Building Upgrade Finance (BUF)


Building Upgrade Finance (BUF) assists investors, tenants plus home and building owners perform environmental upgrades through long-term finance. Through BUF, people can make environmental improvements to their commercial or non-residential buildings, including making the switch to LED lighting and installing solar panels. BUF can be paid off over time through the rates of your local council.



Sustainable Australia Fund provides finance options to businesses and organisations to improve the energy efficiency and reduce waste for existing buildings. Sustainable Australia Fund helps businesses unlock their cash flow in order to encourage the adoption of renewable energy and other sustainable building upgrades. As a trusted partner of Sustainable Australia Fund, Cherry Energy Solutions assists individuals and businesses with this process.

The steps of the BUF process include:

  • Environmental upgrade works on a building are agreed upon by the owner.
  • A Building Upgrade Agreement (BUA)is entered into with the building owner, council and finance provider.
  • Funds for the environmental upgrade works are advanced by the financier. 
  • The council collects repayments for the environmental upgrade works through the rates system which will be used to repay the environmental upgrade works. This will then be passed on to the finance provider. 
  • As a result of the savings achieved with the environmental upgrade, building owners are legally able to ask tenants to contribute financially to the works.


Finance can be provided when the land or building is used as security under BUF. This finance option offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Security BUF loans are a charge placed on the property and are prioritised over regular debts involving land and property. As this is a highly secure loan, lenders are able to offer competitive terms and long loan periods (up to 20 years). 
  • Zero Upfront Costs Businesses and building owners will not need to make any repayments for the first six months. Loans are designed to be cashflow positive, so in most cases once payments begin, the repayments will be lower than previous energy cost payments. As a result, cash flow is improved. 
  • Flexibility Agreements are connected to individual properties rather than a business or building owner which allows the loan to be transferred when a property is sold.
  • Win-Win This mutually beneficial environmental upgrade means that landlords can share the installation costs with tenants who benefit from the project, if consent is given.


Tenants receive the most benefit from environmental upgrades funded by BUF. 

Energy Efficiency Energy efficient buildings provide more comfort, while reducing operating costs and electricity bills. 

Win-Win Tenants who contribute towards the loan repayments will only be required to redirect the funds spent on electricity bills. The environmental upgrades result in positive cash flow due to lower loan repayments than energy prices.

  • If you are a tenant living in NSW, you can find out more here


Local councils encourage environmental upgrade projects as it improves the energy consumption and value of buildings in the area. BUF can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the reliance on grid energy. By levying the BUF loan repayments system, the council is able to send funds to the relevant finance provider.

  • Reduced Environmental Impacts By reducing the pressure on the environmental infrastructure, councils will be more desirable and more liveable. Generally, buildings that have been upgraded attract investment.
  • Opportunities The upgrade of buildings helps encourage business opportunities for more energy-efficient operations and can increase local jobs.


By upgrading buildings, businesses can cost-effectively:

  • Reduce operating expenses
  • Improve working conditions
  • Reduce the impact of rising energy prices
  • Minimise greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improve renewable energy capabilities
  • Maximise building value


Cherry Energy Solutions is here to assist you with your eligibility for BUF. Our team of energy experts will provide you with the most appropriate financing option for your project.

Click here for councils offering BUF.

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