Tips for increasing sustainability in body corporate properties in Queensland

You too can draw inspiration from the world’s largest green residential building to increase sustainability in your body corporate property

Increasing sustainability in body corporate properties has never been more important, and now it looks like Brisbane could become a world leader in setting sustainability standards for body corporates all over the world. In July 2020, Aria Property Group and Koichi Takada Architects lodged their development application to build the world’s largest green residential building in sunny South Brisbane.

Plans for a 30-storey tower that will have more than 1,000 trees and 20,000 plants is being called ‘The Urban Forest’. The tower is set to create a new sustainable benchmark for Australia and is designed to do much more than add to Brisbane’s skyline. The Urban Forest is being created to increase the city’s biodiversity and reduce the city’s ecological footprint.

With buildings accounting for 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually, it’s exciting to see Australia planning to become a front-runner in sustainability and the built environment.

While we can’t all live in this particular building, there are lessons we can all learn from its sustainable approach to community living.When it comes to sustainability in body corporate properties, there’s so much we can all learn from Urban Forest and its approach to a greener community living setting. This includes:

  1. Improving your property’s relationship with energy and carbon dioxide
  2. Making the most of sustainability programs available in your area

Improving your property’s relationship with energy and carbon dioxide

Research shows that the built environment’s relationship with energy and carbon dioxide is complex. Buildings produce emissions and use energy on multiple levels, which vary depending on how the building is constructed, how residents use it, and where the building is located and its climate.

While Urban Forest is an architectural marvel, it will have features that those wanting to increase sustainability in body corporate properties may be able to introduce to their building. It’s important to remember that we won’t achieve the sustainability levels that we need unless apartments and communities become proactive.

If you would like to improve sustainability in your body corporate property, you could:

  • Increase foliage via the installation of planter boxes on balconies for spreading or climbing plants
  • Instal hanging plants on balconies and within common property areas
  • Plant trees in outdoor common areas or potted plants in indoor common areas
  • Space for bicycles to encourage green modes of transport
  • Electric vehicle charging stations.


Planting trees make a huge difference when it comes to a body corporate’s sustainability. As a tree grows, it can consume around 21kgs of carbon dioxide per year. From that, it can release enough oxygen for one human to breathe for two years. This is one of the reasons Urban Forest will contain more than five times the number of trees found in Brisbane’s Musgrave Park, which is nearby the proposed building site.

Creating a sustainable place to call home is also something local councils encourage Queenslanders to consider when it comes to design, stating that the Queensland climate requires appropriate design and building features. Councils are now encouraging residential buildings to embrace our natural climate by designing for natural breezes, shaded outdoor spaces, and protection from harsh sun and rain. To help do so, some Queensland councils are recommending owners check out the Australian Government’s Your Home Design Manual.

Making the most of sustainability programs available in your area

Increasing sustainability in body corporate properties requires more than enhancing design and encouraging the use of plants in common areas or private lots. There are also programs like the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) for Apartment Buildings that will help increase sustainability and save money.

NABERS is used to help save on utility bills by rating your building and benchmarking it to similar buildings. NABERS will measure the energy and water efficiency of your building’s common property assets — such as lifts, lobbies, car parks, gyms and pools — to find out where you can save and reduce on wastage. NABERS will provide you with a rating that, when sustainability measures are in place, can increase your property value and your property’s attractiveness to prospective investors.According to a three-year study funded by the Australian Research Council and the federal government, and undertaken by the Queensland University of Technology, properties with sustainability features sell for at least 10% more than those without. The study also found that properties with sustainable features sell, on average, 13 days sooner than properties without. All evidence seems to lead to this — improving sustainability in body corporate buildings is incredibly important for those living in community living settings.


Supporting sustainability, increasing building value, and opening doors to potential savings… that’s our passion when it comes to enhancing community living. Ask about our CommunityUtilities energy savings program or explore our various green initiatives through CommunityGreen and other related services. If you would like to learn more about improving sustainability in strata settings, you can browse our article library here.