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Publications archive - Human settlements


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.


For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Cartoon Image - Greenhouse Challenge Plus Fact Sheet 4 - Maintenance

Climate Change

Climate change caused by greenhouse gases is one of the most serious challenges facing our community. Human actions—particularly burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) and land clearing—are generating more greenhouse gases. These additional greenhouse gases trap more heat and raise the earth’s surface temperature. This is called the enhanced greenhouse effect—it causes global warming and is changing our climate.

The impacts of climate change will have social, environmental and economic consequences that will affect all communities across the globe.

Why Small and Medium Enterprises

Greenhouse gas abatement is not just for the big end of town. Climate change will affect all of us and therefore it is to everyone’s benefit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most measures to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions will save you money in the long term, increasing profitability. Some measures will even help to improve productivity and the marketability of your business. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be seen as an opportunity to provide your business with a strong business advantage.


Implementing a regular and thorough maintenance program can result in savings in energy costs as well as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can save 5% to 20% of their energy costs by carrying out regular maintenance on their equipment to make sure it is operating effectively. Some basic maintenance tasks may not have to be contracted out to maintenance professionals but could be completed by employees with a good working knowledge of how your business equipment functions. For example, basic maintenance activities such as checking that automated timers on equipment are clean and activated can produce significant energy and cost savings.

Maintenance Plans

Design and implement a maintenance plan. While the initial set up of your maintenance plan may take time, the benefits and savings it provides will more than compensate for any initial investment. A preventative maintenance plan can ensure that maintenance occurs before a problem with equipment arises. This will increase the reliability and life span of equipment and reduce business down time due to breakdowns. It will also reduce operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with running inefficient equipment.

A maintenance plan should include a description of how to check if equipment is operating efficiently, a list of all the required maintenance tasks and a schedule of when maintenance should be conducted. Conducting a walk-through energy audit of your business will assist you to develop this list. The maintenance plan should incorporate a periodical review of operating sequences, strategies and schedules. That way changes in the operation of your business can be accounted for in the maintenance of your equipment.

Your plan should include monitoring heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC ) systems as well as lighting schedules. All maintenance performed should be tracked and recorded to ensure that all necessary maintenance tasks are completed according to schedule and to set standards.

Train staff. Develop an understanding in your business of the complexities of running your whole operation smoothly. Promote the connection that maintenance can have between saving energy and business costs. Ensure that you train your staff to identify signs that equipment may need maintenance and encourage reporting of any instances of equipment malfunction. Encourage staff to get into the habit of turning off lights and equipment that are not required, as running equipment efficiently will save money and greenhouse gas emissions and also help to increase the life of the equipment.

Engage maintenance contractors. You may want to hire a maintenance contractor to assume responsibility for developing and implementing your maintenance plan or to perform specific tasks such as tuning your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Professional maintenance contractors will be able to assist you in identifying ways to improve the energy efficiency and greenhouse performance of your operation to reduce those unwanted costs associated with equipment breakdowns. Look for energy maintenance contractors advertised in your local Yellow Pages or online at

Maintenance Tasks

Following is a list of simple maintenance tasks that will help you reduce your energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It is however by no means an exhaustive list and you should conduct an energy audit of your business to determine your individual requirements.

Lighting. Clean lights weekly, dust lamps and clean fixtures thoroughly whenever lamps are replaced.

Automatic controls. Optimise your thermostat settings and make sure the automatic controls on equipment are functional and adjusted to take into account the change in season, daylight savings and operating hours. This will help to avoid running equipment when it is not required. Take time to learn the full capabilities of your automatic controls - they may have more complex functionality and programming options which will allow you to achieve increased energy savings for your business.

Hot water systems. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your hot water system or hire a professional to clean it for you. Clean and test the burners of gas water heaters periodically and clean storage tanks annually to remove sediments.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. All HVAC systems should be cleaned regularly according to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Perform a pre-season check prior to the winter heating and summer cooling periods. Clean burners and air conditioner coils and clean or replace air filters. Clean and adjust blower components as this can increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC system by up to 15 per cent. Check the refrigerant level of your central air conditioner and adjust it if necessary. Check ducts and pipe insulation for leaks and repair any damage as soon as possible.

Water leaks. Regularly check your water meter to detect changes in your water usage pattern. A sharp increase in water use could indicate a leak in your water system that should immediately be rectified to prevent continued water waste. Check for leaking connections and dripping taps. To detect less obvious leaks, turn off every water-using device in your business and check your water meter. If your water meter is still ticking over it could indicate that you have a leak in your water system that will need to be fixed. Always employ qualified plumbers to conduct any maintenance work on your water system, as this will reduce the risk of accidental damage to the system.

Refrigerators. Regularly check that refrigerator doors seal properly and clean door seals regularly. Any sign of condensation around door seals indicates that they are damaged and will need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Regularly dust the coils at the rear of your refrigerator and ensure that your refrigerators are adequately ventilated by leaving at least a 5-centimeter gap between the refrigerator and the wall.

Air compressors. Maintain your air compressors as recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions. Check for air leaks on a monthly basis. Check for leaks in all piping, joints, drains, relief valves, drain valves, flexible hoses, quick release hose fittings and filter and lubricator units. Repair leaks as soon as they are discovered, as this will save you energy costs. Check the tension of the compressor’s drive belt regularly and ensure that there is good alignment of the pulleys in the motor.

Motors and Drives. Regularly check all motors and lubricate all moving parts. Check for changes in sound, smell, noise and temperature generated by the motor as these can indicate that it is not operating at its optimum capacity. Check the alignment and tension of drive belts and chains and regularly clean and lubricate them. Monitor your power supply in consultation with your electricity supplier or energy specialist to identify whether your motor is suited to the power that is supplied to it, as this can affect its energy efficiency.

Vehicles. SService and tune cars and other vehicles regularly. Ensure that tyres are in good condition, kept at maximum pressure and are aligned regularly. Do not use car boots for unnecessary storage, as a car carrying extra weight will consume more fuel.

Additional Benefits

Equipment longevity. Operating equipment more efficiently lengthens the life span of the equipment.

Fewer equipment breakdowns. Well-maintained equipment is less likely to breakdown and thus reduces potential business downtime and the associated costs.

Improved safety. Using well-maintained equipment results in a safer working environment.

Improved staff morale. Operating equipment at its optimum rating will generally decrease staff stress and discomfort commonly associated with heat, noise or odour generated by inefficient equipment.

Maintenance Fundamentals

To be mailed a copy of this fact sheet or any of our other fact sheets, please call us on 02 6274 1229 or e-mail us on

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