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City Central Motel and Apartments owner Linda Close with solar installation in the background.

Going green through innovative scheme

News Article Date: 
Monday, 10 February 2020

A Warrnambool business is adding major sustainability upgrades to its buildings thanks to a new incentive scheme.

Warrnambool’s City Central Motel and Apartments is adding a 20-kilowatt photovoltaic array, water tanks, double glazing and insulation through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement.

Owner Linda Close says the outcome will be more comfortable accommodation for guests, a reduction in the environmental footprint of the business and lower operating costs.

“Motels traditionally are not very environmentally friendly, they are big energy users,” Ms Close said.

“We are hoping to reduce our environmental impact and make the accommodation more comfortable for guests.”

Through the Small Business Festival Ms Close learnt about Environmental Upgrade Agreements where businesses can access finance through the Sustainable Australia Fund.

The fund, originally established by the City of Melbourne, provides competitive loans which are repaid through Council rates.

The loan is attached to the property rather than an individual and can be repaid over several years.

Before undertaking the sustainability measures Ms Close took advantage of Council’s free sustainability business audit service shortly after taking over the motel in late 2017.

That process looked at the motel’s energy consumption and what actions would have the greatest impact for the business.

“I would highly recommend it because you are tapping into a whole platform of experts who are there to help and take you through the process,” Ms Close said.

“You have to provide a certain amount of documentation but no more than you would for any other financial arrangement.

“It’s rigorous but not onerous.

“And because it is an unsecured loan it does not affect your ability to access other commercial loans.”

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Tony Herbert said the Council was pleased to be able to support sustainability initiatives for residents and businesses.

“These programs can make a huge difference for businesses and if you can cut carbon emissions, improve the customer experience and reduce operating costs that’s a great outcome,” Cr Herbert said.

“Council has made commitments to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the municipality and the work done by City Central Motel and Apartments sets a great example for other businesses who might be thinking along similar lines.”

In addition to the major work being done at the motel, it also has FOGO kitchen caddies in each room which are lowering the volume of waste being sent to landfill.

Warrnambool businesses interested in reducing utility bills can contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on 5559 4800 or go to www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/find-funding

Businesses wanting to know more about Environmental Upgrade Agreements need to contact: Sustainable Australia Fund www.sustainableaustraliafund.com.au/ or 1300 432 044.

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