Do it the right way the first time.
Founder & CEO of MAC Energy Efficiency Group
I founded MAC Energy Efficiency Group and EEIQ with the aim of increasing accessibility and participation in environmental initiatives throughout Australia. At present, environmental policies are written with the right intentions to move us forward, but the rollout is falling flat and systems are being abused, purely because of poor communication and implementation.
Tradespeople are the front line for energy efficiency and are the critical influencers in consumer appliance purchases – we need to ensure that the current policies and regulations are designed with visual tools to suit their learning style.
Their successful participation in the schemes is where we will see true market transformation. That’s why I founded EEIQ, this online training portal is an easy to use system that acts as a translator;
taking the regulations and putting them into graphics, visual cues and stories so that everyone can participate. When policy writers consider the policy readers in their approach, then we will see true change in the quality delivery of services, regardless of their reading and writing abilities.
We then took it one step further and built our own trades network, MAC Trade Services.
Our trade services channel, provides Solar PV, Batteries, EV chargers, LED lighting, Hot Water heat pumps, Air-conditioning and energy auditing solutions all around Australia.
My team and I at MAC, believe in “getting it right, from the start”; providing holistic energy efficiency service with customised training, consulting and electrification/fuel switching and demand response based trade services.
Merrily Hunter is the Founder and CEO of MAC Energy Efficiency Group, a holistic energy management business that provides training, consulting and trade based electrification upgrades to homes and businesses. Merrily started MAC in 2014 and has grown it to 40 staff and more than 200 installers spread across Australia, working with Government and businesses delivering energy upgrades, demand management and fuel switching services.
MAC developed the online training platform, EEIQ, this key service delivers best practice industry training online using visual guides, animations and 'how-to' videos to help trades transition from traditional industries to green energy solutions. Over 300 energy professionals have now been trained using the EEIQ platform. The platform won the ‘Best Innovation in Energy Efficiency’ award for 2018.
Starting her working career after leaving school at 15 she has dedicated her life to the pursuit of knowledge in business, specialising in the energy efficiency and demand response sector.
She has managed the energy efficiency compliance for AGL, Australia’s largest privately-owned renewable energy Retailer. Since 2019, Merrily has served as Vice President of the Board of the Energy Efficiency Council.
Merrily is a working mother, sustainable property developer and passionate climate advocate with expert knowledge in Government energy efficiency policies and trade based transitions.
Finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards in 2020
Elected to the Board of the Energy Efficiency Council in 2019
EEIQ training platform: Winner of Best Innovation in Energy Efficiency for 2018.
Key Note Speaker at the 2019 NexGen Future Housing QLD conference.
Guest speaker at the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 National Energy Efficiency Conferences.
Awarded multiple AGL Employee recognition awards during 2010-2014.
Established the first Certificate Creation and Compliance Team at AGL in 2009.
Key contributor to the EEIS and REES Commercial Lighting compliance framework for the ACT and SA Government.
Mother to a wild child.
EEIQ training platform: Winner of Best Innovation in Energy Efficiency 2018 by the Energy Efficiency Council.
In 2019, MAC achieved a milestone of 3 million certificates audited in less than 5 years.
Received 4 x AGL Living the Values (employee recognition) awards during 2010-2014.
Guest speaker at the 2019 NexGen Future Housing QLD conference.
Established the first Certificate Creation and Compliance Team at AGL in 2009.
Guest speaker at the 2016 and 2017 National Energy Efficiency Conference.
Key contributor to the EEIS and REES Commercial Lighting compliance framework.
Modern Jive National ‘Advanced Freestyle’ Dance champion in 2006.
“Was that your boss?” An office worker innocently asked me as a suited older male left my office. “No,” I said, “I’m the boss”. This hasn’t been an uncommon theme throughout my career, partly because of my age but mostly because I’m female working in the energy and trade sector. You can choose to take offence to comments like this or you can choose to own it and grow from it. Me? I did what any normal person would do and threw myself headfirst into one of the most male dominated industries in Australia.
YouTube is now the world’s leading education platform. This is because the majority of the population are visual learners, yet we continue to induct new employees or contractors in a classroom with a powerpoint and a written manual. If you want your message heard, you need to speak your audience’s language. Our audience is the trade sector, many of whom learnt their skills on the job and visually, which is why we have built tools reflective of that learning style and made them accessible to everyone.
Compliance is always a touchy subject in the energy efficiency sector, ask one half of the room and they will tell you poor compliance comes from people not following the rules, ask the other half and they will tell you its because there are too many rules. But what if we could resolve 95% of compliance issues simply by changing the way we communicate and train the installation teams?
Energy efficiency is a billion dollar industry and one of the cheapest ways that we in Australia will be able to achieve the Paris commitments by 2030. The solution to our problem may not be “generate more” but simply “use less!”. The first step comes from implementing effective policy to drive market transformation, then having the necessary skills and technology to implement those solutions. MAC provides an end to end solution, from consulting to design using the State based energy efficiency policies, then implementing those solutions using our trades network.
Director of Trades Services SA
Merrily (and the MAC team) have worked with our business for several years on the SA Government REES/REPS program. Our team has benefited directly from her research, strategies and advice as well as from her team’s innovative approach to training. The EEIQ portal has completely changed the way we train our field crews.
The MAC team are professional but down to earth and personable, they are all great at explaining technical concepts in ‘tradie talk’ so everyone gets it. I’m constantly blown away by how much knowledge this team has on the technical aspects of the Industry rules, no-one knows more about the energy efficiency schemes than this crew.
Our business has grown substantially whilst having MAC on-board, they don’t cut corners and always operate with integrity. They are an important part of our team.
Director of The Honest Marketer
When working with Merrily, no matter the capacity, you are treated as a respected equal. The passion, commitment and pure energy that Merrily puts not only into her business but into the entire Energy Efficiency industry is nothing short of inspirational. Merrily is a delight to work with and an opportunity not be taken lightly.
Merrily is one of those people that make you excited to go to work, she brings so much energy and positivity to the work environment. She is an excellent communicator and problem solver. She understands complex issues, and often their unintended consequences, and communicate it to a broad audience clearly and concisely.
Over the years, she has developed a unique understanding of Energy Efficiency markets, products and regulation which makes her the foremost expert in the field in Australia. I would welcome the chance to work again with Merrily at any opportunity.
I left school in my early teens, while I loved to learn, I yearned to be in the real world working and making a difference. This was a struggle for my parents to accept as they had both been academics but had always encouraged us to choose our own paths. I am a visual learner and excelled in subjects where I could see the direct impact - like, environmental science.
In 2006, I started in the energy sector at AGL. I was there for six months before they gave me a crossroads decision to make, continue in sales or take a secondment to the green policy team and learn about the incoming CPRS. I took the secondment and found my passion, incorporating green practices and policy while playing a role in the huge task of raising the profile of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the commercial sector.
Over my eight years with AGL, I accumulated a mountain of carbon abatement knowledge and eventually became known as the energy efficiency expert. In 2012, I wanted to get more hands on and started working with frontline tradespeople to witness the 'direct' impact of these initiatives.
I discovered that most tradespeople left school at a young age and, like myself, were visual learners. Many front-line workers I came across, struggled with complying with the excessive regulation and language of policy guidelines. I spent a lot of my time explaining and translating these policies into common language. It was here that I started developing ‘cliffs notes’ and short guides that were in simple and understandable terms, so that everyone could understand the concept behind the policy.
It was in this same year that I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). I found that AS drove me to work harder as I didn’t know how quickly the condition may progress and how many years I had left to ‘make a difference’. Like with anything, there are good days and bad, but it hasn’t stopped me doing what I love.
In 2014, I took the leap of faith and backed myself, setting up MAC Consulting, having no idea of the journey I was in for.
Today, MAC has 40 staff and is spread across VIC, SA and QLD. We have grown from a small consulting business to now providing thousands of energy upgrade services around the country to homes and businesses. Our trades network comprises of more than 200 electricians, plumbers, air to air mechanics and engineers.
Our online training portal EEIQ won the ‘Best Innovation in Energy Efficiency’ Award in 2018.
The courses we create are animated lessons and live action footage of energy efficiency upgrades, these help tradespeople understand the requirements by watching and not having to read ‘hundreds of pages of dry regulatory speak’.
In 2019, I was proud to be elected to the Board of the Energy Efficiency Council. A non-profit organisation that brings thought leaders from around the world to help shape energy efficiency policy in Australia.
In 2020, MAC was nominated for the Australian Small Business Champion award and acquired the largest energy efficiency trade service business in South Australia (Trades Services SA) to fully integrate training, service delivery and auditing. In 2022, we expanded our energy services to include storage and renewable energy solutions, rebranding as MAC Trade Services.
MAC continues to grow and its founding philosophy of quality and integrity still underpin all of our services.
Interestingly, my career has been built in traditionally ‘male dominated’ industries. This hasn’t always been easy and there have been a handful of times in my career that clients have asked to speak to a man or my husband, but this hasn’t stopped me nor stifled the growth of my business.
In my experience, whilst there is still a lot of unconscious sexism in the corporate world (especially in the energy sector), I have focused on getting where I want to go through pure tenacity and always delivering on more than I promise.
The diversity of the MAC team has been the key to our growth and success, we have found that our partner organisations and Boards are stronger for valuing the advice that comes from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
I'm excited for the future, 2022 seems a turning point in the Australian climate and discussions around electrification.
Adelaide Head office:
134 Fullarton Road, Rose Park, SA 5067
L4, South Tower, 339 Coronation Drive, Milton QLD 4064
L9, 435 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 1300 430 917
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