Grant boost to help more businesses save on energy

CitySwitch is delighted to announce, the program can now deliver carbon-cutting benefits to office-based businesses based outside capital city CBDs and in regional areas across Australia.

The program has received $1 million from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism as part of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program. To be paid over two years, the grant will allow the not-for-profit Net Balance Foundation to employ staff to extend its reach, providing expert energy-saving advice to many smaller commercial organisations that do not have access to the CitySwitch program.

CitySwitch national program coordinator Esther Bailey from the City of Sydney said the extra money will transform CitySwitch.

“This new funding provides a huge opportunity to commercial office tenants around Australia to join our existing network of businesses that are reaping the benefits of energy-efficient offices and the lower operating costs they deliver," Ms Bailey said.

Terence Jeyaretnam, executive director of Net Balance says, "the CitySwitch program is closely aligned with Net Balance's ambition to enable and accelerate resilience, efficiency and innovation through sustainability in organisations right around Australia, irrespective of their size and financial capacity. 

"We are excited to partner with CitySwitch, and work with the Federal Government to help expand the depth and reach of the program to regional Australia," Jeyaretnam said.

CitySwitch currently represents 375 signatories who have 431 separate tenancies occupying almost two million square metres of office space. Organisations including Merrill Lynch, Leightons, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and the Australian Nurses Federation are some that have recently joined and are now enjoying the benefits.

Viatek, a technology solutions provider to regional businesses in NSW and Victoria, Warragul branch is CitySwitch’s first Signatory to sign on since the program expansion. Sally Fox, environmental and sustainability champion of Viatek commented, “We are extremely pleased to be a part of CitySwitch, and to have support in implementing effective measures to help our business improve its energy efficiency.”

Viatek have made a commitment with CitySwitch to achieve a 4 star NABERS Energy rating and as part of the company’s overall sustainability goals are keen to embed improved efficiencies in everyday business including technology, procurement, and distribution.

In Sydney, legal firm Norton Rose Australia is saving $42,000 per year on energy bills in its 8,900 square metre tenancy after signing up to CitySwitch in 2010

And in Melbourne, recent CitySwitch Award winners, Tract Consultants and GIW Environmental Solutions (architectural and urban design firms), cut energy use in their shared office by 10 per cent putting them on track to save $4,400 per year and achieve a 4 star NABERS energy rating thanks to help from CitySwitch.

The boost in funding coincides with the recent launch of the program’s comprehensive online resource hub. These resources help tenants with tips and advice ranging from setting up a switch-off behaviour change program, to explaining the different government grants available for sustainable office upgrades.

CitySwitch Signatories have free access to impartial advice, resources and financial assistance for getting improved energy ratings. CitySwitch holds regular workshops and information sessions where members share ideas and learn new ways to make their businesses more sustainable.

The three new CitySwitch program managers as appointed by Net Balance Foundation are Alex Stathakis (formerly with Low Carbon Australia) to be based in Brisbane, Jeff Elliott (former program manager for CitySwitch with the City of Port Phillip) to be based in Melbourne, and Christina Hughes (former Environmental Sustainability Manager with Stockland). All three bring a wealth of experience as the program evolves to meet tenant needs.

For more information on how regional tenancies can get involved in CitySwitch contact Christina Hughes at the Net Balance Foundation at christina@netbalance.com or on (02) 9249 2100.



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