Online training platform wins best innovation at EEC awards
The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) at its annual awards presented the 2018 ‘Best Innovation in Energy Efficiency’ award to Melbourne-based company MAC Energy Efficiency Group. The winning innovation was MAC’s online training tool, EEIQ, which helps installers of energy-saving products comply with government energy efficiency schemes.
The EEIQ (Energy Efficiency IQ) is an online training platform that equips electricians, plumbers and other tradespeople to fully comply with government energy efficiency schemes. MAC is a quality assurance business that provides energy efficiency compliance advice, field auditing and training to energy retailers, regulators and contractors.
Tradespeople use EEIQ to learn how to fully comply with state-based energy efficiency schemes, says Merrily Hunter, managing director of MAC.
“EEIQ represents a revolutionary approach to training,” she says. “It incorporates all the relevant regulations, codes and Australian standards into common language and animations.
“Thanks to EEIQ, we are not seeing some the highest quality, highest compliance installation work yet observed under the schemes. Our clients report that their tradespeople who’ve used EEIQ are far better able to remember what they’ve learned and, as a result, audit failure rates have decreased by more than half.”
Hunter says EEIQ encourages participation and promotes engagement because it allows tradespeople to access training anywhere they happen to be, rather than compelling them to sit in a classroom and use ineffective outdated methods such as lectures and slide presentations.
“EEIQ is innovative in part because it recognises that most tradies are visual learners and have higher recall when they can actually see how a good job is supposed to look,” Hunter says. “EEIQ shows, not just tells. It provides a single, standardised version of training in plain language. It’s designed to actually help the front line.”
Hunter explains that significant time and thought went into the development of EEIQ’s individual modules, even down to the type of voiceovers employed.
“In user testing, higher recall rates were achieved by using female voices for technical and regulatory explanations, while male voices delivered higher rates when the subject matter shifted to installation components,” she says.
Buoyed by the burgeoning success of EEIQ in the marketplace, MAC has been building and reviewing additional modules. These will provide training for all tradespeople working in the sectors of new energy, solar battery installations, commercial lighting, geothermal and more, Hunter reveals.
“This is a learning platform adaptable to many environments, and we’re very confident that’s just one of the abundant reasons why EEIQ won the [EEC] award,” she says.
At the award ceremony, which was held in Sydney at the EEC’s annual national conference, Hunter thanked the EEC for its efforts to unite “those of us who dream of a better, cleaner, more sustainable energy future”. She also thanked the MAC team of imaginative thinkers and technology professionals who conceptualised EEIQ and guided its development.
“What started as a proof-of-concept has gone far beyond what we anticipated,” Hunter says. “And this is only the beginning as far as we’re concerned. Since winning the award for Best Innovation, a number of companies have contacted us to ask if we can create custom modules for them based on their specific product and installation methods, something that can be distributed to their contractors to ensure quality control and consistency as they expand their services to new areas.”
Image (from left): Andrew Shaw, compliance auditor; Merrily Hunter, managing director; Sara Willemse, compliance officer; and Tracey Silva, senior consultant at the Energy Efficiency Council Awards.