Selandra Rise contains the first free-standing homes to be included in a Green Star rating.

4 February 2014 — Retirement housing this week took a big step up to the sustainability challenge with Stockland’s launch of Australia’s first 4 Star Green Star rated retirement village in Melbourne, and in NSW the  installation of a 100-kilowatt solar system at Yass Valley Aged Care by SolarMax.

Selandra Rise contains Australia’s first Green Star rated stand alone housing

The Stockland development at Selandra Rise Retirement Village at Cranbourne, south-east of Melbourne, contains the first stand alone Green Star rated residential housing in Australia.

Stockland and the Green Building Council of Australia developed a custom tool especially for the project of 202 houses and 12 apartments.

The tool may be used again in future projects, a Stockland spokesman said.

And while the NatHERS energy rating is seven stars, sustainability outcomes are also strong in water performance and building materials, he said.

Residents are expected to save an average of more than $700 a year on their water and energy bills.

Stephen Bull, chief executive, retirement living at Stockland, said energy, water, waste materials and transport options were important elements for the development.

“We’re helping our residents to reduce their cost of living dramatically, but at the heart of the project is our desire to create a healthy and engaged community, which emphasises physical activity, social inclusion and safety, diversity and affordability,” Mr Bull said.

Stockland achieved the 4 Star Green Star rating through:

  • 7 star NatHERS energy-rated homes, which maintain thermal comfort with less airconditioning and heating
  • high efficiency airconditioning systems
  • high-performance glass
  • natural gas for cooking and hot water
  • efficient lighting such as energy-efficient LEDs and access to natural light
  • efficient taps and other water fittings
  • recycled water for toilets and gardens
  • home energy meters
  • high availability of greener travel and public transport options
  • use of construction materials with lower environmental impacts

Utility savings were achieved through:

  • 7 star thermal efficiency and high-efficiency airconditioning – 47 per cent
  • fluorescent/LED rather than incandescent lights – 43 per cent
  • cooking savings (gas rather than electricity) – five per cent
  • use of ceiling fans – five per cent

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said there had been close collaboration between Stockland and the GBCA.

“We’ve worked closely with Stockland for more than a year on the first custom-made Green Star rating tool for an entire retirement village,” Ms Madew said.

“This Green Star rating tool considers the design, construction and ongoing sustainability of homes and the community centre, the practical and effective use of open space and residents’ proximity to shops, medical facilities, bus and rail transport.”

A solar system on a Yass retirement home is expected to save over $50,000 a year on energy bills.

Yass Valley Aged Care goes solar

At Yass, a solar installation installation is expected to save the facility over $52,000 a year and reduce carbon emissions by around 150 tonnes a year.

“Yass Valley Aged Care has faced increasing energy costs over the last two years and the board wanted to implement a financially viable energy solution that would help reduce our overall energy cost,” said Mayor of Yass and board member of YVAC Rowena Abbey.

“Using funds generously donated by the local community and the Yass Aged Care Foundation, the board knew that solar power would greatly benefit our operations in the long term. Having recognised the savings Yass Soldiers Club has achieved from their solar installation, we were convinced that a solar PV system would be a sound investment that would assist with our future capital expenditures and meet our energy requirements.”

Installer Ygrene Energy said there had been a growing interest in Yass for solar PV since the Soldiers Club had installed their system.

– With Tina Perinotto