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  • Curtis Chen

Renovate My Apartment


Apartments are subject to specialized design and planning regulations with stringent demands on fire and noise separation. Issues of privacy, overlooking, and the role of private and common areas should be inherent in multi-unit and apartment design. Apartment design and use have implications for both environmental and social aspects of sustainability.Strata title Renovate my apartments are managed by a body corporate or owners’ corporation, which owns structural elements, common areas (e.g. entrances and foyers, carparks, stairs, corridors and gardens) and services (e.g. lifts, lighting in common areas) in apartment complexes. Renovate my apartments for sustainable alterations and additions by individual unit owners are thus often limited. Before you purchase an apartment, seriously consider these options:

choose a unit that already includes important sustainable features

use a consultant to identify potential needs and problems and, where possible, obtain written in-principle approval from the body corporate for any proposed minor improvements

choose an apartment in a development with a progressive, sustainability focused body corporate that is more likely to approve and implement innovative upgrades

avoid buying an apartment with a conservative body corporate that is likely to oppose or delay sustainable retrofits

check the rating under the Green Building Council of Australia’s GreenStar Multi Unit Residential tool which gives a good indication of sustainable performance in recently built apartments.

Communal spaces can be part of apartment living.Choose a unit that already includes important sustainable features in a development with a progressive, sustainability focused body corporate.What to look for when buying an apartmentIn your apartment

Affordability in your preferred suburb

Minimum 6 star NatHERS rating (where available)

Adequate, controllable solar access (see Design for climate)

Well-designed cross ventilation (see Design for climate)

Appropriate glazing and well-designed natural daylighting (see Glazing)

Practical, furnishable floor plan with usable balconies or courtyards

Pleasant outlook, high level security and sound separation

Inclusive, consultative management with a sustainability upgrade agenda

Multi-bin sorters for waste and recycling

In your building

Close to good public transport links (see Transport)

Effective communal recycling and waste disposal facilities

Individual water meters that are read and billed individually

Photovoltaic systems on common property roofs grid fed through common property meters (see Renewable energy)

Co-generation or tri-generation energy systems

Efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plant including variable speed drives and efficient management systems that monitor energy and water demand in real time

Solar hot water pre-heating for centralised systems or individual solar hot water service in smaller developments

Efficient central extractor fan systems for common areas and bathrooms

Carbon monoxide monitoring and efficient lighting in car parks (see Lighting)

Energy efficient lighting in common areas, with appropriate controls such as motion or light sensors

Spaces and facilities for community interaction with lifestyle facilities on your wish list (e.g. pool, gym)

On-site food production potential

Communal composting

Bicycle storage and parking for car share vehicles

Rainwater capture for low water use gardens and carwash facility (see Outdoor water use)

On-site water treatment

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