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Efficient, affordable and sustainable option for NT's public housing redevelopment program

The Northern Territory Government must seize the opportunity to invest in efficient, affordable, sustainable public housing projects, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The Northern Territory Government has committed to build 2,000 affordable homes in four years, and the Minister for Housing and Member for Brennan, Peter Chandler, is calling for proposals to redevelop a large public housing complex in Darwin at 1 Runge Street in Coconut Grove.

“The Northern Territory Government has expressed its determination to get the best value out of the redevelopment of its public housing stock.  The best way to extract long-term value from the built environment – both for the government and residents – is to commit to buildings that are efficient, affordable and sustainable,” says the GBCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Robin Mellon.

“We know that Green Star-certified buildings produce 62 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, use 66 per cent electricity and consume 51 per cent less water than the average Australian building.  This translates directly into savings – savings on utility bills for residents, savings on long-term infrastructure investment for governments, and savings on carbon emissions for the environment,” Mr Mellon says.

The GBCA now has numerous case studies of low-cost social housing projects around Australia that are achieving outstanding environmental outcomes.  Just three examples of projects that all achieved 5 Star Green Star ratings (demonstrating Australian Excellence) for multi unit residential developments are:

  • Lilyfield Housing Redevelopment in Sydney: the sustainable initiatives have reduced electricity consumption by 25 per cent and are saving tenants $213 per unit per year.
  • Briggs and Jackomos Halls in Melbourne: the Halls, home to 600 university students at Monash University, is an affordable student accommodation project that consumes 45 per cent less energy than similar non-green buildings of similar size. 
  • Redfern Housing Redevelopment in Sydney: water-smart features save 4,700 cubic metres of water annually, equivalent to around 4.7 Olympic-sized swimming pools or 33,571 bathtubs. The saving across the entire tenancy equates to $7,500 a year – and that’s just for water alone.

“Rising utility costs can affect the poorest people in the community the most because they spend a greater proportion of their income on basic living expenses. Green Star-rated buildings, designed and constructed with energy and water efficiency in mind, can make life easier for people on low incomes and help state and territory government housing agencies keep their budgets in the black.

“Building assets that are sustainable over the long term are also affordable and achievable, even on a modest budget.  We welcome the opportunity to work with the Northern Territory Government to ensure the people of NT gain housing assets that deliver long-term benefits for decades to come,” Mr Mellon concludes.