Net-zero energy – and zero gas – solar housing project backed by ARENA

Ed.Square BE Homes. Artist’s impression – indicative only.

An ARENA-backed project that aims to raise the energy efficiency standards of new Australian homes, nationally, will build 51 all-electric, solar homes that will generate more power than they consume.

Frasers Property Australia said on Thursday that it had received just over $700,000 in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency towards the $1.42 million net-zero energy housing project in south west Sydney.

The project, called Ed.Square, will build 51 medium density Balanced Energy Homes – or BE.Homes – in the suburb of Edmondson Park that will integrate a suite of renewable energy, electrification and energy efficiency measures.

Each house will feature 4kW of solar PV, ground source heat pump space conditioning and induction cooktops – so, zero need for gas; electric boosted solar hot water, low-e glazed windows, LED lighting and roof insulation.

The aim of the project is that the lack of a gas network connection combined with efficient all-electric appliances, rooftop solar generation and energy efficient design will deliver ongoing savings for customers, and supporting increased utilisation of the electricity network.

ARENA, having tipped in funds to cover almost half the cost of the project, hopes the data captured will provide valuable new insights into the cost, efficiency and effectiveness of sustainable housing technology, and thereby boost its adoption in Australia, which has a notoriously inefficient housing stock.

“Through this project we’re able to highlight the beneficial changes that energy efficiency improvements can make to next generation, net zero energy demand homes, whether that be through cost savings for homeowners or reducing emissions in the construction industry,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller in a statement.

“We look forward to working with Frasers Property throughout the build of the homes at Ed.Square and sharing valuable knowledge that we hope industry can use to replicate this model and adopt more net zero energy demand homes going forward,” he says.

Frasers Property, meanwhile, has similar ambitions.

“Our vision for this project is for it to have industry-wide implications that will elevate the energy performance of not only the homes Frasers Property creates for its customers, but the new housing sector nationally,” said the developer’s executive general manager of development, Cameron Leggatt.

“To achieve this, we’ve committed to sharing the insights we gain from the initiative and we’re pleased to join forces with ARENA to ensure the data collected will be widely available for interpretation, scrutiny and most importantly, to drive better outcomes.

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

The BE.Homes at Ed.Square are expected to become available for purchase later this year with construction starting in 2021. Of the 51 homes, a mix of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom townhomes is planned.

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