Environmental Upgrade Agreements

Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs) are available to building owners interested in securing finance to undertake environmental improvements and retrofits to existing industrial and commercial buildings located in the Newcastle local government area.

Launched in NSW in 2011, the environmental upgrade finance mechanism is part of the NSW Government’s Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) legislation. Under this scheme, building owners can access finance to undertake upgrade works of existing commercial, industrial and non-residential buildings that will result in energy, water and other environmental savings.

An EUA is unique from other commercial loans in that the loan debt is repaid back to the financial provider via Council rates. This arrangement provides lenders with extra security, enabling them to offer building owners:

  1. Lower than market, fixed-interest rates than are normally available with standard commercial loans.
  2. Access to funding without the need for large amounts of upfront equity - significantly improves cash flow for the building owner.
  3. Longer loan terms (up to 15 years) that match environmental building upgrade payback periods.

In addition, under an EUA:

  1. The cost of the upgrade can be shared with the tenant, if the tenant enjoys savings from reduced energy or water costs.
  2. The tenant contributions can be used to service the loan and significantly improve the return on investment.
  3. Depending on the circumstances, the finance may have no impact on the building owners existing credit lines and banking relationships.
  4. The energy efficiency savings can be used to repay the loan.

Local and international studies consistently show that there are compelling benefits to be gained from a refurbished building including:

  1. Increased asset value.
  2. Improved marketability.
  3. Increased capacity to attract and retain quality tenants.

Refurbished buildings experience lower operating and maintenance costs, money through reduced energy and water use and are able to command higher rents and sale prices. The replacement of older equipment such as air conditioning and lift systems or lighting fixtures would be ideal candidates for EUA finance.

Further information about how to enter into an EUA, the benefits, steps involved and associated costs is provided in Your Guide to EUAs.

How does an EUA work?

An EUA is an agreement that is entered into between:

  • a building owner
  • a finance provider
  • Newcastle City Council.

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As illustrated by this diagram, Council uses its rates system to collect the loan repayments from the building owner. It does this by putting a charge on the land called an Environmental Upgrade Charge, which is broken up into quarterly payments over the length of the loan.

The charge (loan repayment) is sent to the building owner four times a year via Council’s rates notices. The building owner then pays the quarterly charge to the Council.

Once collected, these repayments are passed through to the lender.

The EUA loan can only be repaid through Council’s rates system. Newcastle City Council collects the agreed loan repayments from the building owners until the loan is fully repaid. If the property is sold before the loan is paid off, the loan may be transferred to the new property owner, unless paid out prior.

Further information about how to enter into an EUA, the benefits, steps involved and associated costs is provided in Your Guide to EUAs.

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For more information

To access information and fact sheets about EUAs, applicable upgrade works, the benefits and the steps involved, please read Your Guide to EUAs.

If you would like to discuss if your building upgrade is eligible or to find out more about EUAs specific to your needs, please contact Energy & Resource Management in the Projects & Contracts Unit on 02 4974 2000 or via email at: eua@ncc.nsw.gov.au

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Your Guide to EUAs

Your Guide to EUAs contains key information about EUAs including how to determine if your building is eligible for EUA finance and what is required to enter into an EUA.