5 ways to reduce energy use in body corporate properties

5 ways to reduce energy use in body corporate properties

A body corporate is an organisation that manages the common property of a piece of real estate, including residential, commercial, retail and industrial properties.

On December 31, 2007, “body corporates” actually became “owners corporations”, when the Owners Corporations Act 2006 was introduced – but for our purposes, the two terms mean the same thing.

For those of us who work in an office building or industrial estate, or live in an apartment, chances are a body corporate manager is attached to the property.

According to Energy Star, an average of 30% of the energy consumed by a commercial building is wasted,[1] and of course this translates to wasted money for whoever is paying the bills!

5 ways to reduce energy use in body corporate properties

The good news is, for any body corporate property that hasn’t already reviewed its energy use, there are some easy low-cost wins to start saving.[2]

Save 8-14% on lighting in body corporate properties

Most modern buildings feature lights in the common areas that automatically shut off when nobody is around. In addition, the choice of lights themselves is important; incandescent bulbs should be avoided in favour of Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs.

For body corporate managers, upgrading lighting in common areas to work on sensors, and switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, has some cost in the short-term, but will save property owners significant amounts of energy in the long-term.

Save 50% on water systems in body corporate properties

For apartment buildings that have a central hot water system, this alone can account for a staggering 50% of the energy used in the common property! Up to 70% of this energy can be lost between the boiler and the apartment, thanks to poorly insulated pipework.

To reduce this figure, consider insulating your hot water systems and pipes, as well as checking for and repairing any leaks.

Save 6-22% on pools and amenities in body corporate properties

A pool cover or blanket is an essential accessory to reduce energy use. For heating, consider solar as the preferred options, followed by gas as a second preference.

If your pool pump does not carry at least a 5 star energy rating, consider upgrading it.

Save 33% on heating and cooling in body corporate properties

Most systems for heating and cooling have been specifically designed to work best at given settings. Often, these settings will be changed by somebody (setting the temperature slightly lower in summer, or slightly higher in winter), with the result of significantly higher energy consumption.

Instead of changing the recommended settings, it is better to consult the system’s design or maintenance professional to assess and recalibrate the setup, or perform routine maintenance (such as re-gassing an air-conditioning unit or replacing the filters).

I’ve had personal experience with a central heating unit that wasn’t heating some rooms in our building adequately, so my team was turning it up to 25ºC, which was comfortable at reception but roasting in other rooms (and you can imagine how much energy this used!).

I had the contractor who installed it assess the problem, they made some adjustments which meant we could run it at 19ºC, saving a lot of energy, while keeping everyone comfortably warm.

Other options include: installing insulation, sealing draughts, and glazing windows.

Save 33% on ventilation used in body corporate properties

To reduce the energy cost of moving air around your building (generally this is achieved with the use of fans), assess whether fans can be switched off when not used, or whether the fan speed can be reduced but still achieve the necessary circulation.

Apart from reducing energy use, body corporate managers also need to consider energy costs.

In this regard, Bulk Energy can help – we’re an independent, non-biased broker with an interesting point of difference – we take small accounts (often ignored by other brokers) and form buying groups to get better prices with the energy retailers. Please call the Bulk Energy team on 1300 46 2855 today, to find out how you can save on your next energy bill.

About the Author

Hew Gibbs is an entrepreneur whose passion is to take ideas and turn them into commercial success stories. His current joint ventures include Bulk Energy (bringing power to small business), Core Dental Group (7 locations across Melbourne), WellOne (Australia’s 1st healthcare membership) and Price Point Medical (finance for healthcare professionals).

[1] https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/about-us/how-can-we-help-you/improve-building-and-plant-performance/improve-energy-use-commercial

[2] http://smartblocks.com.au/what-can-i-do/

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