Net-zero planning

1Circle’s service for planning the cost effective achievement of a zero emission future for energy use by buildings


Cost effectively achieve net-zero emissions from the operation of buildings

Buildings consume more than half of Australia’s electricity and their operation is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

As there are proven cost effective and self financing options to improve energy efficiency and renewably supply electricity, we see a net-zero plan as the tool to sequence how an organisation can achieve a zero emissions future.

Our approach to net-zero planning is to accurately inform property owners and managers of the financial and emission merits of relevant initiatives, and define an integrated plan that fulfils our client objectives.   In taking this approach, our clients’ find the plans:

    • fulfil organisational goals
    • are achievable and practical
    • are rigorously justified


Migrate buildings to include more efficient plant, equipment, operating practices and obtain emissions free energy

Having been a specialist energy manager for over a decade, we are excited about the prospects for more quickly and cost effectively transitioning Australia’s building stock to a net zero future.

In preparation for a net-zero plan we consider:

  • strategic goal and tactical objective setting
  • financial cost/benefit assessment of initiatives
  • emission impact analysis
  • ease of implementation
  • guidance on relevant government rebates
  • guidance on schemes for judging energy emission and renewable status

Typical initiatives

Typical initiatives considered in a net-zero plan are summarised below.

LED Lighting

Upgrade of traditional lighting fittings to LED provides strong benefits including up to 50% reduction in energy use and emissions, improved lighting outcome, strong payback and financial return, and reduced operational risk.

HVAC Upgrades

Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning systems are the primary consumer of electricity and therefore, a critical point of focus.  Upgrade of end-of-life equipment and the introduction of strong preventative maintenance reduces energy consumption by 10-15%.

Operational control

Control systems and operational practices can play a major role in preventing unnecessary energy use e.g. out-of-hours, vacant space.  Our analysis informs the potential of improved practices and the case for automated control as part of future refurbishments and/or immediate implementaiton.

On-site solar

On-site rooftop (and carpark) solar renewably and more cheaply provides electricity.  Retrofit installation on existing buildings and inclusion in future works is a cornerstone in fulfilling a sustainable future and typically provides 20-50% of a property’s electricity requirement.

Renewable supply

The majority of electricity and gas requriements are supplied from the grid.  Renewable electricity options (over and above onsite solar) and emission offsets for gas are key requirements for achieving a net zero outcome.


Confidently achieves results

Our process delivers results.  It involves high attention to detail and a passionate focus on fulfilling expectations.

The process is structured over three stages:

  • auditing existing conditions
  • analysing improvement opportunities
  • creating an integrated and prioritised plan


Establish a clear understanding of present energy use

  • Establish present and historic electricity consumption and cost
  • Benchmark comparison of energy use to other similar organisations
  • Assess asset registers and conduct Plant audit as necessary e.g. lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning
  • Establish baseline profile on which to compare improvement opportunities
  • Clarify Sustainability goals, milestones


Assess present position and cost/benefit of relevant initaitives 

  • Conduct opportunity analysis: operational efficiency, lighting, air-conditioning upgrades
  • Assess electricity supply options to move to renewable and zero net emissions including on-site solar, purchasing renewable grid power
  • Assess new-build energy performance against specification
  • Detail individual initiative cost/benefits


Rigorously assess and drive improved performance


  • Consolidate analysis
  • Prioritise opportunities to objectives (budget, stakeholder)
  • Detail delivery plan
  • Schedule energy savings, cost/benefit, emissions impact of plan
  • Prepare submissions for leadership approval


1Circle’s award winning Energy Plan is used for the communication of results

The net-zero Energy Plan is delivered using the latest digital technology and leading practice reporting . The plan is provided as a secure online website using Microsoft’s latest collaborative and business intelligence software. This features:

  • Interactive quantitative analysis – stakeholders can select different options and price scenarios to better understand the impact of alternative choices
  • Hierarchically structured information – from short executive summaries through to detailed cash flow models, technical appraisals and asset registers
  • Supporting reference and educational information to help stakeholders acquire requisite knowledge to aid their decision making

We find our clients love the result and see it as a key point of difference. There are many benefits, some obvious and some subtle but influential. Examples include:

  • Financial and analytical rigour that satisfies all stakeholders
  • Responsive to project changes, data updates and market developments
  • Reliable and useful ongoing reference through the project life-cycle

School net zero Energy Plan

Net zero Energy Plans for schools provide a clear direction on how a school can become more energy efficient, generate and source renewable electricity and ultimately eliminate their energy related emissions.

The Energy Plan includes significant educational resources to explain the merits and considerations of individual initiatives and illustrates the consequence of differing energy efficiency and productivity.

Commercial net zero Energy Plan

Commercial net-zero energy plans provide rigorous commercial analysis of initiatives, investment option analysis and technical analysis to support commercial and operational stakeholders.

Forecasting assumptions are detailed with underpinning explanations as appropriate including business master plans and market price analysis.


Leaders for a decade

Since 2014 we have been defining plans of action to improve energy energy and transition to a more sustainable future.

Our experience covers the range of property sectors including education, commercial, retail, office, and industrial.

School program

145 school network for Brisbane Catholic Education

1Circle lead the net-zero energy planning for all 145 schools of the BCE network.  This included detailed auditing of plant and equipment to establish accurate equipment asset registers, the definition of business cases for onsite solar, lighting and air-conditioning upgrades, and achieve a goal of becoming 110% renewable.

Retail portfolio

Queensland Investment Corporation | Global Real Estate portfolio

As the lead energy consultant, we have and continue to support QIC in energy planning across its’ retail assets.  For a core group of five centres in a specific fund we defined integrated net zero plans including efficiency improvements (lighting, HVAC), on-site solar and transition to renewable grid supplied energy for the balance of electricity needs.

Office portfolio

Queensland Investment Corporation | Office portfolio

1Circle developed a plan to achieve net zero emissions for a portfolio of office assets.  Existing plant and equipment asset registers were rigorously reviewed, efficiency benefits from plant upgrades and transition to renewable electricity supply were forecast over a 10 year view to inform short- to long-term net zero milestones and capital plans.

Estate development

Parklea | new residential estate

We developed an ESG strategy and detailed plan on the value of providing incentives as part of resident land purchase on solar, enhanced heating and cooling systems, and improved insulation to reduce home owner utility costs and improved sustainability.  This was integrated with other aspects of Parklea’s leading customer proposition for new estate home owners.

For further information contact 1Circle