Meet the 2017 President’s Award winner: Christine Byrne

Chris Duggan presents the President’s Award to Christine Byrne at the 2017 Annual Convention Gala Dinner

Each year at the Annual Convention gala dinner the SCA (NSW) Board presents three very prestigious awards to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the strata industry. One of those awards is the President’s Award and this year’s recipient was Christine Byrne from Green Strata.

Christine, who attended the dinner, was shocked to hear her name called out.

“I thought I’d just been invited to the dinner which was a really nice gesture and then suddenly I’m being called on stage,” she said.

“It was quite a surprise, one that I’m still thinking about. In fact this has given me the opportunity to reflect on what has occurred over the past seven years.”

Christine started Green Strata in 2010 to help owners corporations improve the sustainability of their common property and community of residents. The initial focus was on learning and documenting on its website, what could be done, what owners corporations had already achieved and what products and services they used – primarily for energy, water and waste but also transport support, materials, gardens & food, and community-building.

“It’s a very different environment now. What we’ve been doing is now more important than ever. People are paying particular attention to how their buildings can be more energy and water efficient, making changes and seeing results sooner,” Christine explained.

“As energy costs continue to increase payback times decrease, and it’s becoming quite common for medium to high-rise buildings to reduce common property energy consumption by 20 to 60 percent.”

Along the way Christine says she has learnt what it takes to manage a building’s assets.

“I came at things from an owner’s perspective but to get to the part where a building could be sustainable I had to refocus and learn more or less what building managers, and some strata managers, do. All plant and equipment use energy or water, and it’s not only about replacing things, maintenance and efficient operations are just as important.”

Christine says that since starting Green Strata local councils, policy makers as well as the strata industry seek her out. Today her focus is on advocacy and training, particularly to those formulating policy and programs at all levels of government.

“I’ve found it really interesting that people who are making policies about apartments often have never lived in one. Policies have existed around houses but not apartments but thankfully that’s beginning to change.”

Christine says that ideally in another few years Green Strata won’t need to exist.

“We started out of a necessity really but now people have turned their attention not just on saving money through reducing energy consumption but to being more responsible for the environment.”

Christine sees the introduction of NABERS rating tools for apartment building’s common area energy and water consumption as a significant and exciting milestone for the sector. A pilot program will begin in January 2018 with the tool going national in the middle of next year.

It’s exciting to see SCA (NSW) recognise Christine’s work and contribution to the NSW strata industry.