The issue of sustainability is currently very topical, given the level of commentary around climate change, increasing greenhouse gas emission levels and global warming.
The current generation wants to ensure the population’s needs are met without compromising the needs of future generations, and there is general agreement that people need to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the key areas to take action is by having more sustainable living quarters.
Not only will this benefit future generations, but it will probably reduce the cost of living with lower energy and water bills.
According to City of Sydney Council, over 73 per cent of the City of Sydney residents live in apartment buildings, emitting up to 10 per cent of the city’s greenhouse gases, consuming more than 39 per cent of potable water and generating nine per cent of the city’s waste.
Therefore, strata managers and owners corporations are examining how to respond to the challenges of making buildings more sustainable by targeting waste reduction, and becoming more energy and water efficient.
The high cost and effort involved in modifying existing strata titled buildings to become more green means many owners corporations can be reluctant to invest in sustainability.
Decision making for upgrades is often a slow, complex and problematic process, as someone is normally required to prepare a business case, obtain and compare quotations and options, decide on the best solution, manage the project, verify and report outcomes and savings.
It is important to consider the following factors:
- Modifying common property requires a special resolution at a general meeting
- Alterations to machinery or equipment must comply with Australian Standards
- Large schemes require three or more quotations for any contract work undertaken
- The scheme’s budget may need a special levy to be raised to cover the cost of the works
However, there are still a number of things owners of strata titled property can do to reduce their carbon footprint without the need for any approval.
To get started on being more energy efficient, an energy audit of the common property assets can be obtained, which will identify areas of improvement and potential upgrades to reduce energy demands. Having more energy efficient assets such as lighting, hot water systems and pumps will generally result in lower energy costs. This may reduce levy contributions for all owners. Furthermore, lower levies and a well maintained building with efficient assets may make apartments more valuable. To read more click here.