The Halcyon over 50s development.

8 October 2013 — Developers of the Halcyon Landing over 50s development on the Sunshine Coast wanted to make units  affordable to buy, own and leave. So they mandated sustainable initiatives and an eight star rating.

The $90 million project, which will see 170 homes constructed on a 22-hectare site at Bli Bli on the Maroochy River, will retain 55 per cent of the site for parkland and conservation, and align roads to a north–south axis, allowing maximum sun penetration to principal rooms and courtyards.

All of the homes come with eight-star energy ratings and 1.5 kilowatt solar photovoltaic panels. The homes are constructed with Hebel panelling, water efficient fixtures, thermal insulation, light-coloured roofing and gas hot waters systems.

Project director Chris Carley said Halcyon was “not the normal developer”.

“We stay on as the owner of the property and the manager of the community,” he said.

“And we have three aims for our over 50s developments – they must be affordable to buy, affordable to own – which is where sustainability comes in – and affordable to leave. We have no exit fees.”

Mr Carley said Halcyon, a south-east Queensland based company that started as a partnership between medical doctor Bevan Geissmann and lawyer Paul Melville 10 years ago, wanted to reduce the cost of living for its residents.

“We are a manufactured home park and Halcyon Landing is middle market. If we offered our customers the option of solar panels and rainwater tanks they would say, ‘No, it doesn’t pay for itself.’

“So we weighed it up and made all of those sustainable initiatives standard.

“As well, to our north we have 100 hectares of vegetation and to the east we have the Maroochy River, so we felt it was incumbent on us to do something a little more special.

“There’s an environmental feel – green and blue. And it worked. And yes, I am proud of what we have done.”

The development was the first of its kind to build to the eight star standard, although a competitor was now working on nine stars but only for a couple of homes, he said.

Mr Carley said Halcyon specialised in creating over 50s developments, with villages Halcyon Waters at Hope Island and Halcyon Parks at Caloundra.

“That’s all we do,” Mr Carley said.

“We have very experienced people with 36 staff. We just employed another four – so we are a small company but growing.”

Mr Carley said while 60 per cent of the residents at Bli Bli were from the Sunshine Coast, the other 40 per cent came from all around Australia.

“We have people from Tasmania, Victoria, Adelaide, and there’s a couple making their way across from WA.

“They met a couple of our residents on a caravan trip, became good friends, and they’re coming here to live.”

Mr Carley said the project achieved EnviroDevelopment certification from the Urban Development Institute of Australia under six key elements – ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community.

And a few more nuts and bolts

Who is the architect?

MPS Architects

Who else was involved in the build/design?

Builder – Ausmar Homes

What are the projected energy savings per year?

All homes at Halcyon Landing are fitted with solar panels with a minimum 1.5kW PV cells and a 2kW inverter.

All homes at Halcyon Landing have Building Energy Rating Scheme eight-star energy ratings made possible by advanced design elements including thermal insulation, light coloured roofing and gas hot water systems. This means most residents do not pay electricity bills and many supply unused energy generated through their solar panels back to the grid. As a result, feedback from home owners suggests that the savings are up to 25 per cent higher than the six-star figures, with most reporting little or no electricity costs.

Based on this information Halcyon understands that across the 170 dwellings, residents will collectively save around $3 million on their electricity bills over the next 20 years, based on annual savings of around $700 per household.

What are the projected water savings per year?

Halcyon Landing has achieved a 22 per cent reduction in potable water usage above regulation, which has been achieved through the use of water efficient fixtures and appliances. Water reticulation has resulted in 60 per cent reduction in water usage at least 50 per cent of the time. The rainwater collection system is reticulated back to the homes to the laundry, toilets and external taps.

What sustainability ideas were incorporated? Why were they chosen?

Environmentally sustainable and sensitive practices in the housing element at Halcyon Landing include solar panels, optimal passive solar orientation, north-south street alignment, insulation to walls ceilings and roof, extensive use of Hebel power panels and light weight steel construction materials, best practice waste minimisation strategies, gas reticulation and communal water reticulation.

While fitting all the services in with gas and reticulated rainwater systems is challenging, the real challenge has always been how to get the market opt in.  In the case of Halcyon Landing, the developer decided to make eight-star energy ratings and solar panels standard so all home owners benefit from a lower cost of living.

Why didn’t Halcyon go for Green Star or other ratings. Why choose the UDIA certification?

EnviroDevelopment was considered the best fit for Halcyon Landing as it aligned with the developer’s commitment to environmental sustainability and consumer benefits.

The EnviroDevelopment accreditation allows Halcyon to very clearly communicate its sustainability credentials in a meaningful way to residents, potential buyers and the surrounding community.

Halcyon felt it was the most appropriate tool to recognise the unique aspects of a retirement living community and gave the developer a platform to demonstrate its achievements in this area.

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  1. As an aging population we need to have more consideration about were we are going to move to for potentially our last home. One that offers solutions for reducing our energy and water consumption, making it more sustainable for the environment and to make our $$ go further. Great to see and look forward to hearing about others following suite around the country.

  2. Halcyon philosophy is very appealing but wondering if any inclusion of medical support exists which is fundamental to retirees as they get older and want complete peace of mind

    Patrick Hobbs