Zero net energy housing opts for solar power self-sufficiency

zero net energy housing estate in wa opts for solar self-sufficiency.

A landmark zero net energy housing development outside Fremantle is using a shared solar power system to win self-sufficiency.

The revolutionary White Gum Valley (WGV) residential estate in WA plans to exist off-grid and be entirely self-supporting in energy terms.

The join venture between LandCorp and the University of Western Australia is a baugruppen first for WA. ‘Baugruppen‘ is a German term for when individuals get together to develop their own sustainable, multi-unit housing.

The community housing project features a communal 9 kW solar power and solar battery system providing low-cost, renewable energy.

Units also include solar passive design principles to encourage natural light and cross-ventilation in each home.

Seven-star excellence in zero net energy development

WGV is part of a four-year research program with the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living.

zero net energy housing estate opts for solar self-sufficiency.

WGV estate in Fremantle, WA, will have a shared solar battery system. Artist’s impression: LandCorp

The ‘living laboratory’ study will monitor the energy efficiency of the housing units. Each home must also achieve a minimum seven-star thermal performance according to Australia’s NatHERS rating system.

NatHERS currently requires a six-star rating in all new homes. However, the seven-star standard will ensure the development exceeds expectations. That’s because it is easier to build an energy-efficient home rather than retrofit an existing house with environmentally-friendly appliances.

WGV progress is also being monitored by Density by Design. This factual web series is part of a Curtin University study of low-carbon residential developments.

The public will have access to the report once the project is complete.

WGV features award-winning Gen Y single units

The innovative WGV development has won several accolades including two Planning Institute of Australia awards for excellence in 2016.

LandCorp originally invited young WA architects to submit plans for a Gen Y living zone. The mandate was for flexible, affordable and sustainable designs.

The winning design boasts three separately titled homes. Each features one bedroom and one bathroom with outdoor living space on a 250sqm block.

The WGV estate will subsequently deliver more than 80 new homes and around 180 new residents. Units include apartments, maisonettes and 23 single home sites.

The use of solar storage batteries will then offer reliable 24-hour energy to the housing complex.