Introducing the Sustainable Australia Fund
We have some big news... We've grown beyond our Melbourne home and are now preparing to work with businesses across Australia to achieve their environmental upgrades. The Sustainable Melbourne ..
Last week Four Pillars took home World’s Best Signature Botanical Gin at the 2021 World Gin Awards.
Fans of their prize–winning Olive Leaf Gin can now enjoy their G&T guilt free, knowing the production was powered by renewable energy.
The multi-award winning gin makers recently made moves towards a greener future, with a 65.88 kW solar system installed on the roof at their Healesville distillery.
The system, designed by Cherry Energy Solutions, is expected to save the business $12,800 each year, and reduce their emissions by 1,600 tCO2-e over the life of the project. That’s the equivalent of powering 185 homes for a year!
The system was financed through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement, a form of government-enabled finance for upgrade works that improve a building’s environmental performance. This is the 7th Environmental Upgrade Agreement in the Yarra Ranges Council, with funding provided by Sustainable Australia Fund.
“It’s an absolute ‘win-win’ for the businesses that have jumped on board,” said Cr Fiona McAllister, Mayor of Yarra Ranges Council.
Sustainable Australia Fund CEO Scott Bocskay said the finance is hugely beneficial for businesses, as it covers 100 per cent of the cost for energy efficiency upgrades without requiring any upfront capital.
“It puts cash back in the pockets of the business owners. With terms of up to 20 years and low interest rates, the repayments are so low that the business is often making money from their upgrades from the very first year,” said Mr Bocskay.
“Environmental Upgrade Finance just makes so much sense for local business. They get to cut their carbon emissions without having to outlay any costs whatsoever, and they even improve the value of their building.”
Four Pillars was established in 2013 by co-founders Cameron McKenzie, Matt Jones and Stuart Gregor. What started with a single copper still has now grown to become a household name and the team have won International Gin Producer of the Year for two years running.
Co-Founder Cameron McKenzie said the new solar system isn’t just about the cost savings.
“Environmentally it’s 100% the right thing to do and we get great feedback from customers who walk through the door,” said Mr McKenzie.
Mr McKenzie said the process of financing and installing the new solar system was easy, transparent and rewarding. But the team aren’t content to stop there; Four Pillars are currently planning a $6 million expansion, designed by sustainable design firm Breathe Architecture. They plan to incorporate more solar power and other waste reduction initiatives in the new gin hub.
“If there’s an option anywhere in the business to be more sustainable, we’ll always try. This goes for power, water, waste, recycling. We can always improve in these areas, so when it’s made very easy like our solar system, it becomes a no-brainer.”
Sustainable Australia Fund is Australia’s leading provider of Environmental Upgrade Finance. Originally established by the City of Melbourne in 2002, in 2019 the Fund was significantly recapitalised and scaled, through a partnership with Bank Australia, to drive environmental upgrades across Australia.
About Environment Upgrade Finance
Environmental upgrade finance, also known as building upgrade finance, is a government-enabled funding mechanism for upgrading existing building stock to be more environmentally friendly. Business owners can take out a long-term, fixed-rate loan for the total cost of the works, which is then repaid through their local council’s rates system. Examples of projects that could qualify for this type of finance include lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning upgrades, solar installations, and water and waste minimisation. To be eligible for the finance, building owners must pay Council rates, ensure the planned works are improvements to non-residential buildings, and deliver environmental benefits, such as energy, water and waste savings.
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