Next year Australia will switch from a six-star new home energy efficiency minium standard to seven stars.
While currently approved projects will not need to meet the new standard, the process is expected to add to the cost of future apartments and townhouses.
Lowe Living’s Hampton Hill project is expected to reach an average 7.5-star energy efficiency across its 29 residences, with some to reach 8.9 on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme.
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Lowe property development director Jared Byass said there was “no doubt” the increased minimum standard would add to costs, but also create cheaper energy bills — and a more comfortable home.
And with the development 65 per cent sold, Mr Byass said buyers were on-board.
“We have had two buyers who said ecologically sustainable development (ESD) was, if not their main trigger, then a huge component of it,” Mr Byass said.
“The interest is a combination of energy bill prices, but also better outcomes. There’s definitely an ethical shift in mindset in the market.”
He added that they had ESD experts work with their architect during the design phase, leading to an incision in the southern side of the building that brightens the lobby and adds natural light to homes without significant heat gain in warm weather.
Energy efficient appliances, solar panels to power common areas and high-performance double glazing help its green credentials. The development will also have electric vehicle charging provisions for its carparks, and an electric car share in the building.
To date most buyers have been downsizers, with apartments size, quality and views adding to the sustainable appeal.
Another sustainability focused project underway in Burnley next to Richmond is expected to win favour with young families and first-home buyers.
The Mattone townhouse development by Cadre will feature timber battens, retractable awnings, electric vehicle charging and natural cross ventilation.
The project’s three-bedroom homes will range from 113-160sq m, feature solar panels and double glazing, with a minimum 6-star NatHERS energy rating expected for each home — and potentially higher results for some.
Cadre were in the process of reviewing their development practices to push towards eight-star standards when the seven-star announcement came through, and will look for opportunities to tweak their current and future projects.
Director Christopher Tyas said the firm had seen growing buyer demand for sustainability features and wanted to be “industry leaders” in the space.
“Cadre are also exploring ways across their residential, industrial and commercial projects across Australia to introduce better practices and sustainability measures as well as a longer term ‘future focus’ that will be standard within all future Cadre developments,” Mr Tyas said.
He added that Cadre had the view the benefits of more sustainable homes would surpass the additional building costs, estimating current plans for Mattone could save buyers up to 30 per cent on energy bills.
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