Carbon-neutral gears up
WHAT could be WA’s first carbon-neutral apartment complex will be built in Fremantle, with construction expected to begin in early to mid 2021.
The 39-apartment complex, called Montreal Commons, would be among the first of its kind in Australia, according to developer OP Properties.
Director Luke Parker said he was not aware of any carbon-neutral apartment complexes in WA and there were “maybe five nationally”.
“There is no central register and many developments that claim to be carbon neutral have not been third-party certified,” he said.
“The leading Federal Government third-party certification agency, Climate Active, has not yet certified one carbon-neutral apartment building in Australia.
“However, we’re working with them and hope Montreal Commons will be their first.”
The project would use developer-funded 75 kW solar rooftop photovoltaic power stations (PVs) and local battery storage, topped up with 100 per cent green energy from the grid through local electricity retailer Change Energy.
Apartment owners would be able to sell excess solar electricity they generated back to a 670kWh on-site battery. During peak demand they could buy back electricity as required.
Mr Parker said the project would produce an ongoing financial incentive or return to owners.
“Strata fees and electricity costs are two of the largest outgoings for residents of apartment buildings,” he said.
“We’ve developed a model in which electricity costs for residents are no different to anyone else living in Perth, but all excess electricity generated from the rooftop PVs is sold to generate revenue.
“That revenue is used to offset 50 per cent of the strata levy cost, which works out to be about $850 per apartment per year on an ongoing basis.
“Historically, making the decision to invest in and live low carbon comes at a cost premium and this has restricted its wide-scale adoption.
“By owning a Montreal Commons apartment you get paid to live low carbon.”
Mr Parker said OP Properties would cover the full cost of installing the rooftop solar system, ensuring no debt or pay-back period for apartment owners, with ownership and full benefits of the system then handed over to the future strata company.