Look Up, Not Down at Your Carbon Footprint

The popular image of a sprawling, carbon-neutral block with chooks and a compost bin can often eclipse the idea that homes of all kinds can become sustainable. With over 70 per cent of residents in the City of Melbourne living in high-rise apartments however, it’s an area that needs to reconsidered in addressing the challenges of environmentally friendly inner-city living.

As high-rise specialists, MICM Property has attracted a host of exciting environmental partnerships in recent years and is often approached for input into community, government, council and energy provider forums. Our Manager, MICM Owners Corporation Dorothy LeClaire, engages our company with a great range of partnerships such as the City of Melbourne’s Eco-city Sustainability Campaign.

“This program reduces waste and energy usage throughout our city in a host of different ways, from building better bike lanes to introducing low-flow showerheads. The Hi-RES initiative of this campaign focuses on the unique sustainability issues of high-rise apartments,” says Dorothy.

Four MICM Property’s buildings are involved in this pilot program to engage stakeholder opinion and develop useful ‘toolkits’ for the use of Owners Corporation managers and residents. Eight MICM Property buildings were also involved in the similar ‘SOCS & Blocks’ program by the City of Port Phillip.

The changes that come about are generally simple, inexpensive solutions that make a huge difference. Smaller ‘Murfe’ recycling bins were designed to fit snugly into smaller apartment kitchens to reduce contaminated waste from residents disposing of it in an unrecyclable plastic bag, and 50W halogen lamps in common areas are replaced with LED or even 35W globes. “These changes also result in big savings,” says Dorothy. “This is not only for the resident paying rent but ultimately the investor – adding to the value of the property and controlling costs throughout its lifespan.”

Dorothy’s work in this area has engaged her with a more technical joint initiative with Origin Energy that is currently ongoing. Detailed, in-depth evaluations of plant and equipment is being undertaken to assess the usage of utilities and ultimately come up with solutions and a funding plan (based on savings). This is as technical as assessing the power use of exhaust fans in buildings and considering options such as installing fewer fans, regulating voltage or even taking advantage of off-peak electricity prices.

With fewer government rebates for high-density living, MICM Property is committed to proactively seeking out and finding new ways to observe a more sustainable lifestyle – even for city dwellers.