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Take to the sky and live sustainably: choose a high rise and lower your eco-footprint. Sara McMillan tells us how.


As Australia becomes increasingly urbanised, our capital cities' populations are expected to grow by an average of 47 per cent by 2031, according to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council Cities Report 2010.

Residents in apartment buildings may deliver a smaller eco-footprint than their house-dwelling counterparts but the fact is apartment buildings face plenty of their own sustainability challenges.

Common property is one. Almost half the energy consumed in some apartment buildings is used in common areas and facilities such as corridors, car parks and hot water systems. Around 30 per cent of water use across capital cities comes from apartment buildings, and most do not have composting facilities that would greatly assist residents to reduce landfill waste.

Passionate environmentalist and apartment-dweller Christine Byrne recently launched a wiki designed to provide simple and effective advice to people wishing to make sustainable changes to apartment buildings:

For apartment-dwellers struggling to convince their body corporate to implement environmentally sustainable building practices, or just don't know where to start, there are solutions.

Get your facts straight

Find out how decisions concerning your building are made and what your rights are at strata-101

Love thy neighbour

Foster a greater sense of community by getting to know your body corporate and the other tenants. These are the people who make decisions about 'greening' the building www,

Know your impact

Undertake an audit of common property energy and water use--by yourself or with a third-party. The audit will determine wasteful practices and identify costs.

Money talks

Body Corporate is responsible for energy and water-use costs, so when you know what these are, you can then present the Body Corporate with cost-saving strategies and suggestions for sustainable changes. Consider backing up these strategies with case studies of apartment buildings that have successfully reduced their eco-footprint.

Identify the solutions

Check out Christine's wiki for a comprehensive guide to effecting sustainable changes in apartment buildings at

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Title Annotation:GreenHome
Author:McMillan, Sara
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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