With sustainability on everyone’s mind, strata buildings are no exception. Here’s why it’s important for owners corporations to consider sustainability upgrades in 2022 and beyond.
Sustainability improvements are easier than ever
In February 2021, the Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Upgrades) Bill was passed, making it easier than ever for strata corporations to embrace sustainable change. In the past, such upgrades to facilities required a special resolution vote, which needs a 75% vote in favour to pass.
The new legislation allows corporations and managers to pass votes on sustainability upgrades with just a 50% vote in favour. Plus, with Government-backed programs and local sustainability programs, it’s even easier to go green.
Why strata buildings should consider sustainability improvements
There are several reasons for strata buildings to begin embracing sustainability improvements such as solar energy and a reduction of water waste. Some of the main reasons include:
- Significant long-term cost savings
- Future-proofing buildings and properties
- Contribute to Australia’s green revolution
- Enhance the property’s reputation and commercial value
While most sustainability upgrades have an upfront cost, the long-term savings are perhaps the biggest consideration for owners and managers.
Reduce water consumption
Many strata buildings consider water consumption to simply be an uncontrollable variable since most water use is limited to individual apartments and properties. According to Sydney Water, there are benchmarks in NSW for the number of litres per bedroom per day that are considered acceptable. The best practice is under 200 litres per bedroom per day, and any more than 300 litres is considered high.
The good news is there are always ways that water waste can be reduced. Consider fixing leaks throughout the property. You can also install water efficiency devices that reduce the wasteful consumption of water.
Consider going solar
Solar panel installation can help to save thousands of dollars in electricity costs every year. Regardless of how big or small the property is, installing a solar system is a great sustainability improvement. Of course, there is an upfront cost for installation, but the long-term savings can be considerable.
In addition to powering common property, solar energy can also be used for other cost-saving initiatives. With electric vehicles (EVs) becoming more popular, owners corporations may consider installing solar-powered EV charging stations.
Contact local councils
Many councils in NSW now have sustainability programs available to help strata property managers embrace sustainability. For example, the Waverley Council’s ‘Building Futures’ program provides energy assessments, access to Sydney Water’s WaterFIX program, solar power screening and a range of other learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities.
Owners corporations should always contact local councils to enquire about programs and initiatives that may be available.
Consider small changes
If your capital works fund won’t support major sustainability upgrades, it’s still possible to generate major cost savings. Consider replacing lights with energy-efficient LED lighting. You can even add sensors and timers to better control light usage. Even in common areas, this can represent massive savings as 90% of electricity use in low-rise buildings can be attributed to lighting.
Other ideas include:
- Using pool covers to retain heat and reduce electricity costs.
- Installing instant gas to hot water systems.
- Improving insulation throughout properties.
Take part in a sustainability assessment
Finally, if you’re not sure where to start, there are specialist programs out there to help. NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) for Apartment Buildings can deliver a sustainability report to your building. This will give you greater insight into where you can save the most money with sustainability improvements.
Even small steps towards a more sustainable future help to position your building ahead for the coming years. Get in touch with More Than Strata for more tips and ideas for building sustainable strata communities.