We had a long list of projects and many of these were excluded from our original proposal because they had a long payback period (more than 4 years). We were able to access funding for some of these through a new partnership with the Australian Carbon Trust.

- Andy Trott, Environment Manager, Australia Post

Don’t limit yourself to traditional funding sources. Know what is available and be creative.

Not every project requires funding – especially where operational changes are available at low or no cost. For these projects the direct engagement of individuals in your organisation is essential.

Funding Options

When it comes to accessing funding, there may be a range of options depending upon your circumstances. Don’t limit yourself to traditional sources. Others are often available; for example, corporate funds for projects that will have application across a range of sites or business improvement funds where your project will deliver productivity improvements.

It is important to be fully informed of funding options and the timing associated with them, because this can make the difference between a project being implemented or just sitting on the shelf. Where possible, align your efforts with the budget cycle, otherwise momentum can be lost.

Some possible funding sources include:

Funding optionDescription
Operational expenditure (Opex)Funding to maintain business operations. Opex funds have a short term focus so are more suited to lower cost/shorter payback projects.
Capital expenditure (Capex)One-off expenditure on items required to generate income in the future. Capex funds often have a mid to long term focus and may require a more competitive business case process to secure funds.
Business improvement fundsSome organisations may have business improvement programs. Energy efficiency projects may be eligible for funding through these programs where there is a significant productivity benefit.
Corporate fundingFunding may be available from Corporate Head Office to support trials and other initiatives where there are significant company wide benefits but funds are not available at the site or divisional level and/or where a project has application across a number of sites and buildings or across a fleet of vehicles.In some cases corporate funding may be available through a dedicated energy efficiency fund.
Government fundsState and Federal governments provide funds, tax rebates and a range of other initiatives. A list of current government initiatives are available on the programs section of the Energy Efficiency Exchange website.
Alternative funding options
  • Energy Performance Contracts are most commonly applied to buildings. The key feature of this approach is that an energy services company guarantees the energy savings that will be delivered. The services company is paid from these savings for the term of the contract. Once the work is completed and the contract has ended, the full savings revert to the building owner.
  • Australian Research Council grants may be available for innovative projects that require a significant amount of research.
  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation offers a number of low interest loans and innovative funding options to implement energy efficiency projects.

Case studies that you might find helpful

  • The Foster’s Group: Boiler upgrade at Cascade Brewery

    Foster’s applied for funding through the Federal Government’s ‘Retooling for Climate Change’ fund. This was included in the business case as a strategy to minimise the financial risks associated with the project, and the grant was later approved.

  • Simplot Australia: Refrigeration at the Bathurst plant

    Simplot received Energy Savings Certificates from the NSW Government, based on the level of energy savings achieved. This had a significant impact on the financial return on the project.

  • GPT: Energy performance contracting for cogeneration and energy efficiency initiatives at 530 Collins St Melbourne

    GPT established an Energy Performance Contract with an energy services company which guaranteed the energy savings, NABERS rating and greenhouse gas emissions that would be achieved.

  • Linfox: Eco-driver training

    Linfox partnered with an external training provider with IT skills to develop an on-line version of their driver training. Rather than fund the training provider Linfox allowed them to use the Intellectual Property from the course and market the training to other transport companies. This reduced the funding requirement for Linfox and also supported their aim of influencing change across the industry towards a reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia Post: External funding from Low Carbon Australia

Low Carbon Australia is a not for profit independent company established and funded by the Australian Government to help businesses and the wider community to become more energy efficient. Australia Post has developed a partnership with the Carbon Trust, which aims to:

  • increase the energy efficiency in 24 facilities by retrofitting the buildings with more efficient lighting, ventilation systems etc, where the payback period is between 4 and 8 years
  • undertake demonstration projects, such as ‘cool roof’ technology utilising a new Dulux reflective paint
  • use Australia Post’s nationwide reach to assist Low Carbon Australia to communicate the benefits of energy efficiency and carbon reduction to the wider community.
  • Funding is provided for energy efficiency projects at a low interest rate, with the loan repaid from savings generated by the project.