The interplay between sustainability and smart-home technology looks like it’s starting to sell homes.
At a tour of a smart-tech enabled and sustainability focused residential development, The Burcham, in Rosebery in Sydney’s inner city on Tuesday, Clipsal by Schneider Electric smart space director Ben Green said home buyers were starting to recognise the value of smart systems as a way to save both money and the planet.
He said that the integration of technological connectivity with key sustainability features, such as the 53kW PV solar system on the rooftops, means that renters and home occupiers can make smarter choices about energy consumption.
For example, a resident might choose to run the washing machine in the middle of the day when solar power generation is at its peak.
The ability to control heating, cooling and blinds remotely and with greater precision also has substantial energy efficiency benefits.
Residents can further manage and maximise their energy and utility consumption using the smart meter technologies connected to every apartment.
The Burcham apartments in Rosebery
Developed by Stable Group and designed by Allen Jack+Cottier Architects and Durie Design Landscape, the development’s key sustainability piece is the 54kW solar array on the building’s roof and embedded electricity network that supplies energy through a single meter to the entire building.
Run by the body corporate, the embedded energy network sells electricity to residents at as little as a fifth of the market’s lowest retail price.
“most developers are not yet attuned to the importance of sustainability and smart technologies in residential developments but it won’t take too long”
The development also has four electric vehicle charging bays, which thanks to the embedded network system, makes the cost of charging at The Burcham “much lower than anywhere else”.
There are also communal green spaces, including a rooftop with “no-mow, waterwise lawns”, an outdoor kitchen, organic kitchen gardens, and a rooftop cinema.
The building was also a major retrofit project and retains parts of the original facade of what was once a Wrigley’s Gum factory.
Key technology features include keyless biometric access systems and number plate recognition technology, as well as GeoFencing technology that warns the apartment of the homeowner’s approach. The apartments are also completely smart tech enabled and technology agnostic, meaning that the apartment smart systems are compatible with any brand of smart appliance.
The market for smart technology and sustainability focused developments expected to boom
Stable Group director, Ed Horton, said that we’re likely to see a shift to more sustainable and technologically-enabled residential residential developments in the next three to five years.
“Apartments have traditionally been difficult to be made sustainable, but we’ll start to see more of these types of projects. And we’ll start to see more technology come into this space,” Mr Horton said.
“We’re the first to have dedicated EV connected to solar [at the Rosebery development]. We reckon EV charging will be mandatory in the next 10 years in developments because solar is progressing at a rate of knots.
“We’re not turning back. We in our industry need to catch up and support what people want.”
Mr Horton said that most developers are not yet attuned to the importance of sustainability and smart technologies in residential developments “but it won’t take too long.”
“In this difficult market people will demand a point of difference… banks might start insisting developers put smart tech in there to manage risk…
“You’d be foolish in two or three years – or now – to not have a look at the risk mitigation impacts. Technology is a sensible point of difference”.
Research by Schneider Electric found that consumer interest in smart home technology is on the rise, with the number of connected devices going into homes last year increasing by 25 per cent.
Schneider Electric smart space director Ben Green said that the cost of smart technologies is now low enough that most Australians can start entering the smart home market with an inexpensive first appliance.
He added that it’s best to start off with cheap and easy smart home upgrades, particularly those that reap high efficiency rewards.
“Lighting is a great first step in automation, with many Aussies using it as a springboard into a range of other areas or devices such as preventing energy wastage and assisting with household chores,” Mr Green said.