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Owners’ Corporation Management

05 Feb 2020

Owners’ Corporation Management Image

Sustainable strata

Words by The Knight – owners’ corporation (OC) managers

With “sustainability” being the buzz word of property development lately, more new buildings are equipped with innovations to help reduce their environmental footprint.

Traditionally, existing strata complexes have had few available options, but as technology improves, these options are increasing.

Here are the easiest (and most cost-effective) ways to go green at your property.

Common Area Lighting

Simply switching to LED lighting within common areas could be enough to drastically reduce your energy consumption and save your OC significantly on energy bills.

It makes sense financially, with many projects able to pay back initial costs over just a few years.

Benefits also include protecting yourself against rising energy costs and potentially allocating more of your levies to pay for larger sustainability projects, like solar installation, in the future. You could also investigate installing timers or sensors on your common area lighting.

Water use and heating

Water and energy use are closely linked - to reduce water consumption also reduces the energy used to heat and pump the water around your building. While the best way to reduce your footprint when it comes to water is to simply use less, in an OC this is near impossible to enforce.

Simple things the OC can do to reduce water use are:

ensure there are no leaks within common areas;

install timed watering systems for shared gardens (use between 10pm and 6am will reduce evaporation); and

consider replacing foreign plants with native alternatives requiring less water.

Installing individual water meters on apartments can incentivise saving water, enabling the OC to charge owners for usage, not just based on lot liability.

You can also look at installing a heat pump hot water system, which is estimated to be more efficient even than electric boosted solar hot water and can be run off solar electricity if your building takes that step in the future.

Recycling and waste

An OC can play a role in encouraging best-practice behaviour from all residents when it comes to recycling and waste management.

Ensuring that bins are easily accessible by all residents, and clearly marked to avoid contamination is the simplest way to encourage good habits. Other ways to reduce the waste going to landfill include:

  • providing a green waste bin;
  • establishing composting bins on unused/under-used common property; and
  • setting up a “library” where unused items can be rehomed to other residents •

For more detail on these topics, plus more ideas on how you can help create a more sustainable building, head to:

theknight.com.au/sustainable-strata

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