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The Future of Sustainable Housing Arrives at Timbertop Estate

Living in a contemporary family home in the suburbs with no energy bills is now closer to reality –built by SJD Homes, you can see it at Parklea Developments’ Timbertop Estate in Officer.

In 2017, Parklea and SJD Homes joined forces to construct Melbourne’s first Zero Energy Home (ZEH) – a home that meets its own energy requirements – as part of a groundbreaking research project funded by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living.

After much anticipation, the ZEH designed and built by SJD Homes, is now open to the public.

The aim of the CRC’s Mainstreaming Zero Energy Homes project is to better understand the costs and consumer interest in Zero Energy Homes by following three developers and builders who constructed and designed sustainable homes in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

Jarod Mills, Sales and Marketing Manager at Parklea is passionate about environmental initiatives and the vision is to ensure all volume homes can be built for people to enjoy a sustainable, healthy future. “The market really wants to know about viable sustainability. We’re thrilled to be part of a project where we can learn more and offer people what they want. A Zero Energy Home applies simple changes to mainstream volume builders,” said Mr Mills.

The SJD Zero Energy Home at Timbertop was planned to meet the needs of an average family household. Through innovative design, clever use of materials, quality construction, and the incorporation of energy generating features, the home meets all of its energy needs all year round.

Energy efficiency measures include orienting the house so that it takes advantage of the natural elements to maximise solar power generation and minimise heat loss; installing high grade window glazing; extensive use of insulation; selection of high-efficiency cooking, heating and cooling appliances; and installation of a heat pump for the hot water service. The solar power system comprises a 5KW battery and 17 solar panels to keep running costs down.

“By doing all these adjustments, we’ve met zero net carbon, so this house will produce as much energy as it consumes, making it carbon neutral,” says Rod Fitzsimmons, Sales Manager of SJD Homes.

The project has shown that Zero Energy Homes don’t have to cost much more than a standard build. “A standard Zero Energy Home might cost around $10,000 on top of the build to cover the price of the sustainable extras; but in the long run, the savings are enormous as energy bills are heavily reduced.”

According to a recent report by the CRC for Low Carbon Living, if all new homes were built as Zero Energy Homes, total emissions could be reduced by around 700,000 tonnes per year.

Supported by the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) and CSIRO, the project is a first for Melbourne and a positive sign for the future of sustainable residential construction in Australia.

The Zero Energy Home display is now open for viewing from 12pm – 5pm daily, at Timbertop Estate, Officer (Newark Place) .

Watch video footage from the launch event of Melbourne’s first Zero Energy Home.