By Cameron Jewell
26 August 2013 — The Victorian government has announced $3.59 million in funding to improve the energy efficiency of the state’s commercial office buildings.
The Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Energy Efficient Office Buildings program will provide matched grant funding of between $20,000 and $150,000 to mid-tier commercial office building owners to deliver energy savings.
Through the program the government hopes to increase productivity and reduce costs for building owners.
“The commercial building sector is a significant consumer of energy and producer of greenhouse gas emissions, with older and less efficient office buildings estimated to emit the equivalent of more than 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 per year,” environment and climate change minister Ryan Smith said.
“The Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Energy Efficient Office Buildings program is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 140,000 tonnes over 10 years.”
Funding would be used to help owners take steps to improve efficiency through:
- Opportunities Analysis: providing an opportunities report on the current energy efficiency of building systems such as lighting, lifts, and heating, ventilation and airconditioning systems and identifying opportunities for improvement
- Building tuning: delivering energy efficiency building upgrades through tuning of building services and operations
- Monitoring: implementing metering and monitoring to enable an evaluation of building performance for the 12-month period following building tuning, in order to measure the effectiveness and cost savings achieved through the building tuning upgrades
“Buildings involved in the program will be eligible for energy audits and monitoring to identify opportunities to improve efficiency through low-cost operational and maintenance improvements,” Mr Smith said.
“Many of these measures have a payback period of less than three years and the total program is expected to save Victorian businesses around $9 million. We also expect the program to create jobs and seed the market for further upgrades.”
The Green Building Council of Australia welcomed the program, saying it was an example of “visionary government leadership”.
“We applaud the commitment by the Victorian Government to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, which 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,” said GBCA chief operating officer Robin Mellon.
“When are we going to see a similar commitment from our federal leaders?”
Applications for the program open 9 September.