Vertical communities can be vibrant, social places to live with minimal environmental footprints. Whether you are an owner or a renter, you can live in a healthy home and save money by implementing personal sustainability initiatives relating to energy and water use, balcony and community gardens, sustainable transport and by responsible waste management. Strata managers and owners of residential strata can also make changes at the building level such as those detailed below.
Reducing energy use in common areas
Slash your electricity bill by retrofitting lights in common areas to more energy efficient options such as T5 fluorescent tubes and LEDs, and installing lighting timers and control mechanisms. Lighting upgrades may also attract financial assistance through the NSW Government’s Energy Savings Scheme.
You can achieve up to a to 30% saving in water use in your apartment building by using Sydney Water’s WaterFix Strata service.
NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) can provide you with a sustainability rating for your apartment building which is valid for a year. For a fee, you can understand your building’s performance against similar buildings by providing you with a rating from one to six stars in the areas of: energy, water, waste, and indoor environment. Then you can work to improve these ratings and track performance over time.
NABERS factsheet (PDF, 4MB)
Installing an electric vehicle charger in an apartment building
With more people planning to buy an EV, there is growing demand from apartment owners and renters to be able to charge EVs in their building. As the number of EVs increases, charging providers are developing technology to better integrate with existing buildings, and strata organisations are becoming more experienced with charging in apartments.
The Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2020 categorises the installation of EV charging infrastructure as a sustainability infrastructure upgrade. A simple majority vote of 50% is required implement a ‘sustainability upgrade’ resolution’.
To install EV charging in an apartment you will need to:
- Determine the kind of EV charging that would suit the building and its residents
- Communal charging in visitor carparks or individual charging in private carparks
- The payment system used through common or individual meters
- Get support from strata owners by communicating the benefits
- Supports owners who want to purchase EVs
- EVs are better for the environment and health than petrol vehicles
- Can increase property value
- Assess the capacity of the building to facilitate EV charging
- Switchboard space and capacity
- Capacity of supply cables from the grid and whether these need upgrading
- Connection and metering to see whether chargers can connect to individual meters, whether new revenue-grade meters are required, whether chargers can connect to a common meter board for third party billing
- Charging type and speed: need fast charging for communal charging spots, and slower charging for simultaneous individual charging if there are capacity limitations
- Conduct a legal review and draft new bylaws to govern EV charging
- Usage and payments
- Charger capacities
- Cabling and charger specifications
- Installation and de-installation of chargers
If you are looking to install a communal charger in a visitor parking space, then Council approval will be required for the change of use of the car space.
Best practice waste management
Improve the resource recovery rate in your apartment building by incorporating a by-law for waste disposal into your by-law suite. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive a copy of the template.
Installing solar on apartment buildings
By installing solar on an apartment building, owners can save money on electricity bills and future proof their building.