Council Backs Environmental Upgrade Deal for Green Future

Southern Grampians Shire Council endorsed to support a new Environmental Upgrade Agreement for local businesses for the next two years at the ordinary March Council meeting.

The Agreement will enable local businesses to access government-enabled finance for solar and building upgrades to be more environmentally friendly, improve overall sustainability and address climate change issues.

Businesses may also replace lighting, install water efficiency initiatives, electric vehicle charging stations, waste management systems, pollution control and more under the guidelines.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Councillor David Robertson said the new agreement will provide local businesses a great opportunity to make sustainable changes for a brighter future.

“It’s been a key focus for our Council to not only look at what we as an organisation is doing in relation to improving practices for the environment but also what we can do to support our community in also making positive changes for the sustainability of the region,” said Cr Robertson.

“An Environment Upgrade Agreement or EUA is an agreement between a building owner, bank and building owner’s council that facilitates an upgrade to the building to improve the overall environmental performance.

“Local business owners can take out a long-term loan for the works, which is then repaid through the business Council rates,” said Cr Robertson.

Eligibility criteria applies that business owners must pay Council rates, funding must be for a retrofit project in a non-residential building, and the project must also deliver environmental benefits in either energy, waste, and/or water.

Council have appointed Sustainable Australia Fund to work collaboratively with Council to establish, administer and support the delivery of the EUA’s trading as Better Building Finance.

To date, Better Building Finance has worked with local councils to facilitate more than 100 environmental upgrade projects at an investment of more than $40 million, generating almost 10,000kW of solar power, which will reduce carbon emissions by around 500k tonnes over the life of the projects. The term of the loan can be up to 20 years with four repayments per year which in some instances can generate cash flow positive to businesses when the savings are higher than the repayments.

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