ESS is all about reducing your energy bill. Creating financial incentives means businesses are more likely to take on the cost of installing upgrades, more energy-efficient lighting technology, and other products if they are rewarded for the energy saved.

Who is the Energy Savings Scheme for?

The ESS is designed for households and businesses in New South Wales. The energy saver scheme is intended to help put downward pressure on your and everyone else’s energy bill. By installing more efficient lighting technology and other home energy efficiency retrofits, electricity demand reduces.

ESS For Businesses

While households can get involved in energy-saving activities, we will focus on how businesses can use this energy saver program to reduce their energy bills.

Businesses can get involved in a number of ways. The most commonly known way to get involved is to upgrade to the latest energy-efficient lighting. However, this isn’t the only thing you can do. You can upgrade existing appliances and equipment as well as purchase new ones.

These changes will make your business run more efficiently and will cut your energy consumption and, by extension, your gas and electricity bills.

Systems and equipment you can replace include the following.

  • Compressed air systems: You can replace current equipment or make upgrades and repairs, like fixing air leaks or lowering the delivery pressure.
  • Furnaces: You can modify or totally replace your furnace to ensure it runs more efficiently, saving you money.
  • HVAC systems: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems use a significant amount of energy and contribute to your operating costs. By modifying your HVAC systems, you can improve their efficiency and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Hot water and steam systems: Modifications could include eliminating steam leaks, minimising heat loss through insulation, and installing heat recovery systems to help your small business save energy.
  • Lighting technology: The most commonly talked about part of the ESS, inefficient lighting can drain your operating costs. Installing more efficient lighting, like LEDs, can help you save money and is an easy swap to make.
  • Motors, pumps, and fans: If your business includes any of these pieces of equipment, you can modify or replace them for more efficient options to help save money and increase the financial incentives you receive.
  • NABERS Energy rating: The NABERS energy rating addresses the efficiency of a building. If you are getting a NABERS energy rating for a building in NSW, you might be eligible for financial incentives to help you reduce energy use and improve the overall rating.
  • Power systems: Upgrading all power systems is one of the specified energy-saving activities which can help to reduce energy costs and your impact on the planet. Modifications could include voltage optimisation, power factor correction, or BMS.
  • Process change and control system upgrades: These initiatives help businesses to replace and modify a variety of different pieces of equipment. The upgrades and placements should make industrial processes more efficient.
  • Refrigeration: Your refrigeration system uses a lot of energy. You can change the systems to reduce energy use, lower bills, and reduce emissions.

All upgrades, from lighting equipment to refrigeration to HVAC systems, need to come from approved suppliers. These suppliers are known as Accredited Certificate Providers (ACPs). Suppliers will help establish whether you’re eligible for the upgrade, and you can request a quote from a number of different suppliers.

Any equipment that is removed needs to be disposed of or recycled by the licensed and trained technicians, electricians, or plumbers you work with. All suppliers have to meet certain standards set out by the government.

How can you Benefit from the ESS?

The financial incentives offered to businesses through the NSW Energy Saver Scheme help reduce energy bills. The ACP you work with will help you to get the incentive and will calculate the potential energy saved with the upgrades you propose. This energy saving is converted into ESCs which electricity retailers obtain from you as a commodity.


The ESS is open to households and businesses across New South Wales. It is a scheme that helps participants save energy and money by upgrading equipment and installing new, more energy-saving options. Each upgrade creates an ECS, which can then be sold to energy retailers.

The ESS guidelines and rules get updated regularly, so to check eligibility and participation regulations, it is always best to search for the latest iteration of the scheme. In addition, you will need to check that your business is eligible for the scheme before making changes.

To get the upgrades, you must use an accredited supplier. Keep this in mind when making any plans for modifications.

For more information on the upgrades you can get, contact Ecosaver today and speak with an expert.

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