The federal government’s green investment bank has made it’s first foray into the Australian property market, underwriting the development of a cutting edge, solar powered and energy efficient student housing complex in Adelaide.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation said on Friday it had committed $32 million of debt finance to the 428-bed student accommodation project, a joint venture investment between Blue Sky Private Real Estate (BSPRE) – which is developing the project – and Goldman Sachs.
The off-campus, purpose-built student apartment complex will be built in the Adelaide CBD, within walking distance of campuses for both the University of South Australia and the University of Adelaide.
It will feature energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning, energy efficient equipment, LED lighting, centralised gas water heating, water efficient taps and a 25kW rooftop solar photovoltaic system.
And the CEFC hopes it will set a new benchmark for energy efficient housing design and market-leading building standards – a sector of the low-carbon economy with plenty of un-tapped potential in the Australian market.
CEFC Property Sector Lead Chris Wade said student accommodation developers had so far kept a limited focus on energy efficiency, tending to build to minimum standards under the National Construction Code, which is typically the lowest cost option.
“We are looking to increase those standards by demonstrating the clear economic and environmental benefits of incorporating clean energy technology in the planning and construction phase,” he said.
“The Waymouth Street development will achieve a minimum 25 per cent improvement on energy efficiency compared with business as usual. This improvement will deliver a significant reduction in the building’s carbon intensity, as well as lower ongoing energy costs.
“We’re demonstrating to property developers, owners and managers that constructing the next generation of energy efficient student accommodation can be rewarded with long-term operational
savings and an improved amenity, which makes a strong business case for the additional upfront investment,” Wade said.
“This project will lift the benchmark for building standards in student accommodation, representing an important step toward achieving net zero carbon buildings,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth in comments on Friday.
“The CEFC has a clear focus on investing in clean energy in industry sectors with the strongest potential for decarbonisation. We have already committed more than $600 million to the property
sector in support of market-leading projects such as this one.
“With inefficient property contributing to almost a quarter of Australia’s emissions, any improvements in this area will have much broader benefits,” he said.