When it comes to windows in building design, there are so many different factors that go into their placement, their orientation, their size and their usage. For strata properties, those decisions are significantly different to residential ones and many of the windows inside your complex may be costing you money or saving you money without you even realising.
Windows play an important role in how much energy a strata complex consumes and how much money residents will end up paying.
Often window placement, design and materials can cost you money:
- Energy efficiency:
Windows that are poorly insulated or not properly sealed can allow a significant amount of heat to escape during the winter or enter during the summer. This can lead to higher energy costs for heating and cooling the building.
Windows that are not properly maintained can become damaged or leaky, which can lead to higher maintenance costs.
- Noise pollution:
Windows with poor sound insulation properties can lead to higher noise pollution, which can affect the comfort of residents and the value of the property long-term.
However windows used correctly and with the right materials can save you money too.
- Energy efficiency:
Upgrading to energy-efficient windows can help to reduce energy consumption and lower energy costs.
- Natural light:
Windows that allow more natural light into the building can help to reduce the need for artificial lighting, which can save energy and money.
The type of glazing used in windows can also affect energy efficiency. For example, some glazing can help to reflect heat back into the building during the winter and keep it out during the summer.
- Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC):
The SHGC is a measure of a window’s ability to block heat from the sun. Lower SHGC values are more energy-efficient because they block more heat. Click here to read about Energy Performance Ratings for Windows.
- Noise reduction:
Windows with good sound insulation properties can help to reduce noise pollution, which can improve the comfort of residents and the value of the property.
If you’re wanting to reduce the negative impacts or the costs of having certain windows in your strata property (perhaps in common areas, or even for residents) some suggestions include:
- Planting a tree or installing shading devices in front of windows that get a lot of sun, to reduce solar heat gain and lower cooling costs.
- Installing window coverings such as shades or blinds, which can help to reduce solar heat gain and improve energy efficiency.
- Regularly cleaning and maintaining windows to keep them in good working condition and reduce maintenance costs.
- Investing in energy-efficient window replacement, with good glazing and a low SHGC, to reduce energy consumption and lower costs for residents.
If these changes are considered sustainability upgrades, they are easier to implement on common property now thanks to the changes and updates to the Strata Titles Act. The Strata Titles Act, which governs the management and operation of strata properties in Australia, has undergone several changes in recent years to make it easier for building owners and residents to make sustainability upgrades. These changes to common property don’t require unanimous agreement of all the owners which make them easier to implement and enable bigger and better change to happen for strata properties.