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How Retail Businesses Can Fund Sustainability Projects

17 January 2017

In a challenging economic environment for retail businesses sustainability improvements can provide a much-needed boost to their bottom line.

For most retailers, energy costs from lighting, heating and cooling combine for a major portion of their operating costs. By reducing energy and materials use, as well as the amount of waste sent to landfill, retail businesses can significantly cut operating costs and improve sustainability.

Upgrading lighting is the single most effective way to reduce energy usage and can provide savings by as much as 85 percent, while regular maintenance on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is the best way to ensure the efficiency of a retailer’s operations.

Despite opportunities to improve retail sustainability, the costs of upgrading lighting systems or committing to maintenance programs can be a significant financial burden. To overcome this challenge, however, retail environments can apply for funding through federal or state government initiatives aimed at curtailing energy usage.

The Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator’s Emissions Reduction Fund offers incentives for the retail sector to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The scheme promotes the use of new practices and technologies that will reduce GHG emissions and improve energy efficiency for the business.

The Victorian Government offers the Energy Saver Incentive, which aims to help businesses cut power bills and reduce GHG emissions by providing access to discounted energy efficient products and services.

In News South Wales, the Sustainability Advantage program assists retail businesses to improve environmental performance, reduce costs and improve reputation. More than 500 participants are saving a combined $85 million a year through the program.

The NSW Government also offers the Energy Saver program, which helps retail businesses target, prioritise and implement energy efficiency opportunities. The program assists with costs of up to 50 percent off the cost of an energy audit and $10,000 to assist with technical expertise to support the implementation of a project.

Queensland’s ecoBiz program provides businesses with access to complementary tools and events to improve their energy performance. The program provides support to help track energy, water and waste usage, and measure the savings that result from implementing changes through the program.

For South Australian retail businesses, the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) provides support for reducing energy usage and improving overall sustainability. The SA Government scheme provides incentives for retailers to save energy through establishing energy efficiency and audit targets.

In the ACT, the ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program offers rebates that help businesses lower running costs by reducing water and energy usage. The rebates help businesses upgrade to more energy and water efficient equipment, including lighting, heating or cooling, and toilets or tapware.

New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) helps fund energy audits to allow retail businesses to identify energy and cost-saving opportunities. Funding can be sourced for audits of a number of technology systems, including compressed air, pumping and fans, process heating and refrigeration.

Each of these schemes is accepting applications, which can be completed on their respective websites. Programmed is available to work with you to apply for, and invest the funds on, energy and sustainable initiatives that improve a business’s bottom line, while also reducing their environmental impact.

Providing consulting and implementation services, the Programmed team provides unbiased, vendor independent solutions to improve energy and sustainability outcomes in retail environments. If you are interested in discussing solutions that improve sustainability, contact Programmed now.

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