Who is Better Building Finance?

Better Building Finance (BBF) is an expert third party administrator of Environmental Upgrade Finance. BBF was established by the City of Melbourne in 2010 with support from Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as part of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program. Now BBF is supported by, and received funding from, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). BBF is a program of the Sustainable Australia Fund, to support councils to join this program and open the market for better buildings across Australia. Find out more.

What do Better Building Finance do?

We work as a facilitator with businesses, lenders and councils to manage environmental upgrade agreements – low cost funding for environmental upgrades. Find out more.

How is this finance possible?

In 2010 legislation is passed in the City of Melbourne to enable Environmental Upgrade Finance, and in NSW for Building Upgrade Finance (BUF), incorporating heritage upgrades. In 2015 the Victorian legislation was updated to allow all councils in Victoria to participate.

Where is this finance available?

Enabling legislation for this form of finance has been passed in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Then, individual councils need to join the program and begin offering it to local businesses. You can see a list of the councils BBF work with here.

What is an environmental upgrade agreement?

An Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA), is the tripartitie agreement between a lender, local council and property owner to upgrade their building’s environmental performance.

What is the difference between Environmental Upgrade Finance and an Environmental Upgrade Agreement?

Both terms refer to the finance agreement between building owner, council and lender that aims to make environmental upgrades possible to existing buildings.

What is the difference between Environmental Upgrade Finance and Building Upgrade Finance?

In South Australia and New South Wales the legislation is known as Building Upgrade Finance (BUF) and can include heritage upgrades. That’s it!

How do councils join this program?

To join in and start offering local businesses affordable environmental finance, councils need to cover off delegations, training, documentation, legislative requirements, risk management and application processes.

Do councils have to work with BBF?

No, BBF is a third party administration service for councils. BBF’s expert team guide councils through the whole process of joining this program, and then administering the loans for them. They can otherwise choose to self-administer and do it themselves.

Which councils do BBF work with?

BBF work with the vast majority of participating councils in Victoria and NSW. Check out the full list of our council partners here.

Why should councils join in?

There are many great reasons councils should consider this program, including:

  • Great tool for Economic Development officers to engage with businesses
  • Offers a financial solution without having to provide grants
  • Aligns with, and contributes to Councils Climate Adaptation Strategies
  • Public/private partnership that provides financial and environmental benefits to the wider community

Why should councils work with BBF?

  • Market leading offering
  • Standardised market for lenders, borrowers and suppliers
  • No upfront cost to council
  • Minimise administrative requirement
  • Expert knowledge of legislation (Vic, NSW, SA)
  • Trusted provider working with more than 30 councils

What success has BBF had?

In 2019 BBF was nominated for the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award and won the National Economic Development Award for Excellence in Partnerships.

In 2018 BBF & our Council partners achieved:

  • $20 million invested in 63 projects
  • 367,390 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) will be abated over the life of all the projects

What are the costs to council?

While there is an administrative component to this program, BBF handles a lot of it for council, and does so at no upfront cost.

How do I find out more?

Get in touch with our team and we can arrange a time to chat to your teams about whether this is the right move for you.

Who is eligible for Environmental Upgrade Finance?

To be eligible, businesses must be within a participating council municipality. Not all councils offer EUF, so check if your council does, or talk to a member of the Better Building Finance team. You also need to ensure that:

  • Building is on rateable land
  • Primarily a non-residential property
  • Upgrade has a measurable environmental benefit

This includes Agriculture, Commercial Office Building, Tourism and Commercial and Industrial properties.

Who is the money borrowed from?

Environmental finance is borrowed from a participating funding partner. Check out our partners’ page to see who offers this type of finance.

What are the benefits for business?

  • Zero upfront capital and no additional security requirements.
  • Competitive interest rates fixed for up to 10 years or more, with reduced re-financing risk.
  • Improved cash flow, with lower annual repayments offset by energy cost savings.
  • Option to share costs, delivering a better asset for the owner, and a lower-cost and improved working environment for tenants.

What are the fees?

You will be required to pay an administrative fee, which can be included in the overall finance amount. Fees vary based on council area, to find out how much you would pay, talk to us.

What is the process?

  1. Engage an installer to scope and quote on the works
  2. Your installer or you can talk to a lender about a finance option that’s right for your project
  3. After the project is greenlit, your business, local council and lender sign an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA)
  4. The lender advances funds to the installer
  5. A fixed Environmental Upgrade Charge (EUC) will be sent with your next local council rates notice

How do I make repayments?

Repayments are made directly to your council through your rates. The council will then make repayments to the finance provider.

Frequently Asked Questions