A new public engagement program is being designed to clearly and simply communicate the business case for Environmental Upgrade Agreements to small and medium sized building owners and tenants and help them to finance energy and environmental upgrades to their building.

The Business Case for EUAs program is being developed by Climateworks Australia and the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, working with industry and government.

“Environmental Upgrade Agreements are a proven market driven mechanism designed to make it easier for businesses to access finance for energy efficiency improvements to existing commercial, retail and industrial buildings,” said Climateworks Australia Head of Engagement, Meg Argyriou.

“Under EUAs, a finance provider lends funds to a buildings owner for energy efficiency upgrades.  This low-risk loan is repaid through a local council special charge on the land, similar to the existing council rates.

“However, many building owners and tenants are still unfamiliar with this type of finance leading to low rates of uptake of these agreements.”

Ms Argyriou said the program included an online tool which would help businesses understand the financial benefits they could achieve by financing a building retrofit in their own building with an EUA.

“The new online tool would help businesses understand the costs and benefits of an energy efficiency upgrade including the payback period, the expected reduction in carbon emissions and amount of savings made on energy bills,” she said.

“Over the next two months, we will be engaging with building owners and tenants to develop targeted and practical resources. From the middle of next year we will be conducting workshops and webinar sessions highlighting the business case for EUAs and stepping through the use of the tool.

“We will also run train-the-trainer sessions for property managers and other building service providers, energy service companies and local councils involved in providing environmental upgrade agreements.

“The program will be rolled out in New South Wales, South Australia and the City of Melbourne where the local government legislation has already been changed (or is currently being considered) to facilitate the uptake of EUAs. The resources will be designed to apply to businesses across Australia, but the program will focus on a number of regions where local government is actively working to increase the uptake of EUAs in their regions, including Adelaide, Melbourne, Parramatta, Newcastle, Sydney and Lake Macquarie.”

The program is funded by the Department of Industry, with in-kind contributions from project partners.