Toolkit: Fostering vertical communities

A vertical community is formed when a whole commercial building, with different tenants on different floors, work together to achieve common sustainability goals that improve the occupants’ overall experience of the building.

A vertical community can be fostered in any multi-storey building, including strata managed commercial buildings, and can be done in collaboration wit hthe CitySwitch Green Office program. With a structure and approach in place, the community can address a number of building occupancy issues and opportunities, including improved performance in relation to energy, water, recycling, security, wellbeing and more.

The main challenge to creating a vertical community is bringing together different stakeholders with a variety of corporate cultures, values, commercial goals and objectives. Six broad steps identified from the experience of real commercial buildings are:

  1. Obtain support of the building owner and asset manager
  2. Create the structure
  3. Create shared vision
  4. Set clear goals
  5. Learn and share
  6. Reward and celebrate

Energy efficiency makes a good starting point as it is immediate, measurable and a lot can be done with little or no capital investment. Over time, vertical communities foster dialogue between the building’s key players about sustainability initiatives that involve everyone. The community can provide business and personal dividends, making the work environment more pleasant and increasing the social cohesion in the building.

This toolkit has been developed by CitySwitch to provide detailed advice, tips and guidance on setting up and running a vertical community.

Download the toolkit

Fostering vertical communities (pdf, 259 KB)

Template Memorandum of Understanding (Word document, 74 KB) 

Template key performance indicators (pdf, 540 KB)

Template meeting agenda (pdf, 616 KB)

This Activity received funding from the Department of Industry as  part of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.


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