Sustainability in Strata
As the world transitions towards a carbon-neutral future, it is imperative that all sectors of the economy do their part in adopting sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprints.
Did you know that the real estate sector uses more energy than any other sector in the global economy?
It is estimated that buildings contribute 20% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions and the sector consumes more than 40% of the world’s energy (World Economic Forum, 2016).
As an owner or resident in a strata scheme, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference by working collaboratively with your neighbours in sharing time, energy and resources to significantly reduce your collective carbon footprints.
Such may include:
Improvements to recycling practices in managing shared bin systems by educating residents, including short-term rentals, on recycling guidelines relevant to your local authority/ strata complex. Such could be implemented by way of a leaflet (electronic or hard copy) which the strata company mandates be given out to all owners, property managers and tenants upon moving into/ leasing a unit in the complex. Remember – recycling must be placed loosely in the bin!
Adoption of shared-composting systems to be managed by residents to make use of food scraps and paper for fertilising common gardens. Such not only has great environmental benefits but also can help to create a sense of community in the strata scheme with greater interaction between neighbours.
Adoption of waterwise practices, including mulching gardens in the lead up to summer, growing native plants, reducing the use of pesticides, expanding verge gardens and planting extra trees for shade during summer. Replacing lawns with native gardens can significantly reduce strata company expenses on reticulation and lawn mowing costs, which often add up to several thousand dollars per year for larger schemes.
Planting herbs and veggies in common areas for residents to share – reducing food transport miles and plastic packaging which carries a high carbon and environmental footprint.
Installing LED lighting on timers/motion sensors in common areas. LED lighting uses about 75% less energy and last 5 to 10 times longer than incandescent lighting (see www.energy.gov.au for more info). With a payback time of about 1 year, this could make a significant saving on common power bills over the long term.
Installing solar panels/ battery storage technologies, rainwater tanks, grey water systems, double glazing, and upgrading insulation are all great ways to radically reduce your carbon footprint over the longer term. Whilst not always easy in a strata complex due to the legal and technical challenges, by incorporating some of these infrastructure upgrades for example in your strata company’s 10-year maintenance plans, funds can be budgeted and raised through levies over a long period to reduce the financial burden this may impose on lot owners.
Beneficial for you, and the environment
Many of these things are not only beneficial for the environment, but also help to create a sense of community and shared purpose for residents in improving the look and vibrancy of the place they live while giving something back to the planet and their neighbours.
For landlords, this point of difference ultimately increases the desirability and therefore value of units both in terms of rental income and saleability.
How can we assist?
Implementing many of these changes will require broad consensus between owners, tenants, property managers and tradespeople in establishing procedures and guidelines for residents to follow, as well as making the case for financial contributions in some instances.
With our in-depth knowledge of the Strata Titles Act and many years of strata management experience, we would likely be in the best position to guide your strata company through this process in navigating the logistical hurdles and following best practice.
Contact our Sustainability Manager for more information:
Harry Kaye | 08 9335 5877