Making environmental upgrades to existing commercial, industrial, and large multi-unit residential buildings in NSW is now much easier, thanks to the Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs) initiative recently launched by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).
The groundbreaking agreements secure low risk finance for building owners to make energy, water and other environmental upgrades, which is attached to the land, not the building owner.
This means the finance is repaid through council charges over time, and the costs recovered by the long-term savings on bills. Landlords have the option to share their cost and loan repayments with their tenants, who are the ones who also benefit from the upgrades through lower bills.
EUA's have the potential to unlock $2 billion worth of investment in environment, create 'green' collar jobs and generate substantial cost savings for property owners and tenants.
Upgrade activities eligible for an EUA include: improving energy or water efficiency, reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, recycling, pollution prevention or reduction, renewable energy projects and activities that promote reduced car use, such as showers or bike parking racks, encouraging walking or riding to work.
The City of Sydney is the first NSW Council to offer EUAs, with other NSW councils expected to follow suit later this year.
EUAs are already available in the City of Sydney and Parramatta City Council's areas with interest mounting among progressive metropolitan and shire councils. OEH has recently provided seed funding to the City of North Sydney and City of Newcastle Councils to assist with EUA set up costs.