Sustainability Grants guidelines

Brisbane City Council's Lord Mayor's Sustainability Grants are part of the Lord Mayor’s Community Sustainability and Environmental Grants Program.

Learn about the Lord Mayor's Sustainability Grants:

Aim of the Lord Mayor's Sustainability Grants

In line with Brisbane Vision 2031 aspirations to be a clean, green and sustainable city, the Lord Mayor's Sustainability Grants aim to improve Brisbane’s sustainability by supporting community groups and not-for-profit  organisations to reduce energy consumption, improve energy performance and obtain financial and environmental benefits.

What can be funded?

Before applying for funding, you must plan your proposed pr­oject and ensure that it responds to the assessment criteria. The Lord Mayor's Sustainability Grants can be used to fund an energy audit and implementation of associated energy efficiency measures.

Energy audit

An audit of your facility analyses how energy is managed at your site (in terms of use or volumes and cost) and seeks to identify opportunities to save energy and thereby reduce costs.

The applicant is required to discuss their needs with the energy auditor to determine which type of energy audit would best suit their situation. There are three types of audits based on the level of accuracy of energy savings and financial costs described in AS/NZS 3598.1:2014, Energy audits, Part 1: Commercial buildings.

The Energy Efficiency Council has a quick reference guide to energy auditing. The energy audit can be conducted across multiple facilities if owned or operated by the same applicant organisation.

The cost of energy audit can be funded from a Sustainability Grant provided it is undertaken by a competent energy auditor, with demonstrated experience relevant to the type of applicant site and with appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place. Please ensure your energy auditor confirms in writing that they are compliant with Section 8 AS/NZS 3598.1:2014 and the audit identifies energy reduction strategies for the applicant’s facility/facilities in accordance to the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 3598.1:2014, Energy audits, Part 1: Commercial buildings).

Following are the requirements for your energy audit application:

  • The grant application is required to be written and submitted by the applicant and not by any proposed contractor.
  • Energy audits funded by this grant must be completed within three months of receiving initial grant funds.
  • Once an audit is completed, quotes for implementing energy efficiency measures must be provided to Council for approval prior to receiving associated funding and carrying out the work.
  • The auditor must provide a report with recommendations to the applicant. Council will require a copy of the audit. The energy audit must contain a summary prioritising projects from highest value for money to lowest value for money in terms of emissions savings per funding investment.
  • The applicant must ensure that the energy auditor conducts a site visit to engage with the applicant’s staff and members to discuss and share energy efficiency learnings.
  • Quotes for the energy audit and the implementation of energy efficiency measures need to be provided from separate contractors to avoid a conflict of interest.
  • All projects must either support an organisation’s existing energy management plan or contribute to the development of a new plan.
  • Applicants with project proposals on school properties must have a long-term Memorandum of Understanding or Usage Agreement in place.

As an alternative to engaging an energy auditor, Council will accept the following:

  • an action plan developed by a sustainability coach through an organisation’s participation in the ecoBiz program. The ecoBiz program is funded by the Queensland Government and delivered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.

    The action plan is developed following an on-site coaching session and can be tailored to the specific sustainability goals or challenges of the organisation, and can cover energy, water and/or waste. EcoBiz is a free program for Queensland businesses, however eligibility for the coaching session is reviewed on a case-by-case basis for organisations with fewer than five employees. Further information can be found on Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland's website
  • an energy audit and action plan developed for clubs leasing a Council facility that have participated in the Resilient Clubs Support Program delivered by Brisbane Sustainability Agency.

    The Resilient Clubs Support Program is an initiative of Brisbane City Council, delivered in partnership with Brisbane Sustainability Agency, designed to support community organisations that lease facilities from Council to optimise their water and energy use and reduce operational costs. Further information can be found on the Brisbane Sustainability Agency's website.

Energy efficiency measures

Items installed through the grant must replace and reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions of existing devices, and not create a new source of power consumption, for example installing new lights where none had existed before.

Energy saving measures prioritised by the energy audit are eligible for funding. Energy efficiency measures can include:

  • upgrades to equipment e.g. 4, 5 or 6 star rated appliances, energy efficient light fittings, energy efficient ceiling fans, air-conditioning, hot water systems
  • behaviour change support material e.g. signage and collateral used to educate and encourage people to change the way they use energy in the facility
  • facility structural changes/additions e.g. external shade awnings, window tinting, double glazing
  • energy monitoring and control
  • renewable energy alternatives e.g. solar photovoltaic panels and solar hot water systems
  • support for emerging technologies e.g. battery storage for excess solar production, electric vehicle charging infrastructure supporting a transition away from fossil fuelled vehicles.

Please note – installation work for all energy efficiency measures must comply with the Electrical Safety Act 2002, the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 and all other relevant legislation, standards and procedures.

Eligible applications

To be eligible to receive funding, applicants and their auspice must:

  • not have outstanding debts or overdue, unacquitted grants with Council
  • demonstrate capacity to manage the project to completion and acquit the grant within 12 months of the grant being awarded
  • be able to fully comply with the terms and conditions set out in the Funding Agreement, including any special conditions and deliver the approved project in accordance with the contents of the submitted applications approved by Council
  • demonstrate the intention and ability to implement energy saving opportunities identified within the energy audit, in support of their existing energy management plan, or have an interest and ability to develop an energy management plan
  • if required, provide any necessary permits under Queensland Government legislation and Council local laws if relevant to the project
  • ensure the project is located within the Brisbane City Council local government area
  • be a not-for-profit organisation or community group that own or lease facilities (including Council facilities). Non-incorporated groups can be auspiced by a not-for-profit organisation that is incorporated and that is able to accept legal and financial responsibility for the project and its activities
  • demonstrate some capacity for co-contribution towards either the energy audit or the implementation of energy efficient measures.

Note: applications that involve extending the use of school facilities by the broader community can be made by school-based organisations (including Parents and Citizens’ Associations) protected under the Education (General Provision) Act 2006 (Qld), with an open membership. Applicants with project proposals on school properties must have in place a long-term Memorandum of Understanding or Usage Agreement letters from the school detailing the agreed usage arrangements.

Ineligible applications

The following will not be funded.

  • Facilities that are used for commercial activities unless it can be demonstrated that grant funding is integral to achieving energy efficiency targets from the applicant’s energy management plan
  • Grant applications prepared by an external contractor (e.g. energy auditors and installers)
  • Projects and/or facilities that are the responsibility of the Australian or Queensland Governments with the exception of schools that can demonstrate broader community use of their facilities
  • Projects that have already commenced prior to the payment of the grant funds to the applicant
  • General operating expenses, e.g. electricity, lease/rent payments, telephone bills, that are part of the ongoing expenses of the applicant organisation
  • Staff costs or salaries where staff are involved in project delivery. This is considered in-kind support
  • Projects that require ongoing funding unless the source of the ongoing funding is assured.

Funding available

You can apply for a grant ranging from a minimum of $1000 to a maximum of $10,000. Grants are a competitive process and applications that are eligible and meet the assessment criteria are not guaranteed funding.

In some cases, successful applicants may receive a percentage of the total sought, rather than the full amount of funding requested. If your project cannot proceed without full funding, this should be indicated in your application.

Available funding for Sustainability Grants including scenario, maximum funding for energy audits and maximum funding to implement energy efficiency measures.
ScenarioMax funds available for an energy auditMax funds available to implement energy efficient measures
Organisation with an existing energy audit (completed in the last 12 months)Not applicableUp to $10,000
Organisation without an existing energy auditUp to $5000Up to $10,000 less spend on energy audit

Note: the maximum amount of funding provided through these grants towards an audit will be 20% of the organisation’s total energy costs during the past 12 months. This amount is capped at $5000. For example, an organisation with energy costs of $5000 for the past 12 months is eligible to apply for up to $1000 in grant funding towards the audit. Should additional funds be required, the applicant must provide a rationale. However, organisations where 20% of their total energy costs do not provide adequate funds for an audit, are still eligible to apply. This may require a contribution from the organisation toward the audit cost or exploring eligibility for participation in the free ecoBiz program. Contact Council and ask to speak with a Program Officer (grants), Community Conservation support team to discuss your specific circumstances.


The applicant must provide a co-contribution to meet the full costs of all projects. This could be cash or in-kind contributions. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that such funds are assured. If the applicant is unable to provide such co-contributions a rationale must be provided.

Financial arrangements


If you are successful in obtaining a grant, Council will send you a Funding Agreement that must be completed and returned before funding will be provided.

Goods and services tax (GST)

If your or your auspice are GST registered, 10% GST will be added to your grant as an itemised GST gross-up.

If you or your auspice are not GST registered, 10% GST will be added to your grant, but not itemised as GST.

For advice on GST, please contact your tax advisor, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

Tax treatment

If you are a not-for-profit organisation that is required to lodge a tax assessment, it is recommended you contact your tax advisor in relation to the treatment of the grant for tax purposes and to benefit from any depreciation and/or instant asset write-off provisions that might apply for small business.

Assessment process

Provided the eligibility criteria for making a grant application under these guidelines are satisfied, the project will be assessed against the following assessment criteria.  Assessment will be based on the combined score across the criteria that apply to the project.

Assessment criteria

Assessment criteria and percentage weighting for Sustainability Grants
Criteria numberAssessment criteriaPercentage
1Contribution to achieving targets and aspirations in Brisbane Vision 2031  and the objectives of this grant.Essential
2Value for money in relation to the potential for carbon emission savings per grant investment and a well-defined budget.40%
3Demonstration of how the project will support the applicant’s existing energy management plan or contribute to the development of a new plan.15%
4Contribution of the project towards the education of the applicant’s members towards energy efficiency practices.10%
5Demonstration of wider community use of the facilities to be targeted by the grant project and the benefits to the broader community.20%
6Demonstration of the applicant’s commitment to implementing energy saving recommendations from the existing or proposed energy audit’s findings, including integrating key findings into existing organisational processes and policies.15%
7Demonstrated ability to comply with approval criteria for necessary permits under State Acts and Council local laws.Essential

Following the initial assessment by Council officers, recommendations will be provided to the Comparative Assessment Committee which makes recommendations to Council's delegate.  Council’s delegate makes the final decision regarding funding allocation.

Application process

Making your application

Before applying for funding, you must plan your proposed project and ensure that it responds to the assessment criteria.

How to apply

When open, applications are submitted online via SmartyGrants.

Application checklist

Please ensure you read the grant guidelines fully and ensure your application:

  • is eligible within the grant guidelines
  • responds to the assessment criteria
  • can demonstrate capacity to manage the project to completion and acquit the grant funding within one year of the grant being awarded
  • provides any necessary permits under State Acts and Council local laws if relevant to the project
  • includes all the relevant attachments.


Information about grant decisions will not be released over the phone. A formal letter will be posted, notifying applicants of the outcome.

Successful applicants

You will receive a formal approval letter and a Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement will include terms and conditions of the grant, any special conditions that have been attached to your grant and GST information. You will need to complete, sign and return the Funding Agreement before any funding will be released.

Successful applicants have 12 months from the time of the notification to complete the project and acquit the grant, unless otherwise negotiated.

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • ensure continued compliance with these guidelines
  • deliver the approved project in accordance with the contents of the submitted applications approved by Council for the provision of a grant
  • fully comply with the terms and conditions set out in the Funding Agreement (including special conditions) provided by Council to the successful applicants
  • fully acquit the grant to Council in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement.

Unsuccessful applicants

If you don’t receive funding, it will not necessarily be because you submitted a poor application. It may be because demand for funds exceeds the amount available. For feedback on your grant application, please refer to the contact phone number provided in your notification letter. Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply in the future.

You may wish to consider submitting your application to another grants program. 

Both the Queensland and Australian Governments have websites that list available grants:


The successful applicant must provide a completed Acquittal Form to Council within 12 months of the Notification Date. This document must detail the outcomes of the project and how the funds were spent. It must demonstrate that funding has been used for the purpose for which it was provided, include a report of financial transactions and detail whether the project achieved its intended objectives.

Successful applicants will receive a link to the Acquittal Form that will be attached to their application in SmartyGrants.


For further information, contact Council and ask to speak with a Program Officer (grants), Community Conservation Support team.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, contact Council through the:

  • National Relay Service (NRS)
  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 07 3403 8888
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 07 3403 8888
  • internet relay users connect to the NRS and ask for 07 3403 8888.

If you require this information in other languages, phone the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask to be connected to Council on 07 3403 8888.

All enquiry services are free. 

Terms and conditions

Successful applicants must abide by Council’s terms and condition which are contained in the Funding Agreement. 

Applicants must also adhere to any special conditions set by Council.



The acquittal form is due within 12 months from the notification date and explains the outcomes of the project and how the funds were spent. It demonstrates that the funding has been used for the purpose for which it was provided, including a certified report of financial transactions and whether the project achieved its intended objectives.


An incorporated not-for-profit organisation that accepts and manages the legal and financial responsibility of a grant on behalf of an unincorporated applicant.

Funding Agreement

The agreement between Council and a successful applicant under this grant program and which contains terms and conditions relating to the grant of funding including any special conditions that may be applicable. 

In-kind contribution

The dollar value to a project of non-cash contributions, e.g. office space, staff time or voluntary labour that would otherwise need to be paid for. 

Letters of support

Letters of endorsement or commitment to the project from partners, other community organisations and/or elected members.

Not-for-profit organisation

An organisation whose contribution states that any profits or surpluses must be used to further the objectives of the organisation rather than benefit an individual. A registered not-for-profit organisation is incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), or the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld).

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