Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments

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Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments

Last year, a SmartMarket report predicted that Australia would maintain its world-leading status in sustainable building practice, as well as showing a further increase of green developments over the next three years. One year down the track, and we're already celebrating the announcements and completions of innovative, eco-conscious new developments on a daily basis.

Urban.com.au had a chat to Rachel and Kelvin Taing of Excelon Projects who have a proclivity for sustainable projects – with their most recent development Two Eleven Sydney Road likely to claim a highly sought-after 7.5 Star environmental rating. The brother and sister duo discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments, market failure when building for investors rather than residents, and which sustainable features add the most value to a development.

Urban.com.au: Congratulations Rachel and Kelvin on the launch of your exciting new project Two Eleven Sydney Road. Firstly, what were the main motivations for you to strive for such a high sustainability credential?

Kelvin & Rachel Taing: Excelon’s motivation to create projects that are sustainable stems from our overarching objective to create dwellings that are inherently good. To us, good dwellings are not just about providing habitable spaces but includes delivering quality homes at a consistently high standard. In line with this vision, we believe strong sustainability credentials are a key component in contributing to the quality of our spaces. There are two main reasons which remain the driving force behind Excelon’s commitment to creating projects of uncompromising sustainability. Firstly, the long-term economic benefits to residents as a result of reduced power and water consumption cannot be overstated, especially when you extrapolate the savings to the expected lifespan of buildings. Secondly, we are guided by our strong belief that residents and buyers need to be assured that they are investing in high-quality, sustainable property. The homes in Two Eleven Sydney Road provide future residents assurance in knowing that every day they are contributing to sustainable practice, and doing the right thing by the environment, by our children, and future generations.

Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Living room
Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Entranceway

U: With the current discussion around climate change becoming so prominent in the media, have you seen a shift in buyer demand for more sustainable-focused developments?

K & R: Yes, definitely.

U: Which sustainable building practices do you believe provide the most environmental value to a project?

K & R: Individual sustainable building practices such as insulation, orientation, and cross-flow ventilation contribute significantly to delivering environmental value to a project. Creating good buildings is about taking a series of small steps in the right direction, instead of one giant leap. We believe that in the long run, the most impactful sustainable practice is to create high-quality buildings that are flexible and timelessly designed. Thoughtful and well-designed buildings are more likely to stay relevant and continue to add value to the community, and the lives of occupants. On the contrary, poorly designed buildings are more likely to be demolished and rebuilt more frequently, consuming valuable resources and labour that can be put to better use elsewhere.

"We believe that thinking beyond the project feasibility, beyond our initial purchasers and perhaps even beyond our own lifetime, is the most important sustainable building practice we can adopt."

Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Bedroom
Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Bathroom

U: Two years ago, the Victorian government introduced new legislation surrounding minimum apartment sizes and requirements for natural light. What new government initiatives (or incentives) would you like to see implemented to ensure the future of building in Australia reaches sustainability goals and near net-zero carbon emissions?

K & R: We believe that the legislation you are referring to is a step in the correct direction because it acknowledges that housing and buildings in general almost always outlast the ownership tenure of the first owner. Without some form of regulation, the initial owner will have near absolute say on the dwellings that are delivered, by simply choosing what to purchase, which ultimately determines what gets built. Sometimes when the initial owners are investors, what is important to them is not fully aligned with the housing needs of future residents or the community in general, creating a market failure. In instances like this, the relevant authority should step in to implement guiding regulations. We think that building awareness through education and government campaigns will assist in highlighting the benefits of sustainable homes and lifestyles. It is important that homebuyers, who ultimately drive the demand for housing, are provided with the knowledge set to be discerning consumers.

U:  Excelon Projects’ company motto states, “Excelon partners with leading architects and other design professionals who want to push the boundaries of design excellence and innovation, to create homes with specific residents’ lifestyles in mind.”. Who was the buyer you had in mind when creating Two Eleven Sydney Road and what would their lifestyle look like?

K & R: The buyers we have in mind tend to be people who care about the environment and the carbon footprint they leave behind. Civic-minded, we want our residents to have convenient access to all that an inner-city location has to offer, as well as being supported by a tight-knit neighbourhood community when they are at home.

Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Communal rooftop terrace

U: What drew you to working with Six Degrees Architects on this project?

K & R: One of our objectives here is to create a neighbourhood environment where a genuine community can be fostered. It involves a careful balance between privacy for every dwelling, and well-considered common spaces, where residents feel comfortable to stay for a moment and chat with each other. Six Degrees Architects are well experienced in creating meaningful community spaces, demonstrated through various past projects including Heller Street and Clyde Mews, one of our previous projects.

U: What is involved in retrofitting a heritage façade so that the overall development will reach a 7.5-star NatHERS rating?

K & R: The restoration of our heritage façade does not directly affect the NatHERS rating of the development. However, we are very proud of the respectful manner in which the heritage façade of the former Melbourne Savings Bank branch will be restored, with the main mass of our building setback by nearly 10 meters from the heritage street façade.

U: Which aspects of Two Eleven Sydney Road are you most proud of and why?

K & R: We are most proud of the timeless design, environmental sustainability, the focus on community and common spaces, landscaping and the fact that there are only 21 dwellings in the development, with no more than 4 apartments per level.

Kelvin & Rachel Taing of Excelon Projects discuss buyer demand for sustainable developments
Private balcony

U: What’s the next step for Excelon Projects in terms of sustainable development?

K & R: We are looking forward to creating more thoughtfully designed projects in the future.

Some of Two Seven Sydney Road's sustainability features include:

  • Double glazed windows (excluding louvre windows)
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Solar energy harvesting
  • High thermal mass
  • Double aspects for cross ventilation
  • Hydronic heating
  • Ceiling fans in each room

Lead image: Two Eleven Sydney Road render. Credit: Six Degrees Architects/Excelon.

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