If you live in an apartment you will be a part of a strata scheme where you own or rent a ‘lot.’ A lot refers to the cubic airspace, the boundary walls, floor and ceiling of your individual apartment or townhouse. The measured lot space may include balconies and courtyards, as well as the boundary floors, walls and ceilings.
Everything that is not part of your lot is common property, which is owned collectively through the body called the owners corporation or body corporate.
Common property includes:
- the boundary walls of a lot
- any windows and doors within boundary walls
- the roof and any roof space
Due to some areas being owned by the owners corporation there are specific rules about the changes that you can make in your apartment. Several of these are relevant when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Some of these rules relate to sign off requirements from the owners corporation and strata managers. The rules are also there for health and safety reasons. Before you make any changes to your apartment or townhouse, please ensure you are clear on the laws and processes for making changes. For more information please check out this link. http://greenstrata.com.au/topic/what-do-i-own-or-rent, which will provide specific guidance. If you would like to upgrade any of the common areas, please refer to Smart Blocks for information about what can be done and speak to your owners corporation before making any changes. If you are unsure, please call the Our Energy Future team on 1300 339 915.
Below are some handy energy efficiency tips for your apartment.
Lighting. There’s absolutely no doubt that updating your lighting – and your habits – saves energy and money. Using floor and table lamps fitted with LEDs instead of halogen downlights can offer an easy way to save. You can also replace halogen downlights with more efficiency LED downlights.
For more detailed information see our lighting page for more information https://ourenergyfuture.org.au/household-lighting/.
Hot water. There are plenty of ways to reduce your hot water usage. Taking shorter showers, washing your clothes in cold water, keeping your mixer tap in the cold position and using an efficiency dishwasher are some simple measures you can take. You can also consider replacing your hot water system for a more efficient one. See our hot water page for more information https://ourenergyfuture.org.au/hot-water/.
Keeping warm! Heating and cooling can account for up to 40% of your household energy use – making it the largest energy user in the average home. Reduce the need to turn up your heating with a few of the handy tips below:
- Use rugs or carpets on timber, concrete or tiled floors in winter
- Keep a blanket handy to provide extra warmth when watching TV or doing other stationary activities on cold evenings
- Seal off the gaps and drafts in your doors (please refer to Green Strata for guidance on this due to fire risks – http://greenstrata.com.au/topic/heating-cooling)
- If you have windows or vents that are permanently open (for example in a laundry of toilet), keep the doors to these rooms closed and put internal draught strips along the doors
- Put up curtains to keep the heat in. Again, please refer to Green Strata for guidance on any regulations in place
- Dress for the weather. Before turning on the heater, put on warm clothes. Your body loses most heat through exposed skin, head, hands and feet
- Heat & Cool naturally – Wherever possible, let nature do the work for you. During winter, prevent heat loss by shutting windows and doors and closing curtains at night, and opening during the day to let the sun in.
Appliances. Appliances can account for up to 30 per cent of your home energy use. Explore these tips to reduce your consumption.
- Look for the Energy Rating label when purchasing appliances and opt for more energy efficient models
- Buy the right sized appliance to suit your needs
- Turn off appliances at the plug when not using them, as standby power can account for 10-15% of your energy bill
- Turn off mobile phone and other chargers at the wall. They use power even if they’re not connected to your phone or equipment
- When you go on holidays, switch off all appliances at the wall that don’t need to be on
- Turn your modem off when you are not home
If you are considering solar in for you apartment, check out the decision tree for more guidance on what type of solar can be considered.
Image credits: Bjorn Sturmberg, SunTenants