Community Climate Change and Energy Action Program: Guidelines

Last updated: 8 July 2021

1. About the funding

Sustainability Victoria (SV) is supporting Community Groups to make their facilities more energy efficient through the Community Climate Change and Energy Action program (Program).

Round 1 funding is available now through 2 streams:

  • Stream 1: Audit grants support Detailed Energy Audits on existing community facilities to provide an overview of a facility’s operational energy use and determine possible energy improvement upgrades.
  • Stream 2: Implementation grants
    • Tier 1: Project grants support projects targeting a reduction in operational energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Tier 2: Innovation and best practice grants fund projects that support a quick change towards a building that is highly energy-efficient and fully powered from on-site renewable sources (net zero carbon).

Grants are available for Community Groups that are best placed to deliver energy outcomes in their community. Up to 3 rounds of funding will be available over 2 years or until the grants are fully subscribed.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, 20 August 2021 for round 1. Stream 1 applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis, and should be submitted as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Late applications will not be accepted except under exceptional circumstances.

Funding outcomes

The program aims to:

  • save $680,000 in energy costs per year
  • reduce 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year
  • invest $3 million in Community Groups.

Funding available

Stream 1: Audit grants

  • up to $5,000 per application.

Stream 2: Implementation grants – Tier 1: Project grants

  • up to $25,000 per application.

Stream 2: Implementation grants – Tier 2: Innovation and best practice grants

  • up to $50,000 per application.

Co-contribution

Applicants are required to meet the following co-contribution requirements:

  • Stream 1: No co-contribution is required.
  • Stream 2: for every $1 funded, the Applicant must contribute $1.
  • In-kind contributions will not be considered as part of the financial co-contribution.

Funding timelines

These timelines are indicative only and may change.

  • Round 1: Now to 20 August 2021
  • Round 2: Late 2021
  • Round 3: Early 2022

2. Why is the Victorian Government providing this funding?

The Victorian Government funding is part of COVID-19 stimulus response measures. Investing $3.1 million in local Community Groups overcomes the barrier of groups not having resources and expertise to improve their facilities. By subsidising up to 50% of the costs for implementing energy-efficient measures, the Program helps to reduce energy operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

This Program is designed to deliver on Victoria’s Climate Change policy targeting net zero emissions by 2050. Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of community facilities is a cost-effective activity that also benefits the whole community.

3. Eligibility

3.1 Who can apply?

Funding is available to:

  • Community Groups who own their own premises
  • local government who owns premises operated by Community Groups.

To be eligible for funding applicants must:

Who cannot apply?

  • Community Groups that do not own their own assets and are renting or leasing premises from an individual or private entity
  • Individuals
  • Businesses
  • Alpine Resort Management Boards or other organisations located on Crown Land.

3.2 Eligible Projects

Stream 1: Audit grants

  • Detailed Energy Audits on existing community facilities to provide an overview of a facility’s operational energy use and determine possible energy improvement upgrades.
  • Detailed Energy Auditor costs.
  • Consultancy costs.

Stream 2: Implementation grants – Tier 1: Project grants

  • Projects that focus on the reduction of energy bills and/or greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Capital purchases (e.g. infrastructure or equipment) including energy-efficient or renewable energy technology.
  • Consultancy or project management costs.
  • Costs relating to the demonstration of new technologies.

Stream 2: Implementation grants – Tier 2: Innovation and best practice grants

  • Projects that support a quick change towards a building that is highly energy-efficient and fully powered from on-site renewable sources (net zero carbon).

All Streams

  • New planned projects that have not yet started at the time of grant application.
  • Projects that are implemented and serviced in Victoria.
  • Projects that will be commissioned and operational/completed within 6 months of signing a funding agreement with SV.

3.3 What will not be funded?

Projects that:

  • are being undertaken to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice or order
  • do not demonstrate energy usage and/or greenhouse gas emissions reduction
  • do not meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • are completed or have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement with SV and request retrospective funding
  • have commenced construction of infrastructure before signing a funding agreement with SV
  • have been approved for funding under any other state-based grants scheme.

The following is ineligible for funding:

  • lease or purchase of land
  • permit, licensing, approval costs
  • routine or cyclical maintenance works with no energy reduction benefit
  • repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire or other natural disasters where damage should be covered by insurance
  • operating costs (e.g. staff costs, such as salaries, electricity, water and other utilities)
  • marketing, advertising, promotional costs
  • purchase of vehicles (e.g. front-end loaders, forklifts, electric vehicles)
  • pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • travel, conferences and other educational activities.

4. Assessment

4.1 Assessment Criteria

Stream 1: Audit grants

Applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis against the following criteria:

What

Describe the facility where the proposed audit will take place and:

  • provide details of the Service Provider who will be undertaking the Detailed Energy Audit
  • provide a quote that outlines the proposed standard of audit for each site (i.e. Type 1 or Type 2), including why the chosen type is appropriate, and what will/won’t be included in the audit.
Why

Demonstrate why the facility needs an audit including why:

  • the site was selected (e.g. age of building, current use, annual energy cost, project annual energy cost, cost impacts on users)
  • this facility was identified to deliver energy savings and how that would benefit the Community Group.
How

Demonstrate viability to successfully complete the audit including:

  • resources (e.g. key staff, staff time, site access and data) that will be provided to the energy auditor.

Stream 2: Implementation grants

Applications will be assessed using a contested, merit-based process against the following criteria:

What (40%)

Demonstrate the project meets fund objectives and outline:

  • proposed energy upgrade works that will be undertaken at the facility
  • the scope of each upgrade activity (e.g. specifications of plant or equipment installed, number of fixtures retrofitted, size and type of solar photovoltaic systems installed)
  • expected greenhouse gas emissions savings
  • energy bill savings for Community Groups including estimated cost savings (gas and electricity) and simple payback (years) for each upgrade activity
  • details of the Service Provider who will be managing the listed upgrades, and details of any sub-contractors (including providing a quote).
Tier 2 - Additional Criteria
  • New or innovative energy-efficient/renewable energy technology that will be utilised.
  • How the project achieves a net zero carbon outcome for the community facility.
Who (20%)

Demonstrate the participants’ capability and capacity to successfully deliver the project including:

  • skills and knowledge
  • resources
  • relevant experience applicable to the project.
Why (20%)

Demonstrate why the project is needed including:

  • why the chosen facility/ies have been identified to deliver energy savings
  • percentage of energy savings that benefit the Community Group
  • how the project provides value for money for Victorians.
How (20%)

Demonstrate viability to successfully deliver the project including:

  • feasibility to deliver milestones within the timeframe
  • the financial viability of the project, including proposed funding contributions
  • any special permissions or permits, if required (e.g. planning or building permits).

4.2 Due Diligence

A risk-based approach will be used to assess the Applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include Related Entities and may include Project Participants (see section 9: Program definitions). Due diligence checks will apply to Stream 2 only.

Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Participants) must:

  • have had no environmental or safety breaches in the last five years, or if there was a breach, SV may assess that the Applicant’s breach poses a satisfactory level of risk
  • have not been the subject of an Enforceable Undertaking or successful litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman for a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a fair work instrument within the last five years
  • demonstrate financial capability to undertake the project
  • have adequate insurance as outlined in the Funding Agreement and below:
    • Public Liability $10M minimum
    • Professional Indemnity $5M minimum
    • WorkCover
  • have not failed to satisfactorily progress or complete previous projects funded by SV within funding program timelines and without sufficient reason
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to SV's consideration of:

  • the seriousness of any findings
  • whether the findings have been resolved to the satisfaction of the relevant enforcement agency, or the Applicant can demonstrate it is working effectively to resolve the finding
  • the efforts made by the Applicant including implementation of management systems, to ensure no further finding/s occur, and/or
  • whether, since the finding, the applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant environmental, safety or workplace laws.

SV may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Participants involved in the delivery of the project. The Applicant must ensure that any Project Participants agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at SV’s request.

SV reserves the right not to award funding to Applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Participants) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

5. Funding conditions

Successful Applicants must do the following:

Before starting the project

  • Agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments.
  • Provide SV with insurance certificates of currency.
  • Sign SV’s funding agreement within 30 days of approval.

During and after the project

  • Deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement.
  • Contribute to regular project progress updates or meetings.
  • Notify SV immediately of any delays or change to project scope.
  • Provide update reports to SV at agreed milestones with evidence of expenditure, progress and performance.
  • Provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project according to the funding agreement.
  • Collect and release data to SV and (where applicable) the Australian Government. SV may share or report on the data.
  • Contribute to the project’s promotional activities (for example, provide SV with support by reviewing and approving written stories or videos).
  • Participate in and contribute to SV activities to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (for example, government and industry).
  • Acknowledge that SV has contributed funding in all communications related to the project under Stream 1: Audit grants and Stream 2: Implementation grants.

6. Timeline

Dates may change.

Round 1 applications open: Thursday 8 July 2021

Information session: 10 am on Wednesday 21 July 2021

Round 1 applications close: 11:59 pm on Friday 20 August 2021

7. How to apply

The grant program involves a competitive, merit-based application process.

  1. Ensure that your organisation can apply.
  2. Ensure that your project is qualified.
  3. Read SV’s Short-form grant Funding Agreement for grants $50,000 or less. Ensure that you can meet the terms and conditions.
  4. Read SV’s Terms of Participation in Grant Programs.
  5. Create an account and start your application on the SmartyGrants website.
  6. Attend or view the information session.
  7. Complete all questions and upload supporting documents.
  8. Submit your application by 11:59 pm, 20 August 2021 for Round 1. Late applications will not be accepted except under exceptional circumstances (refer to Terms of Participation in Grant Programs).

Your application

  • As Stream 2 is a competitive grant, we cannot review drafts or provide feedback.
  • Eligible organisations can list up to three sites per application. Successful applications will receive up to the maximum grant available for the stream, regardless of the number of sites.
  • An Applicant cannot apply for funding under Stream 1 and Stream 2 for the same site in the one funding round.
  • There is a limit of one grant approved for each Community Organisation for each funding stream.
  • Late applications will not be accepted except under exceptional circumstances (refer to Terms of Participation in Grant Programs).
  • Applications can only be submitted online via SmartyGrants (unless otherwise agreed or at SV’s discretion).
  • SV manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one SV grant for a project, you can only receive one grant. If you’ve already applied for an SV grant and now find this grant is more relevant and suitable, you can withdraw your application by emailing us.

8. Assistance available

8.1 Information bulletin

The information bulletin contains our responses to questions not addressed on this page and will be regularly updated. This will be available after the information session.

8.2 Information session

Session: (online)

Date: Wednesday 21 July

Time: 10:00 am

Register online

If you are unable to attend, a recording will be available in the information bulletin after the session.

8.3 Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

Email questions to: grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au. In the subject line, use the grant name Community Climate Change and Energy Action Program.

Call 03 8656 6757.

9. Program definitions

The following terms are used in these Guidelines:

Applicant

The applicant who applies for the funding and is responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.

Co-contributions

The Applicant’s required financial contribution to the total project income (Stream 2).

Collaborative Partnership

A relationship established between a Lead Applicant and Project Partner/s for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes.

Collaborative Partnerships need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the partners that outlines the governance, financial and intellectual property arrangements and roles and responsibilities of each party. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Community organisations/groups

Community groups as defined by the Australian Government Office of Best Practice Regulations 2020[ that own their own premises.

The Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis defines ‘community organisation’ as ‘any organisation engaged in charitable or other community-based activity operating under Australian law and not established for the purpose of making a profit’. This definition can include not-for-profit entities pursuing a range of ‘for-profit’ commercial activities. It can also include organisations engaged in advocacy or other activities that may not be primarily charitable in nature.

Detailed Energy Audits

Detailed Energy Audits are based on a Type 1 or Type 2 Energy Audit as prescribed in the Type 1 and Type 2 requirements under Section 11 of the Australian Standard AS/NZS AS3598:2014. The following considerations apply:

  • Type 1 Energy Audit would be appropriate for smaller sites with simple services, such as sporting clubs and halls. Type 2 Energy Audits may be appropriate for more complex sites, such as municipal offices, aquatic centres and town libraries. The proposed standard of audit will need to be agreed between the Service Provider and staff of the community facility and approved at Sustainability Victoria’s discretion.
  • Where applicable, building energy performance should be benchmarked using NABHERS suite of tools. Where NABHERS benchmarks are not applicable, normalised metrics should be applied (kWH/sqm/yr, MJ/sqm/yr, and kgCO/sqm/year).
  • Buildings that are subject to legislative requirements under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 must lodge a formal NABHERS Rating where required. The scope of this Program does not subsidise legislative requirements.

Environmental or safety breach

An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) or Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and workplace law.

Environmental and safety laws

Environmental and safety laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 1970 or any other legislation, regulation, order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.

Financial Contribution

The Applicant’s monetary contribution to the total project income or financial investment in the project.

Lead Applicant

The listed Applicant for the purposes of a Collaborative Partnership. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.

The Lead Applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables of the Collaborative Partnership.

Net zero carbon

A building that is highly energy-efficient and fully powered from on-site renewable sources.

Program

The Community Climate Change and Energy Action Program described in these Guidelines.

Project participant/s

An organisation engaged by the Applicant to assist in the delivery of the Applicant’s project, including but not limited to major subcontractors, contractors, product suppliers and consultants.

Related Entities

Entities which are related to the Applicant and includes:

  • holding companies of the Applicant
  • subsidiaries of the Applicant
  • subsidiaries of holding companies of the Applicant
  • companies with common directors or shareholders as the Applicant
  • companies that are a beneficiary under a trust of which the Applicant is a trustee
  • trustees of a trust under which the Applicant is a beneficiary
  • companies that conduct business at the same address as the Applicant, or the same address as the location of the activity for which the funding is sought.

Related Person/s

A director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the Applicant or a Related Entity.

Workplace Laws

Workplace laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.