Australian Govt pledges cash support for green building

The Australian Government has set up a fund to support retro-fitting existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency and offset the cost of training for those working in the industry.

The commitment of Aus$90m (£44m) has been welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia, which said government backing for environmentally-friendly practices sent the right message to developers.

Developers will be able to apply for grants of up to $200,000 or 50% of the cost of the work, with priority being given to larger buildings of over 5,000 square metres.

The program will also help industry associations and NGOs enhance training and develop energy-efficient operating and maintenance advisory guides.

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said: “For too long the importance of greening the built environment had been ignored, the GBCA welcomes the Rudd Government putting back on the agenda green buildings through initiatives such as the Green Building Fund as it represents a national approach that promotes sustainable design, technology, systems and generation measures for all buildings but particularly existing commercial office buildings.”

“International experience and local research provides overwhelming evidence that the built environment can achieve substantial abatement at no expense to the economy.

“We know that buildings account for nearly a quarter of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

“The 4th International Panel of Climate Change report showed that buildings represent the single biggest opportunity for greenhouse gas abatement globally, exceeding energy, transport and industry sectors combined,” Ms Madew said.

The Green Building Fund is part of the Clean Business Australia initiative – a $240 million partnership between government and industry to deliver energy and water efficient projects.

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