A sustainable display home built by migrants, refugees and long-term unemployed people has opened at Lendlease’s Yarrabilba development near Logan in Queensland. 

The developer engaged Logan-based social enterprise Access Employment Services (AES) to assist in the construction of the display home as a way to upskill disadvantaged people in the community.

The building, designed by Arkistruct, has aimed high on environmental sustainability too, achieving a 9 star NatHERS thermal performance rating. The 140-square-metre home, which includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage, is expected to have heating and cooling costs reduced by 60 per cent, compared with a typical home.

Arkistruct managing director Daniel McGrath said the building had been designed to take advantage of natural heating and cooling, and also included high levels of insulation, polished concrete flooring and glazed windows.

Gail Ker, chief executive of Access Community Services, which runs AES, said she was thrilled to help Lendlease on the project, which in part was done through employment of participants in the Queensland government’s “Skilling Queenslanders for Work” program. 

“With each build, we’re addressing barriers among people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, growing opportunities for collaborative communities whilst fostering a sense of inclusion and empowerment for newly arrived migrants and refugees,” she said. 

For Lendlease, the project is also a display of the fact that sustainable building can be done cost-effectively. 

“The sustainable display home will show buyers and builders you can reduce costs associated with sustainable living and building,” Lendlease Communities managing director Matthew Wallace said.

“The home has been constructed from carefully chosen materials that minimise waste and environmental impact, and has been designed to reduce and re-use water inside and out with features such as a rainwater tank.” 

He said the objective of the company was to provide balance between economic, environmental and social outcomes.

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