The Victorian government is set to hand out thousands of dollars to owners of commercial office buildings through a new $3.59 million program designed to raise the energy efficiency standards of offices throughout the state.

Under the Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Energy Efficient Office Buildings program, the state government will provide matched grant funding of between $20,000 to $150,000 to owners of mid-tier commercial office buildings should they opt to pursue energy efficiency upgrades.

The program is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 140,000 tonnes over a decade-long period, save participating businesses around $9 million, create a swathe of employment opportunities and foster the spread of green building practices.

It will furnish building owners with simple expedients for raising the energy efficiency of their buildings, and will include the fine-tuning of their current heating and cooling systems in order to optimize performance, and the monitoring of energy consumption.

The program serves as a complement to Victoria’s Greener Government Buildings program, which the state government hopes will save $2 billion over 20 years.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has hailed the decision as a pivotal step in raising the energy efficiency of Victoria’s commercial office building stock.

“We have been calling for visionary government leadership – and this program does just that,” said GBCA chief operating officer Robin Mellon. “This initiative will deliver more efficient, cost-effective, productive and environmentally sustainable buildings across Victoria.”

Mellon further points out that the program fulfils Victoria’s need for a multi-pronged, complementary approach to raising the sustainability chops of the state’s built structures.

“For more than a decade, we have argued that improving the performance of our built environment requires a range of complementary measures, including both financial and non-financial incentives, and both public and private sector leadership,” he said. “Importantly, we have always advocated that a suite of well-considered and well-targeted programs over multiple years will deliver more improvements than one multi-billion dollar initiative.”