Financing sustainable office upgrades

High-impact efficiency measures may require capital expense and a business case. Financing options can improve the business case for up-front investment or make use of operational rather than up-front capital. There are a huge range of options on offer to help finance and facilitate the greening of your office building or tenancy. Today's financing models cover building and retrofits investing in sustainable equipment and more.

Key elements

  • Overview of financing for office upgrades

    Many innovative financing models are available for sustainable office upgrades from grants, loans, leases and certificate schemes


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  • Loans and leases for office energy efficiency

    Several financing models can help businesses obtain upfront capital for energy savings that can be paid back over time.


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  • Green grants for office tenants

    Grants are available from national, state and local governments for green office programs.


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  • Certificate schemes for energy efficiency

    Victoria and NSW have certificate schemes in place that help fund and incentivise energy savings.


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Related resources

  • Financing your project

    Undertaking energy efficient upgrades or installing renewable energy makes good business sense and helps offset rising electricity and gas prices. Choosing the right finance for projects can sometimes be challenging. This guide will help you understand the different financial options available as well as step-by-step guidance in selecting the best finance for your business.




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  • Energy efficiency certification scheme

    This certification scheme offered by the Energy Efficiency Council certifies professionals that can lead comprehensive energy retrofits of commercial buildings. Certification helps building owners and managers find professionals they can trust and provides a benchmark for energy efficiency professionals.


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  • Claiming Energy Savings Certificates ('Eskis')'

    NSW businesses can improve the rate of return on investment for projects by claiming Energy Savings Certificates (aka 'Eskis') which are redeemable for cash based using NABERS ratings as evidence of savings.


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  • Data centre energy audit subsidies

    The NSW Energy Saver program is offering eligible businesses a 50% subsidy for Data Centre Energy audits when combined with a NABERS Data Centre rating to help businesses identify opportunities for improvement and cost savings.


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  • Energy Smart Finance

    This equipment leasing program by Low Carbon Australian allows businesses to invest energy efficient technology to future-proof against rising energy costs while reducing carbon emissions. It is operated through accredited vendors.


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  • Sustainable Melbourne Fund

    A fund for improving Melbourne buildings established by Melbourne City Council. The Fund provides up to 100% loan finance for building retrofit projects or for innovative technologies that deliver wider environmental benefits.


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  • Grants and Assistance Finder

    Commonwealth and State/Territory government grant programs available to support the investigation and implementation of energy efficiency projects. Be sure to check eligibility requirements and funding guideslines, which can differ significantly across programs and jurisdictions.


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  • NSW Energy Saver Program

    The Energy Saver program, by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage provides a single point of energy efficiency support for NSW businesses, helping organisations reduce energy consumption and costs. There are subsidies available for action plans and implementation.


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  • CitySwitch NABERS Energy Grant program

    Join CitySwitch and get financial assistance to help combat rising energy bills by assessing and managing your office energy use. Funding is offer for a limited time to assist businesses most capital cities with documenting their energy baseline.


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Case studies

  • Case study: Baenziger Coles

    Case study: Baenziger Coles
    Baenziger Coles, an architecture and interior design company, has further optimised office energy efficiency by investing in renewable energy. As a result of feed-in tariffs and a reduction in energy use, the Melbourne office is enjoying a good return on investment, along with annual CO2 savings.


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  • Case study: Sustainability Victoria

    Case study: Sustainability Victoria

    Sustainability Victoria's best practice Green Star fit-out is demonstrating how an office move and upgrade can be completed at competitive rates and deliver ongoing benefits including an improved quality of indoor environment, an increase in staff productivity and significant energy savings. This case study provides an overview of the relocation process and includes a number of technical information downloads detailing the materials and technology utilised.




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  • Case Studies: Energy Savings Scheme

    Case Studies: Energy Savings Scheme
    The NSW Energy Savings Scheme shares case studies of organisations that have used certificates to finance upgrades.


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Search resources

CitySwitch Signatory of the Year and New Signatory Awards - category judging criteria

  • Delivering outcomes as demonstrated by an improved or maintained current NABERS Energy rating and achieved energy savings* (up to 28 points)
  • Implementing one or more energy saving initiatives (up to 10 points)
  • Demonstrating leadership by undertaking innovative, creative or progressive office energy efficiency activities (up to 10 points)
  • Engagement of staff/ customers/suppliers and/or stakeholders to educate and create market transformation (up to 10 points)
  • Participation in CitySwitch local program activities (up to 10 points).
Note, new Signatories submitting for New Signatory of the Year Award need only complete an indicative rating – all other submissions must be accredited.

CitySwitch Partnership of the Year Award - category judging criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Submitted projects should:

  • Involve more than one registered company 
  • Demonstrate that they are  innovative and over and above “business as usual”
  • Demonstrate that they catalyse “market transformation” and or “address a market barrier”
  • Deliver a reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions within the built environment 

Judging Criteria

  • Delivering outcomes as demonstrated by an improved or maintained current NABERS Energy rating and achieved energy savings* (up to 14 points)
  • Implementing one or more energy saving initiatives (up to 10 points)
  • Demonstrating leadership by undertaking innovative, creative or progressive office energy efficiency activities (up to 17 points)
  • Engagement of staff/ customers/suppliers and/or stakeholders to educate and create market transformation (up to 17 points)
  • Participation in CitySwitch local program activities (up to 10 points)
  • The submitting entity MUST be a CitySwitch Signatory
Note, Signatories submitting for the Partnership of the Year Award may submit an accredited NABERS tenancy, whole building or base building rating.

It’s easy and free to join the program. Your good-will commitment to the program is an acknowledgement of the business sector’s role in
contributing to environmental sustainability and your intention to reduce your own energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

As part of this, Signatories to the program commit to achieve an accredited NABERS Energy tenancy rating (between 4 and 6 stars) and
work with CitySwitch to improve their tenancy’s environmental performance.

Find out more about how obtaining a NABERS Energy rating ensures you can benchmark your performance, better manage your progress
over time and promote your star rating achievement.