The finance deals helping governments green city buildings

Environmental Upgrade Agreements, a government-driven approach to financing emissions reductions, are helping to cut carbon in Melbourne and NSW.

Climate policy might have stalled in Canberra, but state and local governments are still making efforts to find innovative ways to cut carbon emissions. Environmental Upgrade Agreements — finance for private organisations to install energy-saving retrofits — are catching on.

EUAs, first instituted in Australia in 2011, are available for projects like installing new lighting, water-saving measures, heating, air conditioning and other means of improving energy use.

EUAs involve three parties: the property owner, financial institution and local council. The financier provides an upfront sum to the building owner to make the upgrade, while repayments are collected by local government through a mechanism similar to council rates, which are then passed on to the financial institution.

The energy cost savings resulting from the upgrade will help offset ongoing costs, so that efficiency upgrades will be relatively cheap or cost-neutral, making it reasonable for building owners and tenants to share the upgrade costs. This helps to overcome the disincentive for building owners to make environmental retrofits when it is tenants who will benefit from lower energy or water bills.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.