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Smart green strata schemes save thousands in levies

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Apartment owners in 20 blocks in Sydney are being offered the chance to save an average of $25,000 a year on their annual levies … and tackle global warming at the same time.

The City of Sydney’s Smart Green Apartments Program, produced average savings of $25,000 per year and cut carbon emissions by 3,000 tonnes in its pilot phase.

Now another 20 buildings are getting the chance to sign up for phase two of the program, launched last week (Wednesday, August 24).

Apartment buildings are notoriously inefficient when it comes to energy.  Lifts, common area lighting, air conditioning, ventilation and other shared facilities are just part of the equation.

Water has to be pumped up to the higher levels and, especially with a high percentage of apartments tenanted, water waste can be very hard to monitor and control.

The Smart Green Apartments program’s thrust is to identify potential cuts in energy usage, and therefore utility bills and emissions, by monitoring power and water use in selected high-rise blocks. Participating buildings get a customised assessment plus access to an online monitoring system.

“More than 70 per cent of the City’s residents live in apartment buildings – a figure set to increase to 80 per cent by 2030,” says City of Sydney CEO, Monica Barone. “Our residents are some of the most environmentally conscious in Australia and there is a real desire from the community to improve energy efficiency.

“Residential apartments are responsible for around 10 per cent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so this program gives us the opportunity to make some serious cuts.

The program’s tailored assessments commonly lead to more efficient lighting, equipment servicing and upgraded water efficiency, all of which reduce waste and save money, claims the Council.

“By offering apartment owners the means of reducing emissions we can make apartment living far more environmentally friendly and cost-effective,” says Ms Barone.

“The program provided a huge amount of knowledge about the building and how our resources were being used,” says Gordon Streight, Executive Committee Chairman of Bauhaus Apartments in Pyrmont. “I would encourage other buildings to embrace the Smart Green Apartments program and leverage the experience of others across the city.”

Aria Apartments in Waterloo also made significant cuts to bills and emissions by changing all lighting to LED, introducing new recycling stations and an e-waste bin.

Apartment buildings from all suburbs throughout the City of Sydney local government area can apply to be part of the program at smartgreenapartments.com.au.

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