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3 tips to maximise your apartment’s sustainability

By Jamil Allouche

Sustainability is high on the list of priorities for the vast majority of Melburnians. In fact, 90 per cent of Melbourne residents have implemented some kind of sustainability measure in their homes, according to research by Colmar Brunton.

As these attitudes continue to grow, how can owners of Brunswick real estate work to introduce more sustainability into their apartments?

1. Install effective insulation

Insulating your ceiling, walls and floor can save you up to 45 per cent on the cost of controlling your home's temperature, says Sustainability Victoria. 

This is a one-time investment that can make a lifetime of difference to the temperature regulation of your home. However, renovations involving wall interiors can be especially complicated in a strata title lot. This is because the exact borders of your lot determine whether or not the space inside your walls, floor or ceiling belong to you, your neighbour or the owners' corporation.

If the required space belongs to you alone, you're likely permitted to insulate freely so long as other strata rules regarding your renovations are respected. Otherwise, you'll need to appeal to the owners' corporation for approval.

2. Choose sustainability accredited fittings

Just about every aspect of our home lives uses a consumable resource in one way or another. Even passive actions like refrigerating food contribute to our usage.

So it's a smart idea when retrofitting your home to look for accredited fittings and appliances. Sustainability certifications include:

  • Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS): A WERS-rated window will feature the relevant label and often a star-rating from one to 10. A 10-star window will offer not only high performance with regards to energy efficiency, but also noise control and protection from fading.
  • The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS): Similar to above, the WELS scheme rates appliances from one to six stars, with six indicating the best water efficiency.
  • Energy Rating Label: This is a mandatory label on all household appliances sold in Australia. Originally one to six stars, technology has since developed beyond efficiency expectations, meaning it's possible to find 10-star rated appliances.
  • Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL): Performance can be affected by geographic installation location. Because of this, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Team is testing a rating system that reflects the weather conditions of different areas of Australia and New Zealand.

3. Approach better waste management

You can improve your waste management even without a renovation by informing yourself on proper recycling practices and cutting down on single-use items.

However, making building-wide changes to the overall management of waste requires involvement from the owners' corporation. Consider the existing systems for separating types of waste and whether or not they could be improved or made easier for residents. You could also think of establishing on-site compost bins to make better use of food waste.

If sustainability is a major concern for you, consider moving to a city with like-minded, forward-thinking individuals like Brunswick. Contact us today to discuss your residential future.

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