The Victorian government has set aside $3.59 million in funding to improve the energy efficiency of the state’s office buildings.
The Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Energy Efficient Office Buildings program, announced last week, is a merit-based competitive grants program that will provide matched funding of $20,000 to $150,000 to owners of mid-tier commercial office buildings who invest in retrofitting, energy efficiency and low-carbon technology.
Victoria’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, said Sustainability Victoria would fund 50 per cent of the costs to eligible building owners to complete a sequence of opportunities analysis, building tuning and then 12 months of monitoring to measure the effectiveness and cost savings achieved through the building tuning upgrades.
The move has been welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia, who this week called for federal policy leadership in the development of nation-wide green building practices, and predicted the federal government could save $35 million a year on electricity costs alone by improving the energy efficiency of its buildings.
The Victorian government estimates its new program will save businesses around $9 million, while creating jobs and encouraging market transformation.
It is also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 140,000 tonnes over 10 years, and complements the government’s Greener Government Buildings program that is expected to save Victorian taxpayers $2 billion over 20 years..
“We have been calling for visionary government leadership – and this program does just that,” said GBCA COO, Robin Mellon. “We have also advocated large-scale investment in retrofitting programs – and this initiative will deliver more efficient, cost-effective, productive and environmentally sustainable buildings across Victoria.”
Mellon said the Victorian government program now sits alongside the Tasmanian government’s commitment to achieve Green Star ratings for new buildings, and the NSW government’s commitment to upgrade its portfolio of buildings.
Meanwhile, this week in Victoria saw the unveiling of one of the state’s most sustainable commercial office buildings – the $36 million, 5 green star-rated new Melbourne headquarters for Schneider Electric.
The building, which has already received a Five Star Green Star Design Certification by the Green Building Council of Australia, is also targeting a 5 star NABERS Energy and 5 star Green Star As Built rating.
It consolidates nine former sites of the energy management company, and will be home to 380 employees encompassing Schneider Electric’s IT, Energy, Buildings, Industry, ECS and Clipsal businesses.
The building showcases Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure energy efficient solution including T5 fluorescent lighting, DaliControl and C-Bus lighting control, energy monitoring and security access.
It also incorporates sustainable features like high performance double glazing, recycled materials, extensive sun shading, rainwater harvesting, chilled beam air-conditioning system and energy efficient lighting with daylight harvesting.