5 Ways Strata Communities Can Go Green
The Green Movement
As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, the thoughts of the global population are turning towards attaining a sustainable way of life. A progressive collective shift is taking place in which people are thinking carefully about the impact of their individual carbon footprints and how they can do their part to make the planet a healthier place to live1. As a result, a surge in demand for ecologically friendly residences has occurred within the property market.
A study Strata Research survey conducted in 2013 highlighted the growing enthusiasm for energy-efficient facilities with sixty five percent of leaseholders believing these features where a deciding factor when choosing where to live2. Although ‘going green’ has expensive connotations, successfully installing energy-saving systems such as solar panels, water conservation facilities, double-glazed windows, sensors and LED light bulbs will help strata managers save huge amounts of money. The money saved can subsequently be used for maintenance costs. Additionally, Strata Managers will be compensated for the initial costs of these eco-friendly designs as they begin to draw in green enthusiasts who are willing to pay an above market price.
Making sustainable changes to residential dwellings is a dual investment. Not only will it aid the planet with huge reductions to the buildings overall carbon footprint, but it will also result in monetary savings across the board. Here are a number of ways in which Strata Managers can turn their residential portfolio into an ecologically sustainable development.
Although it seems obvious, substituting standard incandescent light bulbs with LED (light-emitting-diode) bulbs can create enormous energy savings. These LED bulbs are hugely efficient as they use considerably less energy to generate an equal quantity of light. The U.S Department of Energy has stated that if the country exchanged the entirety of their incandescent bulbs with LEDs, they would save up to two hundred and fifty billion over the next twenty years with reduction in electricity depletion reaching almost half its original output3.
Part of LEDs huge energy efficiency is their impressive lifecycle. The large majority of top end LED bulbs boast a lifespan of fifty thousand hours. The average incandescent light bulb lasts for one thousand two hundred hours with fluorescent bulbs coming in at ten thousand hours. This means that once installed, an LED light fixture will last for up to eleven years3. At Hyde Park Towers, seven hundred lights were replaced with LEDs and fluorescent tubes where reduced by half in areas such as the car park by installing sensors. As a result, the corporation saved four thousand five hundred dollars in the fist year with an overall energy consumption falling by twenty percent4.
Using IoT (Internet of Things) sensors can help strata managers properly manage their buildings. Through the use of smart sensors, such as the Urbanise Internet of Things Sensors, will help to boost preventative measures surrounding a variety of system breakdowns, as well as reducing the amount of onsite staff needed to maintain a building at optimum efficiency. Using the Urbanise Internet of Things technology, strata managers can easily install contextual sensors to detect a number of issues such as, pump and motor health, refrigeration failures, plumbing leaks, drip tray overflows and mechanical overheating5.
Often, within buildings, units such as HVAC consume large amounts of unnecessary energy by running on a near permanent basis. Keeping different sectors of a building at appropriate temperature levels can be a time and energy-consuming task. If refrigerators are too hot, food will go off, potentially causing life-threatening problems. If living spaces are too hot, inhabitants will suffer, although this is not life threatening, it too causes problems for an already busy strata manager. Using intelligent remote sensors to help detect whether or not a space is inhabited, instead of continuous staff maintenance check-ups, can reduce the amount of electricity used in these processes and save thousands in energy bills5.
Energy Efficient installations
There a variety of energy-efficient installations that will help limit the amount of energy used by buildings and tenants as a whole. Two effective methods include that of solar panel and double-glazed windows.
- Solar Panels
To reduce the amount of energy used up in common areas such as terraces and hallways – sectors that are traditionally responsible for sapping a large amount of a building’s energy supply – residential towers across the globe are installing solar panels to reduce reliance on the electricity grid. An example of this can be seen in India, where the Cliff Tower, a sixteen-storeyed apartment installed one hundred and twenty solar panels on its roof. The eco-friendly move has slashed the building’s yearly energy expenditure by ninety percent6. The secretary of the apartment tower stated that their monthly bill went from fifty five thousand rupees to fifty thousand rupees, lessening their total yearly costs by ninety percent6.
- Double Glazing
Another feature that can greatly benefit the environment is the installation of double-glazed windows. Due to the insulation that double-glazed windows provide, hot and cold countries alike can benefit. In colder countries such as the United Kingdom, the energy spent on maintaining an appropriate temperature during winter can become costly, both financially and environmentally. In the U.K, CO2 levels can reach eighty six million tons per annum7. By fitting residential buildings with double-glazed windows, the amount spent on energy can be greatly reduced, as residential dwellings are responsible for a huge amount of wasted energy.
Water Conservation in Strata Management
Water conservation is important to properties and buildings when avoiding unnecessary financial costs but equally so, in a bid to become eco-friendly. There are several ways in which strata management can combat extraneous water usage.
- Water Saving Installations
In an effort to save water, there are a few installations that can be made to a property’s facilities. Dual-flush toilets enable individuals to decide how much water to use and allow buildings to conserve a greater quantity of water. Establishing water-efficiency in showerheads, taps, dishwashers and washing machines can help in saving energy and water and promote further sustainability without hindering performance. A greywater system can help a building’s conservation by collecting used water from showers, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers, treating it and re-distributing it for household water usage. This form of recycling can drastically lower water wastage.
- Leak Maintenance
Leaking from taps, showerheads and toilets can cause huge and unnecessary water consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that a tap that leaks one drip per second wastes more than three thousand gallons per year8. This shocking figure can easily be amended by frequent checks of a building’s water facilities. In doing so, you are continuing a property’s sustainability and lowering financial costs.
- Collective Services
Shared services between a property’s tenants can make a huge difference in a property’s water efficiency. Share services such as one centralised boiler, one centralised solar collector, one centralised water tank and shared laundry are some of the ways that a building can conserve water and are instrumental in creating sustainability8.
According the U.S Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings are responsible for twenty percent of energy used globally9. All over the world, people are realising the need to become more ecologically sustainable and are making progressive moves towards becoming a greener global society. Strata managers have a duty to embrace environmental developments. Not only will this benefit the planet as a whole, it will also save their clients money due to the decrease in energy expenditure.