As energy bills rise, greater attention is being placed on operational costs by home buyers. Smart developers are taking note and providing homes that are cheaper to run, and nowhere is the trend stronger than in the retirement space.
The Halycon Landing over 50s development on the Sunshine Coast gained attention last year for mandating a minimum eight stars Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme rating and other sustainability features such as solar panels as standard, in a move to attract cost-aware residents. Now it’s in the process of building its first 10-star NatHERS-rated home, and the first for a retirement community in Australia.
The home, which is being built for retired engineer Them Themsen and wife Martina, is now under construction at the Halcyon development at Bli Bli, Queensland.
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“Halcyon prepared a package that increased its standard eight-star energy rated home to 10 stars and we were immediately intrigued,” Mr Themsen said.
“Firstly at the challenge of creating a truly innovative home, but also at the long-term energy savings and the value it could add to our house.”
He said studies also showed a correlation between star ratings and home value, which was around three per cent a star.
“Based on that calculation, a $400,000 house increases in value by $12,000 per star, which makes it a highly viable financial investment,” Mr Themsen said.
Ten stars is the highest rating on the NatHERS scale, with the NatHERS website stating that people with 10-star homes are unlikely to need artificial cooling or heating. This was recently shown in “Josh’s House” by ABC presenter and scientist Josh Byrne, whose 10-star home has no need for cooling and was built at a cost comparable to a typical three-by-two home.
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Mr Themsen said careful design and material selection would help to get the house up to 10 stars.
“The design of the house will capitalise on the natural heating and cooling methods that result from a careful choice of building materials, improved insulation, window glazing and the natural control of sunlight and airflow,” he said.
“That’s important for an area like the Sunshine Coast, which has warm, humid summers.”
Halcyon joint managing director Bevan Geissmann said the company was committed to reducing overheads for residents.
“Our development approach takes into account not only home owners’ desires to reduce long-term running costs, but to tread a little lighter on the earth,” Dr Geissmann said.
He also said many residents were generating more electricity than they were using, giving them a revenue stream to put into leisure activities.