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Going Green in Strata

Liv Apartments, Fremantle. Photo: Defence Housing AustraliaThis month, we’re showcasing some of our most environmentally friendly strata schemes, who have implemented a greener approach to apartment living.

Some of our schemes have made substantial eco-friendly infrastructure changes like full solar installation, while others have implemented great initiatives such as communal veggie gardens and recycling stations.

Thanks to Strata Community Association (WA) who have provided a list of easy, budget-friendly ways to make your apartment ‘greener’, without having to spend a fortune.

First off, lets start with a solar fit-out at one of our apartment buildings in Maylands. In July 2021, this property had solar panels installed with pigeon protection – pigeon protection stops birds from nesting under the panels. 12 months on and they have noticed over a 50% decrease in electricity costs since their installation. Check out the drone footage to the right.

Drone footage of the solar panel system one of our Maylands properties had installed last year

Our top Sustainable Buildings

Liv Apartments Fremantle | Sustainability and One Planet Community

Liv Apartments in Fremantle is one of only a handful of Strata Schemes in WA that have met the framework to be recognised as a One Planet Community. Liv have achieved this through their 100% renewable energy, increased natural light, double glazing, high-efficiency appliances, efficient water use, LED lighting, superior thermal and acoustic insulation and their communal gardens and bike-friendly storage facility.

Liv Apartments. Photo: Defence Housing Australia

Liv Apartments is designed to operate as an embedded electricity network. The 80kw rooftop solar array aims to meet the energy demand of the residential common areas, retail and commercial tenancies. Offsite renewable electricity purchased by the strata company will be sold to the residential, commercial and retail tenants/owners. Electricity income will be invested in upgrades to the development.Bioregional.com

City Towers Perth | NABERS 5.5 Star Rating 2021 for Sustainability

City Towers, who we strata manage also implemented a handful of initiatives to become greener. They even achieved a 5.5 (out of 6) star NABERS rating last year for their significantly low water consumption, waste management and energy efficiency. City Towers was one of only two residential buildings in WA last year to receive a NABERS rating over 5 stars.

The Owners of City Towers have upgraded their bin room with new bins to include green waste, composting, textiles and e-waste bins and an instruction board (pictured) to allow for proper recycling. On top of this, they planted a communal veggie garden and worm farm. City Towers’ bin room features this information board to help residents properly recycle. In addition, recycling initiatives included all new residents being given free food waste containers and recycling tubs. The bin room also housed a Good Samaritans collection point for clothing and textiles.

 

 

Fairlanes Perth | Installation Of Two EV Chargers

Last year Fairlanes Apartments in Perth had two EV smart charging stations installed in their carpark due to an increased number of residents requiring charging facilities. Smart charging stations allow users to save money while cutting emissions, all being used via a cloud-based app and RFID SmarchCharge card, which allows the residents to select a pricing plan that suits them. Fairlanes have implemented two charging stations which can be used by residents and visitors.

Smart charging enables charging at times when demand is lowest and electricity is cheapest, which reduces the burden on the network and improves the economics for the customer. – ARENA

8 Ways To Live Greener

Swap fluorescent tubes and globes in common areas such as carparks, pool areas and stairwells for LED lights which will do the job with lower electricity bills. LEDs are better value for money than incandescent and halogen bulbs and can be used in most existing fittings, according to the federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. They also use about 75 percent less energy than halogen bulbs and last five to 10 times longer, reducing replacement costs and the number of bulbs ending up in landfill, the department says. It estimates the up-front cost of LEDs generally has a payback time of less than one year. Also consider using motion or other sensors in low traffic common areas. Sensors can turn off lighting when a room is empty or when there is enough daylight.

If your strata property has a green verge, many local councils will help you turn it into a water-wise garden bed with rebates for native verges, free or discounted
plants and workshops on how to get started.

The City of Vincent, for example, has an Adopt a Verge program to increase local biodiversity and provide nature corridors for native birds and animals to move through.

The council will perform the earthworks and supply the mulch. It’s up to owners to plant and maintain it. 

The city also provides a voucher for 20 native tube stock plants which can be redeemed at its biannual native plant sales. There are many other local councils with verge schemes and planting incentives including Cockburn, Bayswater, Cottesloe and Stirling. Check with your council – and the time of year incentives are available. Some require a letter of support from the strata company.

 

 

Turn your strata community’s collective minds to reducing waste. Add a textile recycling bin to your complex bin room for old clothing and fabric. Other tubs can be used for everything from discarded mobile phones to batteries and printer cartridges. Not for profit Planet Ark has an online resource of recycling services by suburb.

 

Once you’ve started down the path to an eco-friendlier complex, your Strata Company may want to allocate more money to green projects.

These could include vertical and roof top gardens or solar panels. For the building itself, the federal government has a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) to measure and compare the environmental performance of buildings, including apartment complexes. Star ratings – similar to what you may find on your fridge – are awarded to buildings based on the findings of independent assessors who look at performance in areas such as energy and water use. Apartment buildings with at least four apartments on at least two floors are eligible for rating.

Does your strata complex have an enclosed carpark? Carpark ventilation systems can consume a lot of energy, particularly if large fans are operating at full power around-the-clock. Lower energy consumption by installing carbon monoxide sensors on ventilation motors and improving the efficiency of exhaust fans.

Current generation CO2 monitoring and control systems with variable speed drive technology start and stop ventilation systems when required, saving power.

 

Community herb and vegetable gardens create useful green space. Start small in a spare patch of earth, but don’t forget to get permission from the Strata Company. Talk to like-minded neighbours, discuss it at your next annual general meeting and see if it is something your complex would like to do. Likewise, worm farms are moving out of suburban backyards. Some apartment communities on the East coast have been experimenting with worm farms as a way to turn food scraps into fertiliser which can be used on garden beds and balcony pot plants. In WA, the City of Stirling will host a free workshop on worm farming, composting and bokashi for its residents on June 18. The City of Vincent subsidises the cost of composting and worm farm equipment.

 

Adjusting irrigation on common gardens throughout the year can save water. The Water Corporation says most irrigation controllers have a seasonal adjustment setting, which alters the set watering times.

Water Corp recommends setting the seasonal adjustment at 100 percent for January and February only, then gradually decreasing the percentage in the cooler months.
From June to August it is mandatory to switch off sprinklers for all scheme and bore water in Perth, Mandurah and some parts of the South-West and Great Southern.

Approach your strata manager about placing your ideas on the agenda for your property’s next annual general meeting. Strata managers accredited with SCA (WA) are across sector trends and have a wealth of contacts at their fingertips.

Put your ideas in writing and send them in with any information you have collected so the other owners can consider your ideas ahead of the meeting. Be prepared to elaborate in the meeting and volunteer to take the lead on any projects that might be endorsed.

8 Ways to Greener Strata provided by Strata Community Association WA (WA) Click Here

Sustainability Around The Globe

 Sendero Verde Apartments, East Harlem NYC. Photo: Handel Architects NYC

Passive Apartments in New York City

Sendero Verde is a $223m USD ($330m AUD) passive apartment development located in East Harlem, NYC.

Sendero Verde will contain 709 apartments, of which 347 apartments will be set aside for affordable housing to help the formerly homeless and people with lower incomes. The development will include a plaza, gardens and more than 2 acres of community space which will be used for education, youth, seniors and healthcare.

What’s a passive apartment? A passive apartment is designed to reduce the buildings ecological footprint through utilising sufficient insulation, purpose-designed windows, doors and ventilation systems to enable minimal heating and cooling whilst still maintaining a comfortable living environment for the residents.

Sendero Verde will be Passive House certified, making it the largest fully affordable Passive House building in the world when it is completed. – Handel Architects

To read more about this development, click here