Program helps strata buildings save energy

Smart Blocks, a free national program designed to help apartment owners and strata managers improve the energy efficiency of their apartment buildings, has been awarded the Victorian Premier’s Design Award.

The program has been developed to overcome the specific hurdles apartment owners and strata managers face when trying to make their buildings more sustainable. Forty per cent of new housing in Australian cities is in medium and high-density developments. Yet studies show residents of apartment blocks consume 25 per cent more energy than those in detached dwellings. Up to half of this energy use comes from common areas like hallways, foyers, car parks and swimming pools.

According to the Smart Blocks national coordinator Sarah Johnson, “Smart Blocks is unlike any other energy efficiency program in Australia. Our program is delivered independently and tailored specifically to help apartment owners and their managers improve the energy efficiency of common property.”

Already close to 500 buildings have signed up to the program across Australia, with many reducing their common area energy bills by between 25 and 30 per cent.

“Smart Blocks is now reaching out to local councils and strata management organisations to engage more buildings in the program,” Ms Johnson said. “We know there is real need out there, and by working in partnership with councils and strata managers we hope to be able to transform our existing building stock.”

Smart Blocks’ Best in Category award for Service Design recognises the good design of its groundbreaking online toolkit, measurement and evaluation capability and comprehensive community engagement strategy.

In collaboration with apartment owners and mangers, the program was designed by Huddle Design, Digital Eskimo, Viridis and Sustainability at Work and commissioned by Strata Community Australia, City of Melbourne, City of Sydney and Owners Corporation Network.

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