6 September 2011 – The Sydney Morning Herald recently published a story on energy-hungry, high-rise apartments and the challenges they face. (It just happens to mention The Fifth Estate)

High-rise apartments typically use more energy than a detached house – 30 per cent more, according to a NSW Energy Australia study – mostly because of the lighting in common areas such as foyers and car parks, as well as lift motors and water pumps. “Strata dwellers face a double hit when power bills go up,” the article says.

“Their individual charges rise but so do their levies to pay for their building’s increasing power bills.”

“The problem is that even when they want to make a difference, many owners’ corporations, strata managers and building managers believe it’s too complicated, too expensive and too hard to make their blocks more sustainable.”

The article points to sources of help:

  • The Local Government Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2010 was passed by the NSW Parliament late last year, which will allow owners’ corporations access to low-cost loan funds to retrofit their buildings.
  • Hopes that the national Australian Carbon Trust, set up with $100 million of seed funding, could be extended from commercial buildings to include residential buildings and provide funds for increasing sustainability
  • Local councils initiatives such as from Willoughby, North Sydney and Sydney city
  • Australia’s major biannual strata conference, Griffith University’s Strata Title Conference 2011, to be held in September, the sustainability of apartment buildings is a major thread.

The article points to 10 ways to cut strata power bills and points to an example of energy savings at the 11-level, 88-unit Nexus apartment building in St Leonards.

Despite spending about $165,000 on various energy-saving measures strata levies at the building are the same today as they were in 2005.

Read the whole story