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Zero Energy Home kick-starts $2.18 million energy-efficiency pilot program

Posted 4 October 2018 - 2:45pm

(L-R) Dominique La Fontaine (SECCCA), Josh Byrne (Curtin University/CRCLCL), Rod Fitzsimmons (SJD Homes), Jarrod Mills (Parklea), Hon. Lilly D’Ambrosio (Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change), Penny Austin (Stockland), Mayor Collin Ross (Cardinia Shire Council), Sam Gribble (Metricon)

This week’s launch of Melbourne’s first zero energy display home, initially developed for a CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) research program, was part of a $2.18 million energy-efficiency housing pilot program announcement for Victoria.

The Zero Energy Home (ZEH) which was built by SJD Homes and developed as part of the CRCLCL’s Mainstreaming Zero Energy Housing Project, is on the new Timbertop Estate at Officer, Victoria, run by Parklea. The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, officially opened the home and announced the Zero Net Carbon Homes Pilot Program, involving SJD Homes, Metricon, Stockland and the Victorian Government.

CRCLCL Project Leader and Research Fellow at Curtin University, Dr Josh Byrne helped design the home and said the fact leading building companies are now getting involved in constructing zero energy homes is huge step in the right direction.

 “Residential housing is a known, significant, contributor to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, so the launch of this new zero energy display home and the pilot project will influence other builders to take action,” he said.

 “Ultimately, once you see several big builders and developers start to do the same thing, the rest of industry follows.” 

 The Victorian pilot program aims to make energy-efficient housing more accessible and affordable, and the three building firms will work together to facilitate the design, marketing and construction of the low emission homes. The program will also identify any barriers to uptake, working with industry and new home buyers to address any issues.

 “I am extremely proud that our overall research and influence on the display home at Officer has helped lead to this potentially highly impactful pilot program, which can be a game changer for future ZEH projects,” said Dr Byrne.

 Sustainability Victoria checked the display home against its Zero Net Carbon Homes program specification and determined it met requirements by incorporating high performance design specifications, energy efficient appliances and systems. 

 The next stage of the CRCLCL research will see visitors to the ZEH display home surveyed to determine consumer interest in energy efficient, low emissions features compared to ‘business as usual’, with a focus on communicating comfort and cost of living benefits.

 “In addition to showing that ZEH housing is accessible to the volume market, we also need to clearly articulate costs and understand demand, and that’s what we now focused on,” said Dr Byrne.

 “We also look forward to assisting Sustainability Victoria on the next phase of their project to ensure the learnings from our work is fully utilised.” 

 Collaborators on the SJD display home also include: CSIRO, Cardinia Shire, South East Councils Climate Change Alliances (SECCA), New Homes Energy Advisory Service, and Sustainability Victoria.

 “It was a great event, with plenty of acknowledgement and kudos for the CRCLCL,” concluded Dr Byrne. 

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