Businesses in Mildura Rural City can access Environmental Upgrade Finance for projects that help them save money and improve their economic and environmental performance. Council has partnered with Better Building Finance to offer this to local businesses.
What is Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF)?
Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) is a loan for building upgrade works, repaid via quarterly council rates. A lender provides the upfront capital for the works, which the building owner then repays through the council rates system over periods of up to 20 years. Council then remits it back to the lender.
EUF involves a three-way agreement between the property owner, Council, and lender, called an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA). It provides an incentive for building owners to upgrade their infrastructure and improve the value of their property. If the property is leased the building owner can easily share the repayments with their tenants, allowing tenants to benefit from reduced operating costs.
The key features of EUF that make it different to traditional finance are:
- Fixed interest, quarterly repayments made via a local council charge
- Up to 100% project finance, including hard and soft costs
- Loan terms can extend from 5 to 20 years to maximise business cash flow
- Loans are tied to the building, not the business owner, making them easily transferable if the building is sold
- Landlords can split repayments with tenants, with both parties benefiting from the upgrade
By using EUF to fund their building and environmental upgrades, businesses can benefit from:
- Reduced operating costs
- Positive cash flow outcome from project – often from year one
- Security from volatile energy markets
- Media and promotional opportunities
- Environmental leadership in the community
EUF can be used to fund a broad range of upgrade works which improve the energy, water and waste efficiency or sustainability of existing buildings. Popular projects include:
- Solar PV systems
- Energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits
- Lighting upgrades – LED, lighting controls and daylight sensors
- Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems
- Efficient control equipment – power control of motors, pumps, boilers and air heating/cooling systems
- Water harvesting, filtration, recycling and treatment for re-use
To qualify for EUF, applicants need to meet the eligibility criteria listed below as well as any credit criteria set by the lender:
- Upgrade to existing buildings, located on rateable land within the council boundaries
- Must have been a rateable premises for the past two years
- Must not have been in arrears with rate payments for the past three years
- Must be a commercial or farming premises with a minimum of 50% of the building operating for commercial or farming purposes
- The proposed works should deliver a positive and quantifiable environmental outcome such as energy and/or water savings or waste minimisation
- Must not be owned by a self-managed superannuation fund
EUF is simple, transparent and easy to organise. The key steps to follow are:
- Scope the environmental upgrade project with a contractor
- Better Building Finance can help connect businesses with participating lenders
- Lender provides the upfront capital for the upgrade project
- Owner (and/or tenant) makes repayments via an Environmental Upgrade Charge (EUC) on council rates
To enquire about applying for EUF contact Better Building Finance. They will check your eligibility and assist you throughout the application process.
Phone: 1300 101 223
For more information contact Mildura Rural City Council’s Energy & Water Innovation Officer on 03 5018 8100.