Q&A with Liam Wallis, Ferrars & York

Q&A with Liam Wallis, Ferrars & York
Q&A with Liam Wallis, Ferrars & York

Urban Interviews Liam Wallis about Ferrars & York, carbon neutrality, the property market, and sustainability.

URBAN [U]: With price slumps and consumer confidence at an all-time low, what do you think makes Ferrars & York so attractive to prospective buyers (especially during times like this)?

Liam Wallis: Ferrars & York is the first project of its kind on the market south of the Yarra in Melbourne. Located 100m from the South Melbourne Market, powered by 100% renewable energy and targeting an 8 out of 10-star energy rating, Ferrars & York presents an unrivaled opportunity to live a conscious, connected and sustainable lifestyle. Featuring three-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-level terraces style apartments, Ferrars & York provides an unmatched combination of highly sustainable homes, in a well-connected inner-city area at an accessible price point relative to surrounding established housing.  

Ferrars & York is also a rare example of an iterative approach to design. HIP V. HYPE and Six Degrees Architects have built upon the award-winning collaboration that delivered 20 apartments and 3 retail spaces in Fairfield’s Nightingale 2.0 to enhance the design and construction process, apply collective learnings and deliver the best in durable, sustainable and connected homes at Ferrars & York. 

We’re excited to take our learning from our recently completed project in Fairfield to deliver even better quality and higher sustainability outcomes for our future residents in Ferrars & York. 

URBAN [U]: Ferrars & York’s carbon-neutral design will be the first of its kind in South Melbourne. Can you go into detail about how the apartments will offset its carbon emissions without having others in the supply chain bear its costs? 

Liam Wallis: Carbon emissions are measured in both embodied and operational carbon. Going carbon neutral is about minimising carbon where possible and purchasing carbon credits to offset the balance. Similar to offsetting plane travel. We work with local suppliers and manufacturers and select local materials where possible to ensure that production and transport emissions are kept to a minimum. We undertake a comprehensive assessment of the embodied carbon emissions of the construction of the building and purchase carbon credits to achieve a neutral outcome for embodied carbon emissions. 

In terms of operational carbon, Ferrars & York is 100% electric, with no gas, the building maximises passive design principles and will be thoroughly insulated. This ensures that the apartments require less energy to heat in winter and cool in summer and are comfortable spaces to occupy all year around. For the energy that is required to operate the building, Ferrars & York will have a 20kW solar panel system on the roof for the shared use of the apartments and commercial tenancy. Any shortfall of energy between what is generated onsite and what is required can be purchased from renewable energy off the grid through the embedded network. The result of these systems is that Ferrars & York can be run on 100% renewable energy and is therefore operationally carbon neutral. 

URBAN [U]: Is the sustainable design of Ferrars & York in response to what consumers are demanding at present or vice versa?

Liam Wallis: Ferrars & York is designed for people who value design and a connected lifestyle and who have a strong sense of responsibility to help be part of the solution for a more sustainable future. Sustainable homes are warm in winter and cool in summer, they maximise natural light and cross ventilation and create enjoyable, comfortable spaces to live, entertain, and work in. They are connected to fresh food, green spaces, community amenities such as schools and employment by foot, bicycle, or public transport. They provide accessible facilities to reduce water waste and to recycle. We have found that some of our buyers are very aware of their impact on the natural environment and are seeking to align their values with their social and consumer behaviour. Others have simply been drawn to the quality and have responded really well to the idea that buying into this project is helping to support the kinds of projects that so many of us want to see in our cities. 

One thing is for sure about Ferrars & York is that its location next to the South Melbourne Market will make it very convenient to live sustainably and enjoy the benefits of fresh, high quality, locally sourced produce.  

URBAN [U]: Do you think that COVID-19 has influenced buyers’ preferences when it comes to purchasing more eco-friendly homes? How so?

Liam Wallis: Following this summer’s bushfires and COVID-19, we have seen that a 'business as usual' approach holds very little relevance. Ferrars & York has seen strong enquiries and we were thrilled that we have achieved 50% of sales within 2 weeks of launching, in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. We were hopefully prior to launch that quality would shine through at a time of uncertainty and that seems to have been the case. The idea of well-designed, energy-efficient homes that provide comfortable spaces to dwell has resonated with our market.  

URBAN [U]: Do you see more developers in the industry going down the carbon-neutral route? How likely do you think that the government will introduce incentives to encourage developers/suppliers/buyers/sellers in the industry to be carbon neutral?

Liam Wallis: Emissions reduction commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement will strengthen the Carbon market and is already providing incentives in different forms for businesses to be seriously assessing their carbon footprints. Ultimately, all new residential dwellings in Australia will be carbon-neutral. In our opinion, this should be sooner rather than later. Arguments that the short-term costs of achieving zero carbon impact the feasibility of projects are fast losing credibility. 

At the core of Ferrars & York and HIP V. HYPE is a strong belief that the buildings we choose to build and live in can drive the positive impact our cities deserve. We see our role as both delivering buildings which can help shape a positive, more resilient future for our cities and also as advocates for sustainable development. We invest in researching and testing sustainable processes and systems in our buildings to serve as case studies for what sustainable density can and should be. 

We have made a number of submissions to the Victorian State government in support of more progressive sustainability targets across the energy, transport and built environment sectors and would welcome further incentives to lift the quality of housing delivered by the broader industry.  

URBAN [U]: For prospective buyers who are yet to make up their minds, what has the team behind Ferrars & York done to go beyond eco-friendly amenities (e.g. fossil-fuel-free electric systems and solar panels)?

Liam Wallis: We’re investing heavily in quality design and are actively seeking to build long-term relationships with our suppliers and our customers.

Each residence at Ferrars & York will include Binq’s high-performance sustainable doors and windows for enhanced thermal and acoustic insulation and appliances by premium Swiss manufacturer V-ZUG provide for the latest in technology and reliable performance. Melbourne kitchen manufacturer, Cantilever Interiors will be continuing their collaboration with HIP V. HYPE to deliver high-quality, locally made kitchens to enable residents to make the most of the market’s fresh produce.  

Jieyee Ong

Jieyee Ong

Jie Yee is a researcher at urban.com.au with experience in business, financial and property news.

Liam Wallis

Liam Wallis

Liam Wallis is the Founder of HIP V. HYPE and Managing Director of HIP V. HYPE. Liam is a creative entrepreneur who believes in the power of design thinking to resolve intuitive solutions to project delivery and value creation.

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