Smart Blocks is a free program that operates nationally in Australia, that’s designed to help apartment owners and their owners’ corporations reduce their energy consumption in common property areas.
Broadly speaking, common property is any part of a development not defined as a lot, and would typically include carparks, entrance areas, lifts, hallways, gyms and swimming pools.
It’s estimated that apartment buildings use 25% more energy per resident than detached dwellings and that half of this excess consumption comes from common areas.
The potential to save tens of thousands of dollars is certainly a strong motivator, but every building is different and it can be hard to know where to start.
How Smart Blocks can help reduce owners’ corporation fees:
- They offer toolkits to assess how your building could save money.
- Help you navigate the complex world of strata with advice and templates.
- Connect you with relevant rebate and incentive schemes in your state or territory.
Smart Blocks cite the obvious places to save energy as follows (estimated energy usage shown in brackets):
- Lighting (8-14%)
- Water systems (50%)
- Pools and amenities (6-22%)
- Heating and cooling (33%)
- Ventilation (33%)
- Solar systems
Check out our previous blog, 5 ways to reduce energy use in body corporate properties for ideas on how to save in each of these areas.
Apart from reducing energy use, there is another option – generating energy with solar panels.
This is a long-term play; according to CHOICE the payback times range from 5 to 8 years, however, for a motivated owners’ corporation, this may well be a viable timeframe, especially considering installation of solar panels may increase the value of the property.
At Bulk Energy, we think the Smart Blocks program will reduce owners’ corporation fees.
Over 650 buildings around Australia have signed up, and they cite some interesting case studies, for example: “Last year, Freshwater Place apartments in Melbourne’s CBD replaced 1,200 globes with LED lights and is saving more than 62,000 kWh of energy per year. The switch paid for itself in just over two years.”
For savvy property owners and owners’ corporation managers, we recommend getting involved in the energy rebate program. You can visit the Smart Blocks website to join.
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).