There is a perception amongst many in our community, that living in an apartment is a barrier that prevents them from leading a sustainable lifestyle.
Stuart and Heike are living evidence that that doesn’t have to be the case. They returned from a spell living in Berlin inspired to continue the sustainable approach to apartment living that was common place in Germany.
It started when their apartment block common area was overflowing with bikes. As a group, they invested in some bike racks and ensured every apartment had one. As a result more people started to cycle. They discovered a number of other tenants had a shared passion for living lightly, so they formed a committee to see what else they could achieve.
They set up a compost bin at the entrance to the building, soon the bin was full, so they set up another. The compost can be used by all the tenants. They’ve since built more bins from reclaimed timber.
Stuart and Heike heat and cool their apartment passively, keeping blinds closed on hot afternoons and opening doors and windows on hot nights. They seal draughts with stick on brush seals at the bottom of doors or draft stoppers in the winter.
Wherever possible they purchase second hand, upcycle and have made some great hard rubbish finds; from their lounge suite to the timber they use for various projects. They use water saving tap fittings and LED lights. They turn lights and appliances off when they’re not in use. They have a veggie patch, shop locally and choose to cycle rather than use their almost redundant car.
As Stuart pointed out, “very simple measures can make a big difference, we can all play our part. Living in an apartment doesn't have to limit that. One of the most pleasing aspects of living the way we do is the shared sense of community it's created, that's been priceless”.