In an interview with Simon Johnston (Head of Advisory Services, 3E Group Net Zero Group) we asked him about his experience in previous roles the value he brings 3E Group clients and the team he leads.
What was your first job and what essential lessons did you learn from that experience?
Simon: “My first job out of University was as a Park Ranger at Wilsons Promontory National Park. What I really got out of it was to enjoy life, do something that you’re passionate about and if the conditions are right, go surfing on your lunch break.”
Describe your role within 3E Group
Simon: “The simplest way to explain my role is ‘I help organisations go green‘. To elaborate on that further, I work with a team of engineers to set companies on track to establish their Net Zero strategies; we carry out energy/water/waste audits and NABERS ratings; and other energy efficiency programs, including reviewing business cases for energy asset upgrades.
“I see my role as the first point of contact with the client and to develop a strong working relationship with them for the duration of their sustainability journey.”
Why did you choose to join the organisation?
Simon: “I chose 3E Group because I wanted to surround myself with industry experts; dedicated people in a company that is 100% focused on delivering sustainable outcomes. I wanted to work for an organisation whose core focus is sustainability.”
What’s your expertise and how does that benefit your clients and the broader team?
Simon: “I’ve become an expert in NABERS ratings and energy audits and I’m currently managing a range of programs focused in these areas. I’d also consider one of the stronger points is my ability to listen and understand my client’s needs, their pain points, and work with them to implement feasible solutions.”
“Companies are showing more responsibility and taking action to manage their energy use, reduce carbon emissions and improve efficiencies. They’re putting in long term Net-Zero targets and they need someone to guide them on this journey. My job is to understand where they are in this journey, what obstacles lie in the way, then guide them to their destination.”
What is your greatest professional achievement?
Simon: “Conducting the energy audit for the Sydney Opera House. I was fortunate enough to walk through every single door of the Opera House, standing on the stage of every theatre, tiptoeing across the scaffolding above West Side Story rehearsal – absolutely terrified that I make a noise and disturb the rehearsal; the network of tunnels, the seawater cooling pumps, acknowledging every light fitting and so on and so forth.”
“To top it off, devising solutions to make the Sydney Opera House a better, more sustainable place. It truly is a remarkable building with a great history. During this time, I got Sydney Opera House fever, I had a spring in my step and couldn’t put down the book ‘The House’ by Helen Pitt.”
Greatest personal achievement?
“Henry David Thoreau once wrote…
‘What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals’.
“With this in mind, I’d probably say the extensive travel that I did throughout my 20s. I’d travel for as long and far as I could on a shoestring budget and took crazy adventures on my pushbike, camping through Central America, hiking the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Australia”
“All this travel opened my eyes to the world, introduced me to its wonderful inhabitants, developed my resilience, allowed me to find my purpose and pursue a vocation of sustainability. Without this experience, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
From your experience, what are some of the common challenges you see your clients face in relation to achieving their sustainability targets? Now being on board with 3E Group in your role, in what ways are you planning to solve those challenges?
Simon: “Two things come to mind.”
“First are the clients that don’t know where or how to start their sustainability journey and are daunted by what lays ahead – By reviewing their portfolio energy consumption, we can create an easy-to-follow step by step Sustainability roadmap to get quick wins and build momentum that can be reinvested back into the program.”
“Second: The other challenge I commonly see are Managers requiring a business case to get an asset upgrade approved by an executive team. This can be resolved by undertaking a Level 2 Energy Audit where we perform a site visit and deliver a comprehensive report with business case calculations for energy efficiency upgrades (to lighting, chillers, boilers, BMS optimisations, automation and controls, + 70 others) and establish the savings to energy, costs, carbon emissions as well as implementation costs, payback periods and so on.”
Tell us something that’s not listed in your Resume: Hobbies? Passions? Life experiences?
Simon: “I’m a weekend adventurer, a bird nerd and my apartment is full of indoor plants. Ultimately, I like to have a story for my colleagues on Monday.”
Simon Johnston is the Head of Advisory Services. He brings with him more than a decade of experience in consulting and NABERS assessments. Simon holds a degree in Environmental Science (Environmental Management) from Deakin University. He also has a Cert IV in Project Management.
Simon identifies and scopes investment-grade energy and efficiency projects for organisations. Some of these may include NABERS and BEEC ratings and feasibility projects.
For expert Energy Advisors, energy assessments, Energy Audits and NABERS Ratings you can rely on, connect with 3E Group today!