Waste, energy and water

Sustainable apartments program saves resources and money

Free tailored energy, water and waste assessments help to make improvements

Bauhaus Apartments building manager Gordon Streight

Apartment owners in the City of Sydney area can save money and reduce their environmental impact with the Smart Green Apartments program. The program provides free tailored energy, water and waste assessments and technical support to make upgrades.

Apartments are often thought of as more sustainable than single houses, but this is not the case. Energy consumption per person is greater in high-rise apartments. Apartment buildings have energy hungry centralised equipment like lighting, air-conditioning, lifts, ventilation and other shared facilities. Water use inside apartments is often extremely high and residents recycle half as much as those in houses.

A pilot program carried out with 30 inner city apartment buildings identified average savings of 30% in energy and 25% in water use. Gordon Streight, owner and Chair of the Executive Committee at Bauhaus Apartments in Pyrmont, says the benefits were enormous.

“The program consisted of a fully funded professional audit of our energy consumption (electricity and gas), our water consumption and waste management. This provided a huge amount of knowledge about the building and how our resources were being used.

“Payback periods for many of the proposed projects were short, so decisions to proceed were no-brainers,” said Gordon.

To reduce waste, Bauhaus Apartments set up a clothing bin in the car park. The bin is now emptied around 20 times each year.

Gordon’s view is that making building improvements is a necessity that leads to lower maintenance costs and therefore strata savings. It creates better living conditions for residents and makes the building more attractive to buyers.

“Smart Green Apartments’ ongoing support and networking opportunities helped us learn how other buildings tackle the same issues as us, which has been invaluable,” said Gordon.

E-waste bin at Bauhaus Apartments. Image: Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney
E-waste bin at Bauhaus Apartments. Image: Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney

Jeff Beere, the building manager at Aria Apartments in Waterloo, easily obtained cooperation from the owners. Under his guidance, a number of major projects were introduced. LEDs in the common areas were upgraded and recycling collection points were installed, including an e-waste bin.

Jeff also points towards the benefits of learning from others. He encourages other owners and their building managers to join the program and enjoy the benefits.

Applications for Smart Green Apartments open on Monday 6 August 2018 and close Friday 14 September 2018.

Published 18 May 2018, updated 27 September 2018