By Tina Perinotto…

A Western Australian development by Match and investment group Hawaiian has scored a victory in multi housing design, challenging the notion that apartment projects can only strive for modest environmental targets.

The project, The Summer, on South Beach Esplanade in South Fremantle, has been awarded the country’s first Green Star residential rating for its design. Even more importantly, the environmental outcomes from the project promise to leave the targets of other ratings tools in their wake.

Awarded the 4 Star Green Star – Multi Unit Residential PILOT Certified Rating by the Green Building Council, the project will “far exceed” a four star rating in either NatHERS or Basix numbers.

“The Summer apartments average 7 stars in terms of a NatHERS rating with some of the apartments far exceeding even 9 stars,” said Match managing director, Lloyd Clark.

“In lay terms the Building Code of Australia requires a minimum of 3 NatHERS stars and an average of 4 stars per apartment and this equates roughly to 118 megajoules  of energy consumption (or use) per square metre in heating and cooling.

“Energy consumption will be less than half of the BCA requirement at 52mj a sq m for the whole building.”

Mr Clark said the award was a “major coup” for Match and Western Australia.

“The significance of being awarded this rating is massive.  We are literally setting the benchmark for future Australian standards and environmental achievements in design.  The benefits of this project will be far reaching in both the local and national marketplace.”

Robert Mulcahy, state director or Lincolne Scott, which provided environmental design assistance, said that although the 4 Star Green Star – Multi Unit Residential PILOT rating represented the pilot project’s best practice and was a great achievement, it was also a model that “all future projects could realistically aspire to.”

Designed by Professor Geoffrey Warn of Donaldson Warn Architects,the project will re-use around 80 per cent of site waste. More than 90 per cent of the apartments have dual aspect to allow natural ventilation and use moveable screens on balconies to provide solar shading.

The property will include energy efficient appliances, rainwater storage and significantly reduce operating costs by implementing energy conservation principles, rather than those of a conventional base building.

The GBCA’s Green Star Executive Director, Robin Mellon, said that The Summer demonstrated that residential developments can go “above and beyond” minimum requirements and reach best practice outcomes by focusing on good passive design principles such as orientation, shading and natural ventilation.

“It’s also great to see best practice in sustainability go hand-in-hand with good design aesthetics – a clear signal to the industry that ‘green’ and ‘good architecture’ are compatible,” Mellon said.

Key environmental features include:
•    Recycling or re-using at least 80 per cent of the site waste
•    More than 90 per cent of the apartments to have dual aspect to allow effective natural ventilation
•    Around 95 per cent of common area lobbies to be provided with natural ventilation
•    High levels of insulation for optimum thermal comfort
•    Acoustic specification to all bounding construction (walls and floors) is more than 10 per cent greater than Building Code of Australia requirements
•    Around 95 per cent of all wall and ceiling finishes are low VOC emitting (volatile organic compounds)
•    All carpets and other floor finishes are low VOC emitting
•    95 per cent of all adhesives and sealants are low VOC emitting
•    All composite wood products are low emission formaldehyde
•    All living spaces have unobstructed views of greater than 25 metres
•    The apartments have a minimum NatHERS 7 stars rating
•    The design has demonstrated though comprehensive modelling that it provides a significant reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over a comparable conventional base building
•    Moveable screens on balconies to allow screening to be positioned to provide solar shading.
•    Low energy lighting
•    Energy efficient appliances and fixtures
•    Water wise fixtures
•    Rainwater storage for landscaping watering and toilet flushing
•    Water-wise landscaped gardens
•    Central gas boosted solar hot water system
•    Significantly reduced operating costs by implementation of energy conservation principles compared to a comparable conventional base building