German-Australian delegation trip on energy efficiency in buildings

Australia and Germany are in an energy partnership: they intend to work together on the energy transition and learn from one other. An Australian delegation recently came to visit and learned about Germany’s efforts in the building sector.


In 2019, the building sector was responsible for about 38 percent of global CO₂ emissions, making the sector a key emitter. Millions of tons of CO₂ emissions still have to be saved globally in the building sector in order to achieve the climate protection goals set by the Paris Agreement. One major lever for this is energy efficiency.

The Australian-German energy partnership has a sub-working group on precisely this topic and its aim is to increase cooperation. The “Energy Efficiency Group” is managed jointly by the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) and the Australian Energy Efficiency Council. The latter is a non-profit association whose members include companies, universities, governments and NGOs. The work of the sub-working group as well as the entire bilateral energy partnership is supported by adelphi, whose team leads the project commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) to support energy cooperation with Australia and New Zealand.

The potential of cooperation

In the summer of 2020, the sub-working group published a report on the potential for cooperation between Australia and Germany in the building sector. Among other things, it recommended that an English-language report be prepared on the complex German financing system for the energy renovation of residential buildings, which was set up by the KfW bank. It is intended to serve as a kind of blueprint for implementing similar programmes in Australia and other countries. adelphi played a leading role in the report with support from the AHK and the Energy Efficiency Council. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) financed the project. The report was published in June 2022 and, in addition to the specific key data on funding and explanations of key elements, also contains success factors that can be helpful for transferring to other contexts. Besides two roundtables to assess the needs of Australian stakeholders, several interviews with key German stakeholders were conducted for the preparation of the report.

Germany can learn a lot from Australia, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency in commercial buildings – e.g. offices, hotels, or shopping centres. The sub-working group report also highlighted this. A prime example is the national programme and energy rating system NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System), introduced by the Australian government 25 years ago. NABERS evaluates energy efficiency on a scale from one (“Making a Start”) to six (“Market Leading”) stars. For example, according to their own statements, Australian office buildings rated by NABERS Energy have achieved average energy savings of 42 percent over the past 14 years and reduced the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions by more than half. For other countries to benefit from this success, the NABERS team published a Global Guide, which presents – also in German – the successes and how they work.

The visit to Berlin

The highlight of the cooperation in the sub-working group for the time being was a high-ranking delegation from Australia that travelled to Berlin at the end of June to discuss the topic of building efficiency. The tour group, led by Luke Menzel, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council, visited the BMWK, the KfW bank and the German Business Initiative Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) for talks and also visited many exemplary construction projects. The Berlin-based Renewables Academy (RENAC) organised the delegation trip. RENAC is one of the leading international providers of training and capacity-building in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency.

Contact: Franziska Teichmann, Head of the German Secretariat for the Energy Cooperation with Australia and New Zealand in Sydney

Participants of the delegation trip:

  • Luke Menzel, CEO Energy Efficiency Council
  • Grace Tam, Director Debt Markets, Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • Karla Fox-Reynolds, Senior Project Manager, Climate-KIC Australia
  • Isaac Ward, Head of Energy Team, Brighte
  • Francesca Muskovic, National Policy Manager, Property Council
  • Carlos Flores, Director, National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)
  • Margot Delafoulhouze, Lead on Cities and Buildings, Climateworks Centre
  • Rachel Haley, Lead of Sustainable Homes Team, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Holly Taylor, Head of Projects, Energy Efficiency Council
  • Paul Corkill, Executive Director Policy, Programs and Industry Development, Solar Victoria, Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Glenn Day, Director National Sales and Public Affairs, Stiebel Eltron
  • Martina Lyons, Market Transformation Lead, RACE for 2030