Building owners and tenants gain from environmental upgrades

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A 15-storey, B-grade commercial office building in Sydney will reduce its energy use by 30% thanks to financing from the CEFC through an EUA.

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greenbrickA 15-storey, B-grade commercial office building in Sydney will reduce its energy use by about 30 per cent thanks to financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA).

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said the Anglican Church on behalf of the Parish of St James, would access up to $700,000 from The Australian Environmental Upgrade Fund financed by the CEFC and National Australia Bank and managed by Eureka Funds Management.

“This latest EUA-financed project reflects a growing market for EUAs and demonstrates the typical improvements achievable in existing buildings to reduce operating costs and improve their attractiveness to tenants,” Yates said.

The finance for the upgrades to St James’ Hall at 169 Phillip Street is linked to the property and is paid back through an environmental upgrade charge on rate notices.

Tenants provide contributions equal to or less than the savings they make in their utility bills as a result of the works which are then used by the building owner to service loan repayments.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, said EUAs were helping building owners take advantage of affordable long-term financing options to improve building performance and said that “it’s encouraging to see how this innovative form of financing can dramatically improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and I hope to see many others access Environmental Upgrade Agreements to deliver great results for our city”.

Churchwarden James Balfour said that over the next few months, new air conditioning, lighting, and building management systems would be installed. “The project provides benefits for our tenants as well as for us and for the environment. It’s a win-win-win,” he said.

This specific upgrade is expected to reduce base building energy consumption by about 30 per cent, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 340 tonnes a year, according to KMH Environmental which scoped the retrofit and undertook an energy audit report on behalf of the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage.

Eureka Funds Management Director Niall McCarthy said that the unique funding mechanism offers building owners long-term capital of up to 10 years and “provides addition funding on top of existing arrangements held with banks whilst allowing the matching of the capital cost with the energy savings produced”.

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