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Multiple initiatives, not multi-billion dollar initiatives, the key to a smart, sustainable built environment

The Victorian Government’s commitment of $3.59 million to improve the energy efficiency of Victoria’s commercial office buildings has been welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Energy Efficient Office Buildings program, announced today, will provide matched grant funding of $20,000 to $150,000 to owners of mid-tier commercial office buildings that invest in energy efficiency upgrades.

“For more than a decade, we have argued that improving the performance of our built environment requires a range of complementary measures, including both financial and non-financial incentives, and both public and private sector leadership,” says the GBCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Robin Mellon.

“We have been calling for visionary government leadership – and this program does just that. 

“We have also advocated large-scale investment in retrofitting programs – and this initiative will deliver more efficient, cost-effective, productive and environmentally sustainable buildings across Victoria,” Mr Mellon adds.

“Importantly, we have always advocated that a suite of well-considered and well-targeted programs over multiple years will deliver more improvements than one multi-billion dollar initiative.  We congratulate the Victorian Government for investing in better buildings.”

The Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Energy Efficient Office Buildings program is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 140,000 tonnes over 10 years, and complements the commitment made by the Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings program that is set to save $2 billion over 20 years.

The funding will help building owners undertake simple steps to improve building efficiency, such as fine tuning existing heating and cooling systems to run at optimal levels and monitoring energy use.  The Victorian Government estimates the program will save businesses around $9 million, while creating jobs and encourage market transformation.

“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.  When are we going to see a similar commitment from our federal leaders?” asks Mr Mellon.

The Green Building Council of Australia's three-point plan for better buildings and communities outlines three priorities – visionary government leadership, retrofitting existing buildings, and moving beyond buildings to communities –  for all political parties in the lead-up to the federal election.