Net Balance executive director Terence Jeyaretnam

8 August 2013 – The CitySwitch green offices program is about to go national and regional after the Net Balance Foundation won a grant this week from the Federal government of $1 million to be partner in the work.

The grant, over the next two years, is from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism as part of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants program.

Three new staff will be appointed. First to be confirmed is a former CitySwitch program manager Jeff Elliott who previously worked for the program through the City of Port Phillip, until recent funding cuts.

Christina Hughes will join the Sydney office and Alex Stathakis will join the Brisbane office.

The program has had strong take-up in major cities. The website nominates 431 offices and 375 signatories in the program, which runs popular annual awards. But the program has been limited by reliance on local council funding, not always available in suburban or regional local government.

National program coordinator Esther Bailey from the City of Sydney said the extra funding would transform CitySwitch.

“This new funding provides a huge opportunity to commercial office tenants around Australia to join our existing network of businesses that are reaping the benefits of energy-efficient offices and the lower operating costs they deliver,” Ms Bailey said.

Executive director of Net Balance Terence Jeyaretnam said: “The CitySwitch program is closely aligned with Net Balance’s ambition to enable and accelerate resilience, efficiency and innovation through sustainability in organisations right around Australia, irrespective of their size and financial capacity.

“We are excited to partner with CitySwitch, and work with the Federal Government to help expand the depth and reach of the program to regional Australia.”

Signatories include Merrill Lynch, Leightons, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and the Australian Nurses Federation.

First regional signatory is Viatek, a technology solutions provider to regional businesses in NSW and Victoria, for its offices at Warragul, 100 kilometres southeast of Melbourne.

The company has made a commitment to a 4 star NABERS Energy rating and as part of the company’s overall sustainability goals.

In Sydney, legal firm Norton Rose Australia is saving $42,000 a year on energy bills in its 8900 square metre tenancy after signing up to CitySwitch in 2010.

And in Melbourne, recent CitySwitch Award winners Tract Consultants and GIW Environmental Solutions (architectural and urban design firms) cut energy use in their shared office by 10 per cent putting them on track to save $4400 a year and achieve a 4 star NABERS energy rating.