Strategic planning pays dividends

City of Sydney Councillor Philip Thalis presents the 2017 winners with their awards.

Located in Darlinghurst is a 260 lot strata plan that has made significant reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions. Mark Broadley chairs the strata committee and explains the process that was undertaken to achieve this result.

“Over the past 10 years, our strata plan has been guided by a strategic plan,” Mark explained.

“This is a vision documenting our objectives and practices and its purpose is to guide the management of the building. A core aspect of this is environmental sustainability. We established an environmental sustainability framework, which is reviewed and reported on annually, and used to prioritise investment and measure outcomes.”

In recent years the committee had noted rapidly increasing utility bills and did not wish to increase the strata levies. Having received feedback from the residents wishing to improve environmental sustainability, a decision was made to take positive action.

The sustainability measures implemented were wide ranging. The first initiatives focused on water savings, encouraged by the drought conditions at the time, and programs promoted by Sydney Water. On a larger scale level, tanks were installed to collect water for car-washing and irrigation, while on the smaller level the strata committee also established a shower head replacement program. This provided owners with options available to install water efficient shower heads in their apartments.

“We were also encouraged through involvement in the CoS Smart Green Apartments program, which demonstrated the potential benefits we could achieve. We sought specialist advice, which indicated that we could reduce our environmental impact by 20 percent,” Mark said.

“Recently the focus has been on improving energy efficiency and reducing power consumption and costs. We installed LED lighting throughout our common areas and car park resulting in a savings of more than $10K per month.”

“Other initiatives include developing a residents’ herb garden (we are currently trialing pod style beds), encouraging birds in the gardens, and encouraging recycling. We have also installed a charity collection bin.”

It was in seeing the outcome of these initiatives and the impressive results that prompted the committee to enter the awards.

Mark wants others to know that the awards are a great way of increasing awareness of programs and initiatives being undertaken by strata buildings.

“There are limited ways of sharing information and experiences between buildings, and hopefully the awards are one way of improving this,” he said.

“It is always great when hard work and dedication are recognised. Our programs have been team efforts between our consultants, our facility and building managers, and the committee representatives.”

“Sharing the journey with them has been a terrific experience and the award caps it off nicely,” Mark concluded.