4th December 2017
Strata Energy News
Energy Security Focus as Summer Looms
From registers of life support systems to installation of common area defibrillators and humble torches for blackouts, strata managers are taking a second look at energy security.
Summer may be coming late, but it is coming. With that there is increased air conditioning loads from strata buildings….and the rest of the grid.
Everyone is hoping that there is not a repeat of last summer’s blackouts in South Australia. There are predictions that the peak loads of summer could affect NSW and Victoria this year, but everyone is working to make sure that doesn’t happen.
With summer, comes an increased focus on energy security.
For a strata scheme that can mean many things. At the high end of the market, it might mean tri-generation systems which allow a precinct to operate on locally generated energy during a grid blackout.
Some of the larger, older strata schemes have diesel generators which can fire up to keep a building online if there is no juice coming into the building.
But what is it that strata committee members are really thinking about when it comes to a power outage? It turns out that these things are a little more terrestrial in nature.
How do I charge my mobile phone and iPad?
Will I have to throw out the contents of my freezer?
Can I get out of the building if I live on the 6th floor and my knees aren’t so good?
Am I likely to get burgled if I do leave the building?
There are a range of solutions coming to residential strata buildings in 2018 which will include lithium-ion battery packs. These will allow the lift to run for a couple more hours during a power outage and allow mobility-impaired individuals to exit the building.
During black-outs in residential strata, the normal response is to “chock open fire escape doors” so people can freely walk up and down the fire escape and in and out of each lift lobby. This leaves the strata building wide wide-open to intruders. Without power, security camera systems are no longer operating. Furthermore many people choose to leave the building as they cannot do anything in their apartment. Conditions for theft are perfect!
What else are stratas particularly poor at doing on the energy security front?
Very few strata schemes have a ‘life support register’ of apartments which have important electrically powered equipment in them. (e.g. assisted breathing aparatus). This life-support register needs to be refreshed every year. Also, which apartments have mobility impaired dwellers in them, who can’t make it down a multi-floor fire escape without assistance?
How many apartment buildings have battery-powered defibrillators in common area foyers? The most common cause of death in Australia is cardiac arrest. This is an area where Australian strata can learn from the Japanese, who are making defibrillators standard in apartment blocks.
It might even be worth investing in a common area torch for each floor of the building and battery-powered LED beacon lights. These can be used to help safely navigate the fire escape after everyone’s mobile phone battery has depleted.
As we can see, energy security is actually a much bigger issue for strata than we previously thought.
Call Wattblock today for an energy security audit for your strata.
Contributor, Strata Energy News
Strata managers can now register buildings in the City of Sydney and in Melbourne for a fully funded electric vehicle recharge assessment. Registrations for Brisbane have closed. However, if you're interested in learning more contact Scott Witheridge on 0407 012 034. Read more about the program here.
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