The 1200 Buildings program is a building retrofit program in the City of Melbourne. It was generated out of a council idea to support commercial building owners to retrofit their buildings with measures that will increase a building's water and energy efficiency and reduce waste. It is also supports the Council's goal for the entire Council area to become "carbon neutral by 2020". What an idea, particularly since the City of Melbourne doesn't own and cannot dictate these changes to these privately owned buildings. In reality, this goal will only be achieved through support, education and changes made by building owners.
How to achieve this? My goodness I can't even imagine. However, Melbourne city has come up with some very exciting ideas to achieve this, which include some new financial lending models. One of the imaginative models means that finance institutions can forward funding to commercial building owners for activities to achieve the goals set by the Melbourne City Council and then these funds are re-couped to the bank by having a charge in your Council rates to fund these "loans".
I don't know the precise details of how this finance model works, but it certainly seems like an innovative one and one that will break some of the dis-incentives for owners of properties, to undertake sustainability measures, when these buildings are rented out, and it is the tenant that in fact receives the cost-breaks through energy and water cost savings!
If you want to know more about the program have a look at the 1200 Buildings website.