Energy Efficiency Innovation


Innovation in product design and production processes can help us conserve energy, by developing:

Such innovation can be:

Drivers for innovation include:

The need for energy efficiency is an important driver for innovation, because:


Energy Efficiency Technology

Source: Energy Efficiency Innovation Review - PDF - UK Treasury

New, Demand-side Energy Efficiency Technology

Beyond 2010, there will be an increasing need to bring forward and deploy new and emerging energy efficiency technologies, products and services.

[Hence increased need for] Government funding for research, applied research, development and demonstration (RD&D) across a range of potentially high-impact energy efficiency technologies.

Government intervention is [needed] when the market is not delivering public policy goals as fast or as effectively as is needed. The rate of improvement of energy efficiency is one such case.

Government intervention [can] increase the rate of energy efficiency improvement - by creating more buoyant markets for energy-efficient products generally and through technology innovation specifically.



Support for RD&D [can]:




Technology Examples

Energy Efficiency as an Innovation Driver

Source: Innovation and Energy Efficiency - DOC - Alan Pears, Natural Edge Project, 2005

A stronger focus on energy efficiency as an objective within the innovation process would result in a higher rate of development of energy efficiency attributes in new products, technologies and systems.

It is often easier to incorporate energy efficiency improvement into systems during the RD&D and design phases than to adapt equipment or behaviour later.

A stronger focus on energy efficiency during the RD&D phases can lead to spin-off benefits by influencing other system features, or can help to justify more aggressive changes.

The emergence of a carbon-constrained global future means that countries that drive energy efficiency from a full lifecycle perspective and across the full range of activities will be well positioned for the future.

Most efforts to drive business innovation policy treat energy efficiency as a separate, and marginally relevant issue. Most energy efficiency programs do not focus on innovation, but analyse existing practices looking for marginal improvements. Both these approaches are inadequate.

The reality is that innovation and large energy efficiency improvements are inextricably interwoven. Energy efficiency involves people, systems, software, technology and organisations linked together in new ways.

[Australia should aspire to be a leader in energy efficiency technology development. Not just a fast follower, taking up such technologies when available.] [Otherwise] it will fail to capture significant innovation benefits, [and] lose the opportunity to improve competitiveness, create more employment and improve the environment.

In many cases, Australia is actually a world leader, or could become a world leader quite quickly if modest resources were committed.

In many cases, Australia is a world leader. For example, our appliance energy efficiency program is a world leader, as is the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating scheme for office buildings, and the Australian-designed Dishlex dishwasher was an energy efficiency leader for five years from 1995.

Or could become a world leader quite quickly if modest resources were committed.

Energy efficiency improvement can deliver a number of possible outcomes, including:

Many innovation activities that aim to increase yield, reduce wastage, optimise performance, reduce material content, and so on also improve energy efficiency.


[The HiSmelt technology developed] by CSIRO and others to develop new metal smelting techniques are aimed at productivity improvement, utilisation of waste materials, and improved competitiveness through cost reduction, [also] uses 20% less energy than traditional steel making techniques.

A manufacturer of gearboxes for the automotive sector who replaces metal components with plastic not only reduces manufacturing energy, but also cuts resource consumption and improves vehicle fuel efficiency.


Beverage Industry

Raising the Bar - Industry Australia, 2006. How energy management, innovation and training in the beverage industry has delivered increased profits, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased productivity, enhanced safety, and positive cultural change.

Energy Efficiency Innovation Review: Summary Report - PDF - UK Treasury, December 2005



Energy Efficiency Best Practice Program - Industry Australia - The program, funded from 1998 to 2003, assisted companies in the baking, beverage and packaging, dairy, pulp and paper, resource processing, supermarkets, and wine industry sectors, to achieve energy efficiency through innovation and capacity building.

Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund - Promotes innovation in energy efficiency, renewable energy and water-saving technologies and practices. Provides funding to help offset the technical risks associated with developing, adapting or demonstrating new technologies or process improvements

Natural Edge Project

United Kingdom

Carbon Trust

Energy Savings Trust

Shell Springboard

United States

Energy TechNet - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Energy US. Toolbox for energy technology development and commercialisation- idea development, market assessment, intellectual property protection, fund raising.

Inventions and Innovation - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy US.