Self-sustaining, all-electric homes for suburbs of Sydney

Residents of a new estate in Sydney’s South-West suburbs will enjoy lower energy bills thanks to self-sustaining homes with distributed energy assets.

With the support of ARENA and led by Frasers Property Australia, 51 new self-sustaining homes will be built at Ed. Square in Edmonton Park. Each house has rooftop solar panels, a ground source heat pump, induction stovetops, solar water heaters, double-glazed Windows, LED Lighting, and roof insulation.

Self-sustaining homes can achieve zero energy consumption by producing more than they consume. They are also cheap to operate and help to mainstream sustainable housing designs.

All-electric homes are not connected to the gas network, saving on connection fees and maximizing energy use from the on-site solar panel.

Frasers Property, one of Australia’s most prominent developers, aims to use the information it gathers to inform its other projects. It also wants to quantify how much value the market places on sustainable housing designs.

Cameron Leggatt, Frasers Property’s Cameron Leggatt, said they would share their data widely to inform both the building industry and the customers about the benefits of energy-efficient appliances and designs.

Mr. Leggatt stated that the project would have a national impact on the housing industry, not just the homes Frasers Property builds for its clients.

If Australia wants to meet its emission reduction targets, it must achieve net zero energy consumption across the property industry. He said that projects like this were essential to a broader effort.

In addition to constructing new homes, the Edmonton Square estate will also use a new embedded network model from Frasers, an energy retailer. This new model allows customers access to solar at lower retail rates.

The new homes are expected to be on the market before the end of the year and completed by 2022. This will support 120 construction jobs and 102 permanent ones.

Home energy transformations

As part of the work to prepare for explosive growth in energy behind-the-meter assets, ARENA will provide $708 910 toward the $1.4 million demo.

The funding builds on what was announced last year, which supported Mirvac in building 49 net-zero energy townhouses in Altona North. This is approximately 10 km away from Melbourne CBD.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller hoped the model could be replicated to produce more sustainable homes.

This project allows us to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency improvements to the next generation of net zero energy homes.

He said: “We are looking forward to working closely with Frasers during the construction of the homes in Edmondson Square, and to sharing valuable information that we hope the industry can use as a model to adopt more homes that have net zero energy demands going forward.”

Paying faster

The payback period for rooftop solar, smart appliances, and batteries decreases as distributed power costs falls.

Experts already claim that it is worth building above the minimum standard required.

Dr. Trivess Moore, an RMIT Research Fellow, has modeled the lifetime costs of high-performance, sustainable homes. He found that the upfront capital costs associated with an 8-star home emitting zero emissions can be recovered within 12-14 years by reducing energy bills.

Moore told ARENA that “the evidence in Australia shows that 7,8-8 stars is the sweet spot for economic performance, sustainability and economics.”

He stated that sharing information on what works and doesn’t and the construction costs to bring about change within the homebuilding industry is essential.

Solar panels, home batteries, and smart appliances can help improve the six-star rating required by most states.

Passive measures such as double glazing, draught-proofing, ventilation, sustainable materials, and water-sensitive designs can boost the rating.

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