Is your strata block pouring money down the drain (almost) literally? Sydney Water claims its Waterfix Strata efficiency program is saving 75 Olympic sized swimming pools and close to half a million dollars a year across just nine apartment blocks in Sydney.
The thing about saving water in strata blocks isn’t just the impact waste has on the environment and your water bills, there’s an energy saving too, as all that water has to be pumped up into any building more than three storeys high. Waste less water and you waste less energy and spend less money.
Nine high rise apartment buildings have undertaken the WaterFix Strata service over the past two years, says Sydney Water, with a combined yearly saving on water bills of over $387,000 and water savings totalling 187 million litres a year.
Project Manager Tony Robinson says this is just one of the many ways Sydney Water is working to help customers save water during the drought.
“The Waterfix Strata program helps reduce strata customers’ water bills through the repair and replacement of leaking taps and toilets. We also replace old single flush toilets with modern dual flush models and replace old shower heads with more water efficient fittings,” says Mr Robinson.
“Customers pay nothing up-front and do not see an increased bill. The water efficiency upgrades are paid for over time in line with the value of the water they save. After this time, which normally takes around 2-3 years, the Body Corporate will see significant reductions in their water bills.”
Sydney Water works with strata managers and evaluates each strata building to assess the possible water savings through the building’s water use history and water efficiency benchmark tools.
Only eligible buildings with potential for good water savings are selected, with every apartment in a building then fitted with devices and leaks fixed.
Oaks Harmony Apartments in Haymarket completed the program last year. Strata Manager Billy Glover says they’re now saving over 30 million litres a year and are achieving a bill saving for the building of over $61,000.
“Plumbers accessed every apartment and checked for leaks. Old and leaking taps were repaired or replaced, and all shower heads were replaced with water efficient fittings,” said Mr Glover. “We saw a reduction of nearly 28% in water use last month, compared to pre Waterfix.”
The 154-apartment complex Windsor Plaza in Sussex St Sydney achieved a 34 percent reduction in total water usage after WaterFix.
Andrew Whittaker, Head of the Windsor Plaza Strata Committee, says this gave the Owners Corporation a saving of over $44,000 a year.
“Windsor Plaza had a high number of renters, many of whom were unwilling to raise any problems or repair requests with their property managers,” he says. “There have been significant reductions in hot water gas bills for apartment owners and tenants because they are now using less hot water.
“There is also less wear and tear on our pumps to pump water up to the header tanks and water heaters on the roof of the building. Our tenants are really, really happy with the way this has gone.”
Museum Towers in Castlereagh St has achieved a 27 percent reduction in water use, with water bill savings of approximately $33,700 per year.
Simon Ruben, Chairman of the Strata Committee at Museum Towers said “the problem that we had as a Strata was that tenants weren’t reporting leaking toilet cisterns or taps and over time that contributed to a significant waste of water.”
“In addition to savings in water there has been an immediate cost saving in gas and electricity bills as collectively the building residents are using less water. This means less water needs to be pumped to the tanks, which are all located on the upper floors and less hot water needs to be heated.”
City of Sydney Council is supporting the WaterFix Strata program through their Smart Green Apartments program however Waterfix Strata is available to all apartments across Greater Sydney
If strata managers are interested they’re urged to contact Tony Robinson at 8849 5119 or email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.