We are thrilled to announce the largest Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) project in regional Australia. The agreement between Booth Transport, Moira Shire Council and Sustainable Australia Fund has given a huge boost to EUAs in regional Victoria. This is also the largest non-office EUA project in Australia.

Booth Transport, a national freight and logistics service provider, has installed nearly half a megawatt of solar, LED lighting and Tesla batteries on their Laverton and Strathmerton sites. These two projects have been financed with EUAs. A third EUA project will fund the installation of a $4M water treatment plant at Booth’s Milk Transfer Station in Strathmerton, Northern Victoria.

This state of the art facility allows dairy companies to supply milk to their respective factories without last minute changes. This is done by replacing farm pick-up vehicles with higher capacity linehaul tankers. The facility also includes sophisticated wash-bays to change tanker loading from one product to another safely.

Streamlining systems for a better financial and environmental outcome

Australia’s rainfall patterns are among the most variable in the world, and prolonged periods of dry weather are normal. However, climate change predictions indicate longer, more severe periods of dry weather. This project responds to these climatic variables while also being a commercially imperative investment yielding both public and private benefits. This project adds to the supply of water for the region in a way that is both environmentally and financially beneficial to Booth Transport, and the wider community.

Currently, waste water generated from washing the milk tanks and storage silos is transported off site for disposal. By treating the water onsite, the project will add 121,000 kilolitres back into the irrigation system each year.

Onsite treatment will also minimise the number of truck journeys to discharge waste water, minimising the usage of diesel fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,749 tonnes each year.

The development is also projected to deliver over $1.2 million in cost savings for Booth Transport and is expected to create 77 jobs in Moira Shire.

A national agricultural first

The technology and system combines a worm farm (through which the water will be filtered for dairy proteins to be ingested by worms) and capacitive deionisation (desalination). Although well established in Chile and USA, it is the first of its kind here in Australia. Booth undertook a number of site visits in North and South America to observe the functionality of the worm farm before importing the technique from Chile.

Moira Shire started to offer EUAs in October 2017 and signed its first EUA with Booth Transport. Since then, EUAs have enabled almost $5M worth of investments in the region. Mayor Libro Mustica said, “The much-needed jobs resulting from this investment will play an important role in not only retaining, but attracting people to our region. This project will also provide economic stimulation in Moira Shire and the broader region, benefiting other businesses in the supply chain.”

The $4 million funding to build a specialised water treatment plant incorporates innovative technology that hasn’t been used in Australia before, and will allow more than 120 million litres of recycled water to flow back into the irrigation system each year. This will have a direct impact on the local dairy and agricultural businesses.

Scott Bocskay, CEO at Sustainable Australia Fund, said, “financing the project with an Environmental Upgrade Agreement has allowed Booth Transport to invest more capital sooner, into the Strathmerton site and local community. This EUA demonstrates the diversity of projects EUAs are applicable to, and demonstrates the simplicity of this new financing mechanism”.

The future of EUF in Australia

EUF (Environmental Upgrade Finance) is a growing form of finance that allows local businesses to invest in building upgrade and environmental sustainability projects. It’s designed to reduce operating costs and increase the capital value of assets while improving energy, waste or water efficiency. EUF is a product created by the City of Melbourne, with the model now replicated across three states in Australia.

EUF lenders, like Sustainable Australia Fund, provide finance to building owners for environmental upgrades, with the local council then collecting the repayments through its rates system and passing them onto the lender. EUAs also help businesses overcome cash flow concerns by providing 100% finance with flexible repayment options. Use of the council rates system means that loans are more secure, allowing lenders to offer more competitive loan terms. This process is facilitated by an administrator like Better Building Finance.

If you’re a local council looking to get involved in EUAs, give Better Building Finance a call. We’re here to facilitate the process for you, liaising with all parties involved to make it as smooth as possible.