Big house energy

A Perth family of four have begun a 12-month trial living in a new energy efficient home built in the north-east suburb of Bennet Springs.

The house is built to a 9.1-star energy rating and utilises a solar passive design, water and energy efficient appliances, solar panels, and battery to reduce energy usage.

Building a sustainable house. Graphic: Andrew Chounding.

The house is located 17km and 25 minutes north of the Perth CBD, and the family will live there for a full year, with their energy and water use monitored.

Sustainable home of the future. Photo: Andrew Chounding.

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti says the community of Bennet Springs is an ideal place for the trial.

“The McGowan Government is focused on fostering connected, liveable communities through METRONET and our work to modernise WA’s planning system,” she says.

“Bennett Springs is a growing community and will benefit from the coming Morley Ellenbrook Line.”

What is a sustainable house? Video: Andrew Chounding.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston says the Bennet Springs home represents a sustainable housing option for the future.

“Renewable energy is an excellent way for residential customers to better manage their energy consumption and lower their bills,” he says.

“The data gathered will provide valuable insight into the family’s energy consumption and help them get the best cost-savings out of their solar and battery.”

Curtin University Professor of Sustainability Peter Newman says it’s ‘ridiculously arrogant’ to suggest this is the home of the future when residents will rely so heavily on driving.

“It will be a house with zero per cent energy consumption inside the house, and the world’s highest level of transport energy required to get to it,” he says.

Mr Johnston says Professor Newman’s views are well-known, but many Western Australians choose to live in the suburbs.

“This house shows that making this choice can be done in a sustainable way,” he says.

Professor Newman says most people living in the suburb will spend several hours a day in their car and this is not what sustainability is about.

Professor Peter Newman. Photo Supplied.

Senior Lecturer at UWA’s School of Design Sophie Giles says WA is a world leader in developing sustainability policy concerning energy ratings. 

Ms Giles says homes built for longevity are the key to sustainable dwellings.

“The biggest thing that makes the biggest difference is actually not demolishing things,” she says.  

“Any design that’s built now, if it last 50 years not 20 years, then those resources are being put to excellent use rather than being wasteful.

“Design well and design once.”   

Sophie Giles. Photo: Supplied.

Categories: Environment, General, Property

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