The new Property Council of Australia/IPD Green Property Investment Index has for the first time given the Australian market clear evidence of the importance of green investment revealing that office buildings with an environmental rating outperform non-rated buildings.
Under the Green Building Council's Green Star IEQ-13 Rating Tool, paints account for 2 credits. However, specifiers should choose ultra-low VOC paints at all times, for exterior and interior because VOCs are an environmental issue, not just a threat to indoor air quality.
Look for third party certification of a product's environmental performance. Products which carry the Good Environmental Choice Ecolabel automatically meet the GBCA Green Star guidelines. Using a GreenPainter can protect your building's Green Star rating.
Indoor Air Quality and Productivity
The CSIRO estimates that poor indoor air quality costs the Australian community about $10 billion annually in lost productivity. Offices, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and commercial buildings that undergo painting maintenance can save thousands of dollars by using commercial grade zero-VOC paints because employees can return to work quicker and facilities may not need to closed while maintenence is carried out.
What is an Environmental Upgrade Agreement?
An EUA is a tripartite agreement between a building owner, a local council and a finance provider. Under an EUA, a finance provider lends funds to a building owner for water, energy and other environmental upgrades, including the application of cool coatings. The financed amount is then levied as a special charge by the local council, who collects the repayments and pays the financial institution.
A change in Victorian legislation now allows the Sustainable Melbourne Fund to administer Environmental Upgrade Agreements on behalf of the City of Melbourne. EUAs are a key component of Melbournes 1200 Buildings program. Under this program landlords can apply for funding to apply cool coatings to a roof.
Common improvements are pre-approved for environmental upgrade charges. These improvements have been deemed to have a good track record of producing energy or water savings or renewable energy in most settings. Any common improvement included in an application does not need to undergo additional review or approval for eligibility.
According to the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, "A cool roof is a roof with a high solar reflectance and thermal emittance. Cool roofs can decrease the building cooling load, and the urban heat island effect. A low solar reflecting roof, such as a black roof can reach temperatures of up to 70 degrees Celsius, leading to an increased building heat load. In Melbourne, which has a greater number of cooling degree days than heating degree days, the use of a cool roof to reduce air conditioning load can lead to energy savings. The cool roof can be created via a choice of roof material or, in the case of a retrofit, can be made by applying a solar reflective coating to its surface."
Suppliers should be willing to provide warranty for the application of their product. Landlords should contact their local Accredited GreenPainter for more info on cool coatings with warranties that meet the requirements.
The NSW Government passed legislation in 2011 allowing local governments in NSW to enter into EUAs with owners of eligible buildings and finance providers as a way of funding upgrades to existing buildings.
The City of Sydney and Parramatta City Council have both established EUA arrangements for building owners within their local government areas and several more councils in NSW are planning to offer EUAs.
Commercial buildings that use an Accredited GreenPainter will also achieve higher rental returns and resale value.