A smarter shade of green

01 Oct 2008Archived News Energetics in the News

PUBLISHED: The Deal - The Australian Business Magazine and Jonathan Jutsen, Executive Director and Founder, Energetics Pty Ltd is one of six experts to be profiled for influencing the climate change debate inside government and working with business to manage climate change.


The oil glut of the mid-1980s probably wasn’t the best time to launch a consultancy designed to help businesses save money through energy efficiency. But to Jon Jutsen, a chemical-engineering graduate at the Energy Authority of NSW, a one-year contract advising a large business seemed like a good idea.

That was 1984 and Jutsen had just taken the first step in building Energetics, now Australia’s largest energy-efficiency consultancy. With offices in every capital, more than 130 staff and rapid growth over the past three years, it’s one of those overnight success stories that took 25 years.

Back in the 1980s, to encourage companies to be smarter about how they used energy, Jutsen would sweeten the deal by charging a fairly small consulting fee upfront. But he would get a bigger bonus if he met what initially appeared to be extremely ambitious targets. The trouble was that Jutsen kept hitting the mark, and some clients were reluctant to deliver the bonus.

“People always liked those contracts at the beginning,” he says. “But if you actually made the savings target and saved them a lot more money than expected, they began to get a bit snippy at the end. I ended up moving to a straight consulting basis after that and I found it easier to build long-term relationships.”

Jutsen says recognition of the threat posed by climate change has been a long time coming.

“When I first got into the energy-efficiency field, it was at the end of the second oil shock. I was convinced the world was going to recognize that oil was in relatively short supply and that it would ultimately peak – and that the behaviour shifts that were starting in those days would flow through,” he says. “Much to my horror, as soon as energy prices dropped people went back to buying large cars and wasting resources at a great rate. We are now paying the price.”

But it’s been a boom time for his company – and recruiting is no longer a problem: “Because we’ve got the name, a lot of interesting people come to us for career changes. It’s quite cool now, unlike the previous 23 years.”

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