The owners of the iconic Sydney Reader’s Digest building will use a local government-backed green finance mechanism to cut the 1967 building’s energy use by more than half, through a complete energy efficiency upgrade that will, ultimately, cost them less than value of the works.
The project is the result of a $1.2 million Environmental Upgrade Agreement, signed between the City of Sydney, Eureka Environmental Upgrade Finance and the building’s owner, Intrasia Oxley.
Under the EUA, Eureka EUF will provide Intrasia the funds to pay for the upgrade – which will include new lighting and air conditioning systems and is expected to slash the building’s energy use by around 60 per cent. Intrasia will then pay the money back through a fixed quarterly council charge over a 10-year period.
In NSW, the legislation allows the council charge to be treated as a recoverable building outgoing for tenants – meaning the building owner can recoup the council charge from the tenants in the same way other council charges, like Council rates, are recouped.
“It’s great news that the owners of the Readers Digest building have taken advantage of this innovative funding mechanism,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, whose council has commitment to cut the City’s carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.
“It will allow them to upgrade their building, slash emissions and use the energy savings to finance the works.”
It’s also great news for mid-century modern architecture fans, as it means the Surrey Hills building – designed by architect John James around one of Australia’s biggest computers of the time – will likely be well preserved.
“An EUA allows everyone to win,” said Eureka director Niall McCarthy in a statement on Wenesday. “The tenants pay the same or less in outgoings than they currently do but in a building which is more efficient and productive to work in.
“This means that upgrading a building outside of leasing cycles is easier, benefiting both owners and tenants sooner rather than later.”
The Readers’ Digest Building EUA is the fourth to be signed by the City of Sydney, and one of six in total to have been signed across NSW.