City of Melbourne set to become a green global leader 31 March 2010

The City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government have launched an ambitious goal to undertake green retrofits on more than two thirds of Melbourne’s commercial buildings. The Victorian Government announced $500,000 to support the expansion of the City of Melbourne program, and is looking at ways to finance the retrofits.

“The City of Melbourne has set a bold goal to refit two thirds of the city’s commercial buildings to slash their energy use. If the City and the Government set up the programs we need to achieve this goal, Melbourne will become a bona fide world leader in sustainability,” said Rob Murray-Leach, Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Efficiency Council.

Global experience shows that a major retrofit program will require:

  • Finance to support retrofitting
  • Incentives to encourage building owners to join the program
  • Engaging suitably qualified energy efficiency providers
  • Removing the barriers to distributed generation
  • Building the capacity of building owners, trades and professionals

Improving the energy efficiency of Melbourne’s buildings makes great business sense, because it would save businesses money and improve productivity. The City of Melbourne estimates that the program would create 800 new green jobs and generate $1.3 billion in economic activity.

At the same time as growing Melbourne’s economy, retrofitting existing buildings would slash the city’s emissions. Retrofitting can cut energy use in most buildings by 30 per cent or more. With the majority of Melbourne’s emissions coming from commercial buildings, this program could slash the City’s emissions by a quarter.

“Energy efficiency in buildings is one of the best ways to cut greenhouse gasses and it actually saves us money. A recent report by ClimateWorks found that we save $90 for every tonne of CO2  we save in buildings through energy efficiency,” said Rob Murray-Leach.

If we could extend this type of project to all buildings in Australia, it would save the economy billions of dollars. A report by the Centre for International Economics found that energy efficiency in the building sector would save Australia $38 billion every year by 2050, because it offsets more expensive forms of emission reduction.

“The City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government have set one of the most ambitious sustainability goals in the world, and it could be a massive boon for Melbourne. Justin Madden’s announcement of $500,000 to support the project is a great first step, and we’re looking forward to helping the City and the Victorian Government develop programs to help them reach this goal.” said Rob Murray-Leach.

The Energy Efficiency Council is the peak body for commercial and industrial energy efficiency services and products.