Waymouth Street student accommodation

A South Australian student accommodation building will be built with an energy efficiency 25 per cent above business as usual, thanks to a $32 million Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment.

The 428-bed student accommodation project in Adelaide, a joint project of Blue Sky Private Real Estate (BSPRE) and Goldman Sachs, is the CEFC’s first property investment in South Australia.

“We are very excited to be making our first property-related commitment in Adelaide,” CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said.

“This project will lift the benchmark for building standards in student accommodation, representing an important step toward achieving net zero carbon buildings.”

The student accommodation sector is a great target for energy efficiency, as operators are typically responsible for tenant energy costs, which removes the typical split incentive.

But according to CEFC property sector lead Chris Wade, there has been little focus on energy efficiency in the sector, with most only building to minimum standards required by the National Construction Code.

“We are looking to increase those standards by demonstrating the clear economic and environmental benefits of incorporating clean energy technology in the planning and construction phase,” Mr Wade said.

He said the CEFC’s finance would lead to reduced carbon intensity and lower bills for the operator.

“We’re demonstrating to property developers, owners and managers that constructing the next generation of energy efficient student accommodation can be rewarded with long-term operational savings and an improved amenity, which makes a strong business case for the additional upfront investment.”

Initiatives include energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning, energy efficient equipment, LED lighting, centralised gas water heating, water efficient taps and a 25 kilowatt rooftop solar system.

BSPRE investment director Nick Singleton said the increased standards would help put the company in a leadership position.

“While liveability and sustainability are key considerations for today’s students, we also expect to create benefits through reduced operating costs by integrating technologies that significantly lower base building energy usage.”

The project is being managed by Atira Student Living, with BSPRE developing the project. The building is expected to open in February 2018.