TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF
Developers are seeking ways to protect the environment and buyers’ hip pockets, as cost of living pressures continue to cause financial pain. One developer is trialling solar panels on its new apartment complex, another is using Tesla-technology. And EnviroDevelopment certification, issued by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), has also become a major selling point, as potential buyers look towards a more sustainable and cost-effective lifestyle.
Drift by Mosaic at Coolum recently secured a “six-leaf” EnviroDevelopment certification after meeting the requirements in all six categories — ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community.
Other developments to have achieved full certification include, but are not limited to, The Hamilton by Shayher Group, Botanica Residences by ARIA Property Group, Stockland North Shore in Townsville, Defence Housing Australia’s Warner Lakes development, Halcyon Glades and Halcyon Landing and Harmony Sunshine Coast by AVID Property Group.
UDIA Queensland CEO Marina Vit said they had seen a steady increase in the number of developers seeking certification.
“The program itself has been running for about 11 or 12 years but it has definitely grown in popularity in recent years,” she said.
“Developers and consumers are more attuned to the importance of sustainability.”
But while the environment is one factor influencing developers and buyers, the potential savings on utilities’ bills is another major drawcard.
The most recent ABS Household Expenditure Survey revealed that housing and power costs jumped by more than 25 per cent between 2009/10 and 2015/16, while the 2017 Worldwide Cost of Living survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Brisbane in 31st spot – the fifth highest jump in world rankings. Recently, Mirvac announced a partnership with energy provider, Evergen, in a bid to address the rising costs of power.
The partnership will see solar offered to a limited number of residents at Ascot Green, Mirvac’s $950 million joint development with the Brisbane Racing Club at the Eagle Farm Racecourse. The trial will see solar panels and batteries installed on the rooftop recreation deck, and Mirvac general manager of residential in Queensland, Warwick Bible, said it could reduce bills by up to 70 per cent.
Another developer embracing green technology is Halcyon, which is constructing Tesla-powered homes at its retirement villages. Bob and Pam Jones became the first to own a Tesla Powerwall battery-powered home in an over 50s community, moving to Vision by Halcyon late last year. The difference in their power bills was immediately noticeable.
“We are now looking at putting in another power wall to get it down to zero,” he said.
Meanwhile, houses at AVID Property Group’s Brentwood Forest development have been designed with a six-star energy rating and to allow for “optimal solar orientation”.
“It’s impossible to ignore the fact that the costs of utilities is rising for households. At the same time people are trying to reduce their carbon footprints l,” AVID development manager Peter McLeod said.
“By producing energy efficient designs we can help people control their bills, and meet the demand for more sustainable housing products.”
Water efficient fixtures, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting for irrigation and sitespecific landscaping are also among features being embraced by developers.
Drift by Mosaic (pictured) recently secured EnviroDevelopment certification. Bob and Pam Jones (right) are saving money at their Tesla Powerwall battery-powered home at Vision by Halcyon.