Why did we embark on a project to map 1/3 of the residential strata schemes in NSW on their energy transition journey to solar, batteries, EV charging, heat pumps and more....
Wattblock has been assisting strata buildings to move to sustainable energy since 2014. In the past 9 years we are fortunate to have had assistance from federal government on R&D projects, 2 state governments (NSW and Queensland), 12 local councils, as well as 6 universities, most notably UNSW where we have been co-located for the past 7 years in the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre.
Wattblock has assisted over 1,000 apartment buildings with reports on solar, batteries, EV charging, heat pumps and energy efficiency. We have also project managed over 100 upgrades in apartment buildings to match the real life implementation experience with the theoretical savings which can be made. We have staff that have a cumulative 27 years experience on strata committees in the roles of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
After working on the Futureproofing Apartments program for North Sydney council, we had physically visited 300 different apartment buildings in their local government area (out of about 2,200). We understood that to scale up the energy transition in the strata sector, there needs to be tangible property valuation uplift at the individual apartment level and a "keeping up with the Joneses" effect.
Domain.com.au provided the evidence of the tangible property valuation uplift in this research paper here.
The energy transition in strata apartment buildings can be stimulated by government and sustainability consultants. However, to complete the process of “electrification” we need peer-to-peer influence from strata committee members who have made the energy transition on those strata committee members which are yet to embark on the journey and are still putting it in the "too hard basket". The property valuations of apartments also needs to be gradually reset, creating the financial incentives for strata committees to invest in retrofits at the common property level, to achieve 12.7% property valuation uplift at the individual apartment level.
Electrify Strata starts to crystallise where there property valuation uplift is occurring in Sydney's residential strata schemes and make visible where other strata buildings in the local community have already made the transition. For example, in the City of Ryde a strata committee member who is proactively working to get solar installed, can show other strata committee members that there are 87 other strata buildings in the local area which already have solar.
Saul Griffith wrote a book called “The Big Switch: Australia’s electric future” and founded Electrify2515 to try to convert a Wollongong postcode of houses to be electric. This inspired us to think about how we could apply the same concept to strata buildings. We started with mapping Electrify North Sydney 2060 postcode strata buildings and their progress on solar, batteries, EV charging, heat pumps, electricity monitoring devices, microgrids and NABERS ratings. We then extended this to all the postcodes in the North Sydney LGA. In this area, we have started connecting strata committee members in buildings with solar, EV charging etc with those that haven’t started the journey but are interested to find out more.
The positive feedback we got from Electrify Strata North Sydney galvanised us to keep going with the Electrify Strata project through a number of high density council areas in Sydney. We have been engaged by the local council sustainability teams in each of these council areas and most of them have support programs for strata sustainability. Electrify Strata now maps over 33,194 strata buildings across North Sydney, Inner West, Sydney, Lane Cove, Mosman, Woollahra, Canada Bay, Randwick, Kur-ring-gai, Willoughby, Ryde, Waverley, Northern Beaches, Bayside, Parramatta, Georges River and Sydney's solar capital of Sutherland. The local area maps now have a separate drop-pin, a “digital twin”, of the actual strata building on it. The project covers over 39% of the strata buildings in the state of NSW.
Electrify Strata should help with resetting the relative property values of apartment buildings which have ‘energy features’, compared with those which don’t. It is already providing insights to local councils, grid operators, strata management companies and other strata service providers ranging from lawyers to tradies. It should help create a “keeping up with the joneses” effect on strata buildings to keep moving forward on electrification projects. It also provides recognition to those strata committees who are ahead of the curve and helps them achieve their property valuation uplifts, which they are entitled to as first movers.
A short video on "What is Electrify Strata" can be found here.
Visit the Electrify Strata homepage here.
Join the Electrify Strata community on Whatsapp here.
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