Frequently Asked Questions

What is Watt Savers?

CitySmart in partnership with the Commonwealth Government's Department of Industry and a number of our Corporate Partners have designed a program aimed at empowering small to medium enterprise's (SMEs) and community organisations to make informed decisions about energy efficiency.

Watt Savers targets SMEs in Brisbane and has been designed to overcome the three greatest hurdles facing small to medium enterprises: upfront costs, time and access to information.

SMEs are able to access tailored energy efficiency information specific to their industry type.  This includes content developed and sourced from industry experts like ENERGEX and The University of Southern Queensland, access to a telephone advice service and funding assistance.

These channels allow businesses the opportunity to engage with the project by a method and at a time that is convenient for them.

Why has Watt Savers been launched?

Reducing energy costs through energy efficiency is one of the most effective means of responding to the carbon price and rising energy costs more generally.

This program has been designed to deliver practical, tailored energy efficiency information to empower SMEs to make informed decisions about energy efficiency and thereby reduce their operational energy costs.

Why is reducing my energy costs such a big deal?

With the cost of electricity in Queensland set to rise again in July 2014, it makes good business sense to look at ways to reduce this operating cost. Reducing the energy used in your business will see a direct saving on your electricity bill. That's money you could be investing back into your business.

You can't control the cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) but you can control the number of kilowatts (kW) you use.

How do I get involved?

To get involved with Watt Savers, simply sign up to the program via the registration page. It takes two minutes to sign up and as a registered participant you will have access to valuable and relevant information at the click of a mouse.

Use the savings calculator to generate potential savings in your business and progress through to the energy check-up where a three-step action plan will be generated for you to help realise those savings.

From your home page you can access fact sheets on topics such as lighting, refrigeration and office equipment with tips and suggestions on ways you can do things differently to save on energy and in turn $$.

If you get in early enough, you can also request an on-site energy review where an authorised Watt Savers representative will attend your premises, undertake a review and provide you with a detailed action plan tailored to your specific site and equipment.  There are only a limited number of these subsidised energy reviews available to program members.

The website is your link to all sorts of information and services so register now and get Watt Saving.

Is there a cost to take part in the Watt Savers program?

There is no cost to take part in the Watt Savers program. All the resources on the website are free of charge.

The only area of the program where a charge is incurred is if a participant elects to have an on-site energy review which incurs a nominal fee:

  • $50 for small business (0-9 staff)
  • $150 for medium businesses (10-199 staff)

Should you elect to undertake further on-site audit reviews across your business such as waste or water, the nominal fee you paid for your Watt Savers energy audit will be credited against the cost of that additional service.

The average value of these on-site energy reviews is approximately $500 RRP. There are only a limited number of energy reviews available to program members.

Can I participate if I don't own my property/make improvements to it?

Of course! The program is designed to ensure both property owners and tenants can participate and get value from Watt Savers.

Whilst tenants may not be able to make some of the same types of improvements as owners there are still many areas where energy efficiency wins are possible. For example, tenants can still embark on a behavioural change program with their staff which will result in some quick wins as well as other minor improvements.  Whilst you might not be able to install a new air conditioning system you can replace the old lights with LED or CFLs. And of course, the equipment you use in your business is yours to manage as efficiently as possible. Please refer to the fact sheets and resources page for some more helpful tips.

What is involved in an on-site energy review?

All Watt Savers participants are able to request an on-site audit. The program has up to 60 subsidised audits that it will be offering. Each of the six industry types being targeted by the program will be provided with 10 subsidised audits.

Participants are encouraged to apply and if the subsidised audit quota has been filled you will be notified by email. You can still proceed with an audit but at that point you would be required to fully fund the audit yourself.

1) What's in it for me (as a small or medium sized business)?

An authorised Watt Savers representative will attend your premises and undertake a Level 1 audit. This involves establishing a business profile, reviewing your most recent energy bill, undertaking a walk-through of your operations, discussions with staff and a review of your current initiatives and energy efficiency goals.

At the completion of the audit you will be provided with an action plan which details those things you can do to reduce the energy used in your business to help reduce your energy bill.

2) How much time will it take?

Depending on the size of your operations the on-site review can take between 1 and 2 hours.  You will receive your report within 5 business days of the on-site review.

3) What do I need to do or have available for the on-site review?

To get the most out of your audit you will need to have a copy of your latest energy bill with you and have briefed your staff beforehand as the auditor may need to ask them questions along the way.

Can I access low cost financing?

There are a number of low cost financing options available to Small to Medium businesses through Low Carbon Australia. Their finance is directed at projects which deliver cost effective carbon and energy savings.

They work collaboratively with business, industry and government to develop and co-deliver energy efficiency finance solutions to help move Australia towards a low carbon economy and are uniquely positioned to partner with business to unlock the commercial benefits of energy efficiency improvements.

For further information or to apply visit: www.lowcarbonaustralia.com.au/media/24873/low_carbon_australia_finance_application.pdf

What is the difference between LED and CFLs?

What are LEDs?

LEDs or light-emitting diodes are one of today's most energy-efficient, rapidly evolving and environmentally friendly technologies available to consumers. According to the Australian Government's Living Greener website LED lighting lasts up to 50 times longer than traditional incandescent and 10 times longer than CFLs.

Incandescent bulbs and CFLs get hot, which means they heat up rooms, an unwelcome side effect on a hot summer day. LEDs on the other hand, usually have a built in mechanism to prevent this heat build-up. LED systems, furthermore, aren't as sensitive to on-off cycling, which makes them perfect for motion sensors, outdoor lights and dimmers. Perhaps their biggest advantage is that they are mercury free and do not require special handling should they break or wear out. While LEDs cost more than incandescent and CFLs, they still save money. They last longer and consume less energy.

What are CFLs?

CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps are small, curly versions of those long tube lights you may have in your kitchen or garage. According to the Australian Government Living Greener website CFLs last 4 - 10 times longer than incandescent lights and use 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

For people thinking of making the switch, but are wary, consider this: CFLs can provide the same level of brightness as incandescent bulbs, but at a lower wattage. You also can purchase CFLs in a range of colours, from white to yellow. If you're looking for a dimmable light, make sure this feature is noted on the packaging. Some motion sensors and many electric timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Check with the manufacturer for compatibility.

As with anything in life, CFLs have some drawbacks. They are sensitive to extreme temperatures. As a result, you should use your CFLs in open fixtures unless the bulb is specifically rated for a closed fixture application. They also contain small amounts of mercury, meaning they must be recycled and handled carefully should they break.

What is the ideal setting for an air-conditioner?

Air conditioners are not cheap to run and on hot days they contribute to stretching South East Queensland's electricity infrastructure to the limit.
Set your air-conditioner to 24 degrees in summer and 18 degrees in winter.

Remember: between 4pm and 8pm 24 degrees is great.

What happens after the Watt Savers program finishes?

Whilst the Watt Savers program will finish in 2014, that doesn't need to mean the end of your energy efficiency journey. The site contains information that you can take and use in your business for years to come.

There are a number of other programs that you will be able to participate in having completed Watt Savers, including programs such as EcoBiz which will assist you to continue on your journey. The Brisbane City Council also runs a number of programs targeted at Small Businesses throughout the year which provide valuable information, details of these programs can be found by logging onto the Brisbane City Council website www.brisbane.qld.gov.au.

What are you doing with my personal information?

All personal information gathered as part of the Watt Savers program will be dealt with under the strictest privacy guidelines as mentioned in the Terms and Conditions. The information we are gathering will help us to communicate with you throughout the program and will assist us in the evaluation of the programs success. Watt Savers is a research program so the results will be used to assist in the design of any future programs.

What does NMI stand for?

The term NMI is commonly used in the energy industry and stands for National Meter Identifier. The NMI is a unique identifier assigned to a property and will remain the same even if you change energy retailers.

Your NMI can be found on your electricity bill however as not all energy bills are the same the NMI is not necessarily always in the same place. Start by looking in the top left hand corner, if it's not there it might be located near the metering information.

The NMI is important to the Watt Savers program as it will allow us to obtain actual metering data from ENERGEX for your property; this data will be used to determine what impact the energy efficiency changes you make have on your electricity consumption.

As mentioned above the NMI is a unique value that stays with a property regardless of which electricity retailer you choose.

What companies are associated with Watt Savers?

The Watt Savers Program is being managed by a CitySmart (Brisbane City Council's Sustainability Agency) led consortium. In addition to CitySmart the companies involved in the consortium are:

What is Brisbane City Council's role?

CitySmart was created by Brisbane City Council to help make Brisbane Australia's most sustainable city. Brisbane City Council encourages SMEs to get involved in the program to reduce energy consumption.

CitySmart is working with business, industry, Government and the community to reduce Brisbane's carbon emissions without sacrificing commercial outcomes. 

Why is Rio Tinto involved?

Rio Tinto as an organisation is committed to sustainability which is showcased by their new head office building at 123 Albert Street, which is on track to achieve a six star green star sustainability rating. This commitment to sustainability is why they chose to be involved in the Watt Savers program.  

Watt Savers provided Rio Tinto with an opportunity to build on their partnership with CitySmart and to assist in empowering small to medium sized enterprises in Brisbane on ways to improve their energy efficiency and save on energy costs.

Balancing economic, social and environmental considerations is central to how Rio Tinto operates and why they were delighted to win the Brisbane Lord Mayors Corporate Citizenship Award and Platinum Award in 2012 in recognition of this approach.

Why is Business South Bank involved?

Business South Bank (BSB) has set itself the goal of becoming Australia's most sustainable business precinct.

With a membership of over 100 corporate members, the opportunity to assist small-medium businesses to reduce their energy consumption fitted nicely with their goals.

BSB has been a proud partner of CitySmart Pty Ltd since its inception and being involved in the Watt Savers Project was an extension of this partnership.

How can I contact Watt Savers if I have any further questions?

You can email us on:
enquiries@wattsavers.com.au

Or phone us on:
07 3007 7000