Net Zero for Melmo

Small-time developer MELMO consider their latest project a new off grid standard of living, Urban Melbourne thinks it to be one of the more interesting sustainable designs since we highlighted Australia's first 8 star energy rated apartment building, otherwise known as The Commons during 2013.

Inner-city based MELMO's current residential project NET ZERO may be small with only four residences, but it boasts some serious sustainable energy technology inclusions amongst other features.

MELMO ethos

Volume home builders offer ‘contemporary’ homes and faux period designs ad nauseum. But these homes aren’t designed to be an excellent investment. They follow fad trends in materials and design.

We are committed to building a stock of future focused residential homes. With design that is enduring and authentic. The devil is in the detail and we don’t miss a thing.

We employ high level Environmentally Sustainable Design to achieve a quality of life that is both enduring and rewarding. At MELMO we provide our customers with a turn-key product. Wherein MELMO is responsible for Planning, Design, Construction and delivery of each MELMO Home.

MELMO website

Translated to NET ZERO

Manningham Street perspective. Image courtesy

Granted NET ZERO's street frontage isn't exactly setting the world alight, but the project at 42 Manningham Street Parkville makes up for it's lack of external charm elsewhere. Designed as "an advanced house prototype offering its owners unprecedented freedom, health and comfort," it's rated at 7 stars.

NET ZERO incorporates "the most progressive ESD technology and engineering available in Australia," with the project website describing the development as "future proof" inferring non reliance upon current utilities.


  • 5kw solar panel system & 13kw integrated off-grid ready battery system monitored from mobile phone.
  • Electric vehicle charging station.
  • Nest smart thermostat.
  • 20,000ltr commercial grade, pressurised underground pontoon water tank.
  • Header tank on roof supplies all toilet cisterns with water, and laundry: completely water self sufficient.
  • Air source heat pump HWS: solar powered, no natural gas.
  • Natural ventilation pathways in the home.
  • Commercial grade curtain wall window system: double glazed, thermally broken, argon filled.
  • Shug windows and the ‘chimney stack’ effect allowing for passive control of temperature.
  • Proprietary technology used to protect occupants from electro magnetic radiation while they sleep.


Is it too idealistic to think that one day a project such as NET ZERO will not be worthy of praise? That many of the features currently beyond the norm in NET ZERO will become standard in future townhouse and low-rise apartment projects, given they are comparatively easier to implement than in high-rises?

NET ZERO is by no means not Robinson Crusoe when it comes to impressive ESD initiatives, if only though it were the norm rather than the exception.


Laurence Dragomir's picture

I worked on these a couple of years ago. Fun little project not without its challenges.

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Marcus W's picture

I doubt a 5kw solar system won't supply the electricity demands of 4 apartments for very long - but I can't see where else they could add any more solar panels either.

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Scott's picture

Hi Marcus,

I would note that the 5kw system is per apartment so that means 20kw over all. Should be close to enough for each apartment to cover electricity costs along with a battery storage system.

Agree with the comments re this should be the norm for all small multi-res projects.

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