South Australia’s commercial landlords can now enjoy environmental upgrades of their buildings following the commencement of new Building Upgrade Finance legislation and regulations on Tuesday. And is a first for Australia, the new rules facilitate the upgrade of heritage buildings.

The South Australian government said the changes would stimulate jobs and investment while also helping the City of Adelaide work towards becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city.

“This scheme is a win-win for all involved,” South Australian climate change minister Ian Hunter said.

“As well as helping improve our existing building stock, improve amenities for tenants and reduce emissions, Building Upgrade Finance will help stimulate jobs across the property sector.”

Building upgrade finance, also known as an environmental upgrade agreement, enables cheap financing for the upgrade of buildings, which is paid back through council rates, removing barriers associated with capital costs and the split incentive where a building owner pays for upgrades but the benefit goes to the tenant in terms of reduced costs.

Mr Hunter said he was proud South Australia had included heritage buildings in the scheme.

“Adelaide has some wonderful heritage buildings and I’m proud that South Australia is the first jurisdiction in Australia where heritage building upgrades qualify for financing under this mechanism, enabling these buildings to not only remain beautiful but also become energy efficient, environmentally friendly and more utilised,” he said.

The Property Council also welcomed the start of the new scheme.

“Building Upgrade Finance is an innovative way for owners to access finance to upgrade their assets,” PCA executive director Daniel Gannon said.

“Under this scheme, building owners will be able to improve the environmental performance of their buildings which reduces operating costs, increases yields and attracts tenants.

“This scheme is a win-win for owners and tenants.”

¥ For more information see Environment SA