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Case Study: Develop an energy reduction plan

Alvin Diamond, Strata manager, Melbourne

Alvin Diamond

After a fortuitous experience with an LED lighting retrofit, strata manager Alvin Diamond is developing energy reduction plans for all of his buildings.

You can do this project!

Alvin Diamond of Property Professionals never expected to become a strata manager.

Nearly twenty years ago, he was frustrated at living in a poorly managed apartment block, and stepped in to manage it with a neighbour. The move remapped his future. Friends noticed his work and asked him to manage their blocks. Word spread and Alvin acquired more and more buildings, working late into the night to keep them running smoothly. Eventually he had to give up his day job.

Alvin is a boutique operator who is passionate about making his diverse portfolio of residential buildings in Melbourne as efficient as possible. With a background in business analytics, he thinks a lot about systems and how to make them smarter and more cost effective. He sees introducing energy-saving measures as a no-brainer.

The lucky LED light switch

Alvin’s commitment to energy efficiency comes from first-hand experience. Earlier this year, a provider under the Victorian Government Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme knocked on Alvin’s door and offered to replace his lights with LEDs, free of charge. The provider also installed water saving showerheads and draught excluders, and it didn't cost Alvin a cent — but saved him a bucket of money.

Alvin asked the VEET provider to visit several of the buildings he manages. In one building, the provider switched 300 lights to LEDs in common areas for free and installed two-dozen LEDs with transformers at a discount rate. Sixty-five per cent of the owners also took up the offer for lighting inside their apartments. The energy savings have been so impressive, Alvin is rolling out LED lights in his other buildings. 

Developing energy reduction plans

Alvin is working towards developing energy reduction plans for all of his buildings. He believes this adds enormous value to his strata management offering.

As well as free lighting upgrades, he has also negotiated a better deal with energy retailers for bulk buildings and is using Smart Blocks to put a package together to get owners thinking about investing in options like solar systems. Unsurprisingly, the owners are thrilled.

Alvin's tips for reducing energy in strata buildings

  • Start with quick wins. Switching to LED lighting is easy and pays for itself, so do it first. Look out for motion sensor-triggered lights so they’re not on 24/7, and see if a VEET-type provider will make the switch for free.
  • Put together a clear business case for investment in each energy efficiency project, with data on financial benefits and payback periods, to get owners corporations on side.
  • Try negotiating with energy retailers to see if you can get a better deal for your buildings. There will be applause.
  • Install a solar system when you’ve finished other saving energy projects, so you can see the successive benefit and get the right sized system for your reduced needs.