Environmental Upgrade Agreements

Solar panels installed at ATUNE in Cardiff South.jpg

Council is partnering with Better Building Finance to offer businesses and commercial building owners the opportunity to borrow money with very favourable terms so they can upgrade their buildings to save on energy, water and waste. It involves an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA) between the building owner, financier and council.

This is a new and growing form of finance designed to make buildings better, and aligns with Council’s Better Buildings Strategy. Increasing your businesses resource efficiency can provide you with significant cost benefits.

We’re helping local businesses unlock savings with Environmental Upgrade Agreements to finance environmental improvements.

Businesses in Lake Macquarie can access finance for projects that help them save money and improve their economic and environmental performance through a partnership between Lake Macquarie City Council and Better Building Finance.

How does it work?

Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) involves a three-way agreement between the business owner, Council, and lender, called an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA).

It provides an incentive for building owners to upgrade their infrastructure and improve the value of their property. If the property is leased the building owner can easily share the repayments with their tenants, allowing tenants to benefit from reduced operating costs, and owners to improve the value of their asset.
The key features of EUF that make it different to traditional finance are:
  • Fixed interest, quarterly repayments made via a local Council charge;
  • Up to 100% project finance, including hard and soft costs;
  • Loan terms can extend from 5 to 20 years to maximise business cashflow;
  • Loans are tied to the building, not the business owner, making them easily transferrable if the building is sold;
  • Landlords can split repayments with tenants, with both parties benefiting from the upgrade; and
  • No requirement for personal, business or other forms of security to be provided.

Benefits to businesses

By using EUF to fund their building and environmental upgrades, businesses can benefit from:

  • Reduced business operating costs;
  • Positive cashflow outcome from project – often from year one;
  • Security from volatile energy markets;
  • Media and promotional opportunities;
  • A better working environment; and 
  • Environmental leadership in the community

What can be funded?

EUF can be used to fund a broad range of upgrade works, such as solar, waste, and water projects. It just needs to improve the energy, water, environmental efficiency or sustainability of existing buildings. Popular projects include:

  • Solar PV systems;
  • Energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits;
  • Lighting upgrades e.g. LED, lighting controls and daylight sensors;
  • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems;
  • Efficient control equipment e.g. power control of motors, pumps, boilers and air heating/cooling systems; and
  • Water harvestings, filtration, recycling and treatment for re-use


To qualify for EUF, applicants need to meet the eligibility criteria listed below as well as any credit criteria set by the lender:

  • Upgrade to existing buildings, located on rateable land within the Council boundaries.
  • The proposed works should deliver a positive and quantifiable environmental outcome such as energy and/or water savings or waste minimisation.
  • Must be up to date on all rates and charges due to Council.
  • Property type must be predominantly non-residential (such as commercial or industrial) and not be owned by a self-managed superannuation fund.

Learn more about eligibility by contacting Building Better Finance.

Next steps

EUF is simple, transparent and easy to organise.

The key steps to follow are:

  1. Scope the environmental upgrade project with a contractor
  2. Better Building Finance can help connect businesses with participating lenders
  3. Lender provides the upfront capital for the upgrade project
  4. Owner (and/or tenant) makes repayments via an Environmental Upgrade Charge (EUC) on Council rates

Frequently asked questions

Find out more by reading Building Better Finance Frequently Asked Questions.