ARENA helps fund project to demonstrate energy efficient housing at scale

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is chipping in over $700,000 to help Frasers Property Australia build 51 energy efficient homes complete with a solar embedded network. The idea is to demonstrate to the wider housing sector that energy efficient homes can be built at scale and be cost-effective to the customer.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is to fund Frasers Property Australia (Frasers) to the tune of $708,910 to demonstrate that energy efficient and even zero energy demand homes can be built at scale. 

Frasers, an Australian property developer, can now proceed with a $1.42 million project to deliver 51 net zero energy demand homes at Ed.Square in south west Sydney. Frasers calls these homes “Balanced Energy Homes – or BE.Homes”, a composite of solar PV, solar hot water, low-e glazed windows, LED lighting, roof insulation, etc. 

Unlike the Morrison Government’s skeleton closet, these homes are completely gasless. Also unlike the Morrison Government, Frasers name of the game is not just energy efficiency, but cost-efficiency. Each dwelling boasts 4 kW of solar PV, which generates savings all the way down to the induction cooktops. 

One way to reduce costs for the customer is by not charging them for the solar PV. The business model of the project means that all the solar systems in Ed.Square will be owned and operated as an embedded network by Real Utilities, Frasers’ energy retail business. 

Frasers will share their data and knowledge from the builds with ARENA to accelerate the concept in Australia’s housing industry. Last year, ARENA also funded Mirvac for a trial of net zero energy townhouses in the Melbourne suburb of Altona North. [2]

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said projects like Altona North and Ed.Square are designed to encourage Australia’s housing sector to get behind energy efficient housing as a selling point for buyers. “Through this project, we hope to highlight the benefit that energy efficiency and renewable energy can provide to next generation, net zero energy demand homes that will reduce emissions and energy costs,” said Miller. 

“Net zero energy demand must be a goal for the entire property industry across all sectors,” said Frasers Executive General Manager Development, Cameron Leggatt, “if Australia is to achieve its emissions reduction targets. Projects like this are an essential part o the broader effort required.” 

The BE.Homes will be available for purchase this year, but are expected to be completed in 2022, and have their performance monitored for two years. 

The homes will form part of the Ed.Square precinct, a sustainable community of some 991 apartments and 893 terraces and townhouses integrated with surrounding bushland. The larger communities energy needs are also to be provided by Real Utilities by the embedded network of solar and a large unspecified array. 

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