CEFC commits $60m to help transform office block into energy efficient retirement housing

An underutilised office block in Canberra’s south will be transformed into state-of-the-art seniors living precinct, incorporating leading energy efficiency measures, with the help of an investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The LDK Greenway Seniors Living Village will provide 380 residences for seniors and will incorporate energy efficiency lighting, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and improved insulation and double glazing through the residences, improving the quality of housing and lowering costs for residents.

The building will also feature a 700kW rooftop solar installation and will offer residents access to gardens, cafes, community spaces and a 130-seat auditorium.

The measures are expected to result in development with half the greenhouse gas emissions footprint compared to current building standards.

“We are delighted to see our finance being used to cut emissions in the retirement living and aged care sector, which is experiencing strong growth as Australians live longer and healthier lives.” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said in a statement.

“This investment is a great example of how we can cut emissions across every sector of our economy, benefiting our environment, lowering our energy use and cutting our emissions.”

“It’s also exciting to see the property sector recycling buildings, giving large-scale assets such as commercial office buildings a second life in an environmentally-friendly manner.”

The CEFC will make a $60 million investment in the project, adding to its portfolio of residential property investments, and continues the Corporation’s trend of identifying opportunities to support improvements in the environmental performance of properties.

The LDK Greenway development will be the CEFC’s first investment in a senior’s living development.

“Across the property sector, we see the repurposing of commercial office space as an untapped opportunity,”  CEFC property sector lead Chris Wade said.

“Recycling existing buildings avoids the carbon and financial cost of demolition and new construction and is likely to become increasingly attractive to investors, owners and developers as we pursue net zero carbon across the built environment.”

The project will re-use former public service offices, previously occupied by the Federal department of Social Services, located near Lake Tuggeranong and with views to the Brindabella mountain ranges.

The senior’s living village will be owned by LDK Healthcare, a joint-venture between Cromwell Property Group and Aspire Group.

Cromwell Property Group’s chief investment officer Rob Percy sees the incorporation of energy efficiency and renewable energy features into properties as a means of increasing the attractiveness of such properties to investors.

“As today’s investors factor in ESG considerations as part of their decision making, this approach is becoming the expected minimum standard of good investment practice.” Percy said.

“Our longstanding sustainability framework is helping meet these considerations and we are pleased to work with the CEFC to ensure LDK Greenway in Tuggeranong benefits from a range of sustainability initiatives.”

The ACT has made substantial progress in reducing its emissions and is expected to reach 100% renewable electricity in October this year.

The announcement was welcomed by local member and acting ACT minister for climate change and sustainability, Mick Gentleman.

“I welcome this investment in South Canberra, which will encourage jobs growth and innovation in the region. It’s another demonstration of how the ACT and is leading the way towards a carbon neutral economy,” Gentleman said.

In May, the CEFC announced that it would make a $95 million investment in community housing provider Housing Plus, which will likewise see solar power and energy efficiency measures incorporated into housing, lowering the ongoing costs for residents.

The CEFC also invested in a student accommodation project in Adelaide, based on a similar project, providing $32 million in debt finance to support the inclusion of LED lighting, and energy efficient heating and cooling.

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