New projects are helping to cement WA’s reputation as a leader in environmentally sensitive development.
Western Australian developers are being recognised for their commitment to sustainable living, with Yolk Property Group and Cedar Woods Property achieving national accolades for their commitment to green building principles.
Late last month, Yolk Property Group’s Evermore development in White Gum Valley became the first WA apartment project to be recognised by the Bioregional Australia Foundation as a One Planet Community.
The honour is part of the One Planet Living framework, adopted by the City of Fremantle in 2014, which is widely considered to be one of the highest accolades internationally in terms of sustainability.
Principles of One Planet Living include sustainable water, local and sustainable food, sustainable materials, zero waste, zero carbon, and culture and community.
Yolk Property Group director Pete Adams said one of the key elements of the Evermore project was pioneering the use of shared solar technology under a governance model developed by Curtin University.
The model has been touted to provide savings of up to 30 per cent on residents’ power bills, with about 80 per cent of the project’s electricity to be generated on site.
Real-time measurement of power and water consumption will also give residents control over energy usage.
However, Mr Adams said there would also be a considerable focus on how residents would live sustainably in the development once it was completed.
“One example of how we’re looking beyond construction is our aim to promote social interaction and reduce disconnectedness and isolation of residents,” Mr Adams said.
“The design of a communal space between buildings with courtyard, veggie garden and bicycle repair station will offer shared spaces to encourage interaction, a way for neighbours to foster relationships.
“When you look at the guiding principles behind One Planet Living, it’s all about creating strong, connected communities that consume and expend wisely, with a view to the future and that goal is shaping every element of Evermore.”
Also last month, ASX-listed developer Cedar Woods Properties received the highest level of certification under the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s EnviroDevelopment program for its Bushmead development in the eastern suburbs.
Cedar Woods WA state manager Ben Rosser said development at Bushmead would be divided into cells, enabling construction to be concentrated on areas already cleared or affected, and allowing natural landforms and vegetation to be retained.
The 600-lot Bushmead project, located at the former Bushmead Rifle Range in Hazelmere, will also include 185 hectares of conservation area.
Cedar Woods will also use recycled construction and development concrete for road sub base and for lots needing retaining walls.
Other initiatives will include energy- and water-efficient appliances, solar electricity generation systems, rainwater tanks and greywater reticulation systems, and the use of native and water-wise plants in all landscaping.
“As a community, Bushmead will encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as lowering household energy and water costs,” Mr Rosser said.
UDIA WA chief executive Allison Hailes said Bushmead was an outstanding example of what could be achieved with a clear vision of sustainable urban development from the outset.
Bushmead is one of a handful of projects in WA that have achieved outstanding performance in all six EnviroDevelopment elements – ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community.
However, it is not just in residential development that property players are achieving solid results in sustainability.
Discount variety store The Reject Shop was able to reduce its energy use across its 25 WA stores by between 40 and 50 per cent over the past 12 months, through investing in energy control systems, to more effectively manage lighting and air-conditioning.
The system, which was a pilot program to be rolled out across the nation, was designed and managed by energy efficiency firm Sustainable Focus.
Sustainable Focus managing director Rob Smith said the technology upgrades typically paid for themselves in less than three years.
“Individual load shedding at times of peak demand has become a critical tool for businesses keen to shield themselves against fluctuations in power prices and supply,” Mr Smith told Business News.
“It allows businesses to smooth out their overall power bill by turning off non-critical power during times of high network costs.”
Reject Shop chief executive Ross Sudano said the move was driven by the need to reduce costs in an environment of ever-increasing electricity prices, with forecasts predicting future electricity contracts could be up to 80 per cent more expensive.
“These energy upgrades will ultimately drive operating costs down across all Reject Shops nationally, which is good for our employees and shareholders,” Mr Sudano said.