How to transform your business into a zero emissions haven

To mitigate the impacts of climate change, we need to halve our global carbon emissions by 2030 and reach a clean net zero emissions by 2050. But why wait until then to turn your business into a five green star paradise? 

It’s no secret that investing in environmental upgrades can save you money on power bills, freeing up cash you’ll need for other business activities. But in a marketplace where consumers value sustainability, demonstrating your commitment to treading lightly on the planet could also give you a competitive edge. 

The best part: Upgrade Finance is here to help you, whether you’re planning to install solar panels, invest in EV infrastructure, or have something else in mind. In fact, any projects that have a positive impact on the environment could be eligible for Upgrade Finance; the list of possible interventions is endless.  

And why stop at one project? With Upgrade Finance, you don’t have to compromise your vision for a more sustainable business. With loans ranging from $15,000 to more than $10million, and requiring $0 upfront, you can undertake multiple upgrades at once. These loans are backed by highly competitive interest rates, and terms as flexible as 20 years.  

You’ll also own your new assets from the day they are installed, and with savings on energy bills typically covering the cost of repayments, your business could be cashflow positive from day one.  

Ready to transform your business into a zero emissions haven? Here’s (almost) everything you could possibly fund with Upgrade Finance: 

Generate your own renewable energy…

Think of this as the foundational layer of your zero emissions building. Generating your own power not only secures your access to electricity, but forms the basis for other sustainable practices, like charging electric vehicles and running LED lights.  

For most businesses, solar panels are the obvious choice. If you’re thinking of setting up a solar array on your site, we even have a specific lending model, our Solar Fund, to help you do it (but if you’re thinking of venturing into hydro or wind power, we’d also love to hear from you).  

Whether your site is large or small, solar is perfect for businesses looking to switch to renewable energy. Especially if you have a sizeable roof to house the panels; D’Orsogna, a small goods manufacturer in West Perth, utilised their vast roof space to install a 999kW system, as well as make a strong public commitment to sustainable practice.  

Due to the size of their project, D’Orsogna were cashflow positive from year two of a ten-year loan term. And it was worth the wait; the system now saves them over $200,000 a year in energy bills and abates roughly 1880 tonnes of CO2 per annum.  

…And use that energy efficiently

Now that you have access to renewable power, it’s important to use it in the best possible way. This involves knowing how to store it, making sure any appliances are operating as energy efficiently as possible, and considering ways to reduce your reliance on electricity in the first place.  

Let’s start with storage. If you’ve opted for solar panels, you’ll want to consider installing a battery or two, depending on how much energy you’ll be generating. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of solar power when you can’t access direct sunlight, such as on cloudy days or during the night. And if there’s a blackout, you’ll have power on reserve to draw from. 

Next, it’s time to assess how efficient your appliances are, especially energy-hungry systems like heaters and air-conditioners. In fact, if your HVAC system is over ten years old, or contains a refrigerant that’s been phased out, a newer unit could be 20-40% more efficient than your existing unit. Fortunately, HVAC upgrades are eligible for Upgrade Finance. And if you haven’t already, consider switching out old light globes for LEDs.  

Even better, you could minimise your reliance on heating and cooling by improving insulation on the site. The right building insulation can eliminate up to 80% of heating and cooling losses. In addition to wall insulation, you might consider double glazing your windows, which can reduce heat gain or loss by up to 30%. You can achieve a similar effect by updating your rooftop – maybe you’re interested in a green roof, which uses plants and vegetation to absorb heat? Or perhaps a cool roof is more your style, with its reflective materials that direct heat and sunlight back into the atmosphere?  

This kind of upgrade is perfect if you discover your rooftop contains asbestos and needs to be replaced. Such was the case for Tempo Rubato, a combined music venue and co-working space in Brunswick. Upgrade Finance was used to cover the installation of a new roof, along with improved ceiling insulation, a 14.4 kW PV solar system, double glazed windows, LED lighting and more. Talk about a full building upgrade!  

Embrace active and sustainable transport

The transport sector is Australia’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, with cars responsible for roughly half of that damage. You can help reduce our collective reliance on petrol vehicles with Upgrade Finance.  

Active transport, like walking and cycling, is at the top of the sustainable transport hierarchy. If you have the space, consider using Upgrade Finance to install end-of-trip facilities, so employees and patrons alike can store their bikes with confidence.   

And if you’re looking to install solar, you can easily extend your upgrade to include a battery and electric vehicle charger. In fact, if you have access to parking space, providing a charging service is a great way to ensure customers stay on site for up to an hour. Or perhaps you’ve got plans to invest in a fleet of electric vehicles, like Plasgain, a plastic recycling facility in Drouin. As well as installing two solar systems on site, they opted for two 25kW electric vehicle charging stations to power their forthcoming electric utes.  

Mitigate the impact of waste

Whether your business is large or small, good waste management is a necessity. If your business produces a lot of waste, it’s worth looking into waste reduction technologies like compactors and onsite recycling. This can not only mitigate your business’ impact on the planet, but also help save you money.  

If a standard waste management upgrade isn’t for you, we’re happy to explore solutions that are more outside-of-the-box; have you seen what McCain have achieved with their potato waste and a cogeneration biodigester? 

A similar project we’ve funded comes from Booth Transport, a freight company in Moira Shire. They wanted to try something unique, that no one else was doing. Their extensive research led them to design a worm farm that treats waste dairy water. This Australian-first project combines a worm farm with desalination, helping to recycle 121,000 kilolitres of water back into their irrigation system per year. At capacity, this upgrade reduces 3000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The plant can also process waste from neighbouring farmers, offering even more support for other local businesses.  

Increase water efficiency

We’ve worked with clients across agriculture, commercial and industrial sectors to help businesses reduce their water usage and save money.  

As with HVAC and insulation, upgrading appliances and fixtures can lead to dramatic decreases in water usage. The Eco Laundry Room in Altona worked with us to install Tesla-branded washers and dryers. These appliances use up to 50% less water than their competitors; smart technology in the washers adjusts the water used to the size of the load, and the dryers have moisture sensors to detect when clothes are dry, reducing gas and electricity. The machines save the business $17,500 in operating costs each year and are 95% recyclable. 

Depending on your needs, it’s also worth investigating septic upgrades, grey water systems, and low flow appliances and fixtures. And if you live in an area that’s frequently hit with rain, harvesting measures like water tanks, swales and landscape upgrades are your friends.  

And so much more!

Any projects that have a positive impact on the environment could be eligible for Upgrade Finance. Remember, the list of possible interventions is endless.  

In addition to everything we’ve mentioned above, we’re also open to funding:  

  • Re-cladding: Thousands of commercial buildings around Australia may be unsafe due to combustible cladding and business owners may be required to replace their cladding to be compliant 
  • Methane capture and pollution control  
  • Projects that enhance local flora and fauna  

Have something else in mind that’s not on the list? Get in touch with us today to discuss your project and eligibility criteria for Upgrade Finance.

Sustainable Australia Fund’s minimum finance amount is $15,000 and we can fund projects up to $20 million.     


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