Car­bon-neu­tral gears up

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Adam Poulsen

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.

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