Calculating your NSW ESS $ubsidy

Often prospective clients will ask how much subsidy they will receive through the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) prior to us assessing their site.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as a client providing a light count over the phone and us providing savings and costs. The scoping of your premises is complex and the type of site and its usage can greatly affect how much subsidy you will receive.

ESS aim to reduce carbon emissions, with the higher subsidies reflecting the greater amount of CO2 omitted. It’s important to note that the pre-exiting lamps and retrofitted LEDs have to be scheme accredited and you can’t claim a subsidy if neither is accredited. For peace of mind you can check the full list of accredited products on the NSW Energy Savers site product register. SEE...

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This blog aims to educate and simplify how the subsidies are calculated.

What product are you replacing?

The most obvious element in calculating your subsidy is the wattage difference between the current lights including High Bays, Office ceiling panels and battens, flood lights and downlights that you have and their recommended high-efficiency product replacement.

In general terms, the higher the wattage change, the bigger the subsidy. Other factors that can affect your subsidy:


We come across premises that have either too much light output for their requirements, or not enough light or situations where certain areas lights are not switched on due to high cost. When too much light we can actually de-lamp (remove lights), which will result in a an extra subsidy or, you will be paid a component of the upgrade.

Adding lights

When the light levels cannot meet the Australian lighting standards (AS1680) with a direct one-for-one replacement, new light fittings may have to be added.

In this instance, the subsidy will most likely be reduced.

Light efficiency

While a lower wattage light will give you a higher subsidy, it may not give you the light levels that you require as the lumen output is too low. The most important factor when choosing between LED providers is the efficiency of their products and evidence such as lighting designs that their light will meet AS1680 standards. If the lights do not meet AS1680 standards then you will not receive a subsidy.

Lighting control devices

Another factor to consider in the calculation are lighting control devices which include Daylight and Micro Wave sensors. Although the cost is a little higher the Return on Investment ROI is less than a year with savings for the next twenty years and resulting in greater subsidies.

What type of premises are you in?

Another less obvious factor in calculating your subsidy is the space type in which your business operates. This differs between buildings such as libraries, schools, hospitals and shopping centres and between space types like Factories, warehouse, waste management, retail areas, carparks, storage areas and offices . Those space types that are deemed by the scheme administrator to generally have longer operating hours are allocated more certificates.

For example, a manufacturing facility is seen to have its lights turned on for longer hours per day than an office and therefore will generate more subsidies.

Do you have any air conditioning?

The final factor in calculating your subsidy is whether your space type has working air conditioning or not. The reason for this is the fact halogens, metal halides and fluorescents run at significantly higher temperatures than LED, heating up your office and most likely resulting in higher air conditioning use. The introduction of LEDs will lower the air temperature and should get people to turn the air conditioning down, resulting in even fewer CO2 emissions.

Want to know more?

We have our own in-house compliance team who will help answer any questions regarding subsidy and certificate creation.

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