The push to make all new-build homes in Australia not just energy efficient, but energy self-sufficient – with built in rooftop solar, and potentially storage – has won new backing from the Victorian government.
In an announcement on Monday, the Labor Andrews government revealed plans to partner with land developers and home builders in a $2.18 million pilot program to supply zero net carbon homes in growth areas of Melbourne.
The key features of the new-build homes would include appropriately sized rooftop solar systems; high performance building material (insulation, double-glazed windows, etc); and high efficiency heating, cooling, water heating, lighting and appliances.
The government said eligible builders must be able to achieve more than 200 site starts a year, and do so in one or more of Melbourne’s growth areas in the north, west and south east or in the Geelong and Mitchell regional areas.
The pilot program comes ahead of a state election in November this year, and as the government works to meet its 2050 zero net emissions target.
According to modelling from Sustainability Victoria – who would be advising the builders through the scheme – homes built under the scheme could cut household emissions in half, while also delivering substantial savings on home power bills.
“By participating in the Zero Net Carbon Homes Pilot, builders can offer their customers homes that are affordable to heat and cool and provide year-round comfort,” said Sustainability Victoria CEO, Stan Krpan.
“Offering more zero net carbon homes will diversify our building stock, stimulate the economy and
reduce bills for homeowners,” he said.
Already, a number of home builders around the country – including Metricon, Glenvill, Porter Davis and Stockland – are offering consumers the option to have solar and battery storage included with their new-build homes, for little or no extra cost.
And just last week, the federal government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation announced it had committed $90 million in debt finance to a Mirvac plan to build more than 300 family homes in Sydney and Brisbane, each with built-in solar and battery storage.
Indeed, according to some property developers – and the solar installers they partner with – the time is fast approaching when the offer of these technologies will be the norm, alongside energy efficient appliances and building design.
“With the cost of electricity going up, it’s just going to be the norm,” said Metricon sales manager for NSW in an interview with One Step in February.
According to Ayers, half of Metricon’s NSW customers are not only wanting to build “a big, new, beautiful home,” but to make it as energy efficient as possible.
“In NSW we’re hoping to build around 1000 homes a year, and at the moment the uptake with the Tesla battery is probably around 50-60 per cent,” Ayers said.
“Everyone is looking at the best. most affordable way to build a home. With the current large amount of down lights, three or four different TVs, you want to make sure that you are creating your own energy.
“Their budget is nearly up to the maximum, so to save as much as they can in the first 12 months is really important.”
The Victorian government says home builders interested in taking part in the state-funded scheme can find more information or register to attend an information session here.