The Green Building Fund has been set up to assist in the retrofitting of existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency or other elements of environmental performance.

Individual grants will range from AU$50,000 to AU$500,000 (slightly more than £20,000 to £200,000) and aim to tap into the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the country’s existing building stock.

The grants will require match funding from the private developers.

Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research said at the launch of the initiative: “The programme aims to reduce the green house gas emissions from the day-to-day running of commercial office buildings.

“These buildings are a major contributor to the nation’s emissions, making this a critical initiative,”

“The Green Building Fund is the third and final part of the Australian Government’s $240 million Clean Business Australia initiative.

“Clean Business Australia is all about the Rudd Government working with business to tackle the challenge of climate change.

“The programme will provide grants to owners of existing commercial office buildings for retro-fitting and retro-commissioning projects that reduce energy consumption and emissions.

“Eligible projects can include upgrades to office lighting and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Improved glazing and shading, or investment in monitoring equipment and control systems to improve the building’s energy efficiency may also be covered.

“I’m especially keen to encourage projects that involve small, lower grade buildings, where there is real scope for improvement. The program has been designed to support this.

“Grants are also available to develop the knowledge, skills or capability of those involved in operating commercial office buildings, to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Grants of up to $200,000 will be available to relevant industry organisations, on a dollar-for-dollar basis.”

Clean Business Australia has two other elements. Climate Ready supports the development of technologies and services that provide climate change solutions. Re-tooling for Climate Change helps small and medium-sized manufacturers improve the energy and water efficiency of their production process.

Sam Bond

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