What’s stopping your block from being greener?


Living as I do in a building that won an international architectural award for sustainability features in its design – many of which never made it off the drawing board – I may be a bit sensitive to environmental plans that never see the light of day.

There’s many a slip between what’s promised and what’s delivered in planning – especially in apartments. And there are too many people in strata for whom sustainabilty is only seen as an immediate cost and not as a long-term benefit, either to their block or the planet. 

In our case, the solar panels that were supposed to heat the outdoor swimming pool were never installed and, 20 years on, we are still heating our pool, and the surrounding air, with energy created at least in part  by fossil fuels.

The excuses trotted out every AGM as to why we can’t have solar panels now have, over the years, ranged from the comic to the chronic.

It would cost more to pump the pool water on to the roof that you would save in heating, said one chair who couldn’t tell the different between a domestic hot water booster and photovoltaic cells.

The panels could blow off and kill someone, was another excuse. In the following storm the only fatality in the city from flying objects was someone hit by a gas cylinder. So far there has been no moves to protect the general population from airborne barbecues.

Oh, and then there was “Fitting the solar panels would endanger the waterproof membrane on the roof” – because, obviously, you would use installers who’d never been on the roof of an apartment block before.

Anyway, rant over: I’m happy to promote a survey about barriers to improvements sustainable infrastructure that havecome up in in your block.

As well as helping to save the planet, it’s worth doing as you could be in the running to win an iPad Air. But you are on a tight deadline as the survey closes on August 9.

And if you really want to get behind the project, download and print this poster for your noticeboard, so others can take part too. – JimmyT

Explanatory notes from the organisers.     

You’re invited to participate in an online survey to share your views and experiences about installing sustainability infrastructure in your building.

By ‘sustainability infrastructure’, we mean solar panels, batteries, smart meters, efficient hot water systems, electric vehicle charging stations and other emerging energy innovations (such as energy management services). 

The survey takes 10-15 minutes and will assist the NSW Government to better understand the best ways to remove barriers for owners, tenants and owners corporations wanting to install sustainability infrastructure.

Win an iPad Air

By completing it you will be entered into a prize draw for an iPad Air 64GB valued at $779, to be held on the 17th August 2020. 

 Click here to take the survey.

We’d be delighted if you could also help us reach more people by:

  • downloading a flyer to post your building’s noticeboard
  • forwarding this email to friends and colleagues that own or live in apartment, townhouse or villa in NSW
  • spreading the word on social media

We greatly value your participation and insights. Thank you!

Further information

This survey is part of a research project by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology and Green Strata for the Department of Industry, Planning and Environment.

Your privacy is important to us. Any information provided will be solely used for the purposes of the stated research project and will not identify you in any way. 

Please see the first page of the survey for further details on the project, how we will use the information you give us and how we will ensure confidentiality.

2 Replies to “What’s stopping your block from being greener?”

  1. Jimmy-T says:

    This is now being discussed in the Flat Chat Forum

  2. Sir Humphrey says:

    Whereas 20 years ago it might have made sense to heat pool water directly with flat plate solar heat collectors, it might now make more sense to fill the roof with solar PV electricity generation and then use heat pumps closer to the pool to heat the water. When the pool water is up to temperature, the electricity generation can be running other things such as ventilation and lighting of an underground carpark, corridor lighting, lifts etc. Any excess generation can be exported to receive a feed-in tariff (FIT). The FIT might not be much these days but it is better than nothing.
    If you have a gas-fired, reticulated hot water system for the block, the solar PV could be running heat pumps to replace that gas for a substantial saving to owners.

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