Sustainable living

How to start a renewable revolution in your apartment building

If you own an apartment, you may already be making smart environmental choices but it’s also worth thinking about common areas.

Potts Point apartments. Image: Jessica Lindsay

As an owner, you collectively own and manage the common areas of your apartment building, which can use up to 60% of total energy consumption.

“Large pumps, motors and fans are used to heat, cool and ventilate apartment buildings, and these can consume large volumes of energy,” says Kimberly Crawford, sustainability engagement coordinator at the City of Sydney.

“Lighting in corridors, car parks and fire stairs also use significant amounts of power.”

Why making the switch can make a big difference

Traditionally, most electricity in NSW comes from coal-burning generators. By purchasing GreenPower for your common areas, you signal to the market to increase the percentage of power sourced from renewable sources – solar, wind, hydro or waste – into the grid.

Sapphire Wind Farm in New England, NSW’s largest windfarm. Image: Sapphire Wind Farm
Sapphire Wind Farm in New England, NSW’s largest windfarm. Image: Sapphire Wind Farm

In the bigger picture, you’re driving greater demand for clean energy. Purchasing GreenPower also helps grow the renewable sector, as some of the profits are invested in large-scale renewables projects.

Moree Solar Farm in NSW. Image: Moree Solar Farm
Moree Solar Farm in NSW. Image: Moree Solar Farm

Since its launch 20 years ago, GreenPower purchases have invested $1 billion of extra funds back to Australia's renewable energy industry. Your building can be part of this revolution.

Making the switch: step-by-step

The bigger your apartment building, the bigger its environmental impact – and the more it costs your owners corporation to run. Improving the energy efficiency of your building can offset any additional GreenPower costs. But GreenPower may not cost significantly more.

Elizabeth Bay apartments. Image: Jessica Lindsay
Elizabeth Bay apartments. Image: Jessica Lindsay

“Switching to GreenPower may not necessarily cost your owners corporation more than your existing tariff arrangement. This is because some common area electricity contracts are not on the correct tariff with their current contracts to start with,” says Kimberly.

Power is part of ongoing admin for your building, so your strata committee can switch to GreenPower without waiting for the annual general meeting.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you work with your strata committee to make the switch:

  1. Ask your strata manager for the income and expenditure statement for your strata scheme. This details and summarises your building’s utilities bills.
  2. Review the existing electricity contract for all common area accounts, bearing in mind some buildings have more than one account. Make sure you include all National Metering Identifiers (NMI) in your search.
  3. Scan the fine print to see if there’s a fee to leave your current provider.
  4. Choose your provider with GreenPower, or find a plan on Energy Made Easy and filter for GreenPower. You’ll see retailers and offers, including your current electricity provider.
  5. Put changing to GreenPower on the agenda at your next strata committee meeting.
  6. Let the committee know that going with GreenPower doesn’t have to mean changing electricity providers, and show them the offers you found.
  7. If you get the go ahead, ask your strata agency to switch the building to GreenPower.
  8. And if you’re on a roll, switch your own apartment to GreenPower.

Your choices matter. Help shape a cleaner future and GreenPower your common areas today.

Further reading

Published 4 October 2018