Artist's impression of the Lawrence Street development.

Community housing provider SGCH has begun work on the first in a line of energy-efficient affordable housing developments made possible through a $60 million financing deal with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The 39-unit Lawrence Street, Peakhurst development will be built to an eight star NatHERS standard, meaning bills for its lower income residents, which will include essential workers like school and healthcare staff, should be greatly reduced.

The news comes just weeks after the financing deal with the CEFC was announced, which should lead to more than 200 dwellings being constructed at a minimum seven star NatHERS standard.

SGCH said to achieve the eight-star standard efficiency measures such as double glazed windows, improved insulation in the floors, walls and ceilings, and ceiling fans would be implemented.

“This will minimise the need for artificial cooling and heating which accounts for up to 40 per cent of a home’s energy use,” SGCH acting chief executive Trevor Wetmore said.

The SGCH team on the construction site.
The SGCH team on the construction site.

Mr Wetmore said rising housing costs were pushing more people into housing stress, where more than 30 per cent of income was spent on the home, and rising cost of living pressures, including through bills, meant a lot of people were struggling.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed that in 2012 the average household spent over $2000 on energy bills, and Mr Wetmore said saving more on bills would “make a real difference to our tenants’ lives and improve their health and wellbeing”.

“It also means SGCH can reduce our operational costs. The more we save on energy costs the more we can reinvest into providing new housing and housing services,” he said.

CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates said the start of construction was an important development milestone.

“It’s very exciting to be part of this project, which will deliver sustainable and energy efficient affordable housing, reducing energy costs for low-to-moderate income families,” Mr Yates said.

“It’s vital to the future of our cities that workers and their families on low to moderate incomes have access to affordable housing near where they work and we are pleased to be able to support the important work SGCH is doing in this area, bringing the benefits of better energy efficient homes for these families.”

He said energy efficient homes meant lower energy bills as well as lower emissions, “which have the potential to drive the transformation of our cities’ operations, their sustainability and their liveability.”

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  1. This was a very refreshing article. Too many affordable housing developments seem to forget operating costs, which really should be the pillar of affordable housing.