Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors
Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

Environmental ratings are becoming prevalent talking points for new developments, mainly for two reasons – people want healthier homes, and we have limited time to address our carbon footprint on the planet.

Over the years working in the property industry, Urban CEO Mike Bird has observed a growing trend with more buyers actively seeking environmentally sustainable properties – and commented that it isn't just limited to one cohort of buyers; instead, it's broader market demand. 

"First home buyers have historically been the most responsive to environmental ratings; however, we have now seen this become an increasingly important part of the decision for downsizers and next home buyers."

An architecture practice we've been watching lead the way towards a more sustainable future is ClarkeHopkinsClarke, which is why it's no surprise that they are set to deliver a design that will become Australia's first 8-star NatHERS rated townhome development at scale and with such focus on social as well as environmental sustainability.

NatHERS is an energy efficiency rating system that considers the layout and orientation of properties, methods of construction, building materials used, and solar and thermal efficiency. 

The new medium density development, Northcote Place, is a collaborative venture delivered by Metro Homes with an industry-leading design team comprising Akas Landscape Architecture, SDC (Sustainable Development Consultants) and ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects.

Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

"Eight stars is a tangible measure of energy efficiency that's resonating with Northcote buyers because they're ESD*-focussed." Metro's General Manager, David Steele, explains. Steele's remark is also backed up by sales numbers, with 80% of stage one already sold. 

"But beyond stars, we wanted to create the most well-rounded sustainable townhouse living in Australia, and we were open about how to achieve that on this site. Kicking off with a Creating Vibrant Communities workshop at ClarkeHopkinsClarke helped us create a shared vision, and that's kept us pushing well beyond what's available elsewhere.

Darebin Council's City Designer was hugely supportive of our intentions, especially incorporating a mews instead of a road, and really encouraged our links and interactions with the broader neighbourhood."

Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

In order to achieve an 8-star NatHERS rating, the team were already on track with environmental sustainability at the forefront of design decisions. However, ClarkeHopkinsClarke Multi-Residential Associate, Janice Tan, explains that one of the key features that won the development the final star was the inclusion of sliding doors at the bottom or top of each staircase, which acts as an airlock to stabilise air movement and increase comfort. 

"We've also used robust materials with high ESD values, north-facing living areas, cross ventilation, large eaves, ceiling fans in all bedrooms and living areas, solar power, rainwater tanks, large terraces, gardens and shared outdoor spaces designed as habitat, not decoration." 

Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

SDC Director Ben De Waard says he knows of no other 8-star townhouse developments in Australia at this scale offering such holistic sustainability.

"What's a first here is the scale and the number of different sustainability elements Northcote Place brings together. We've got the high energy ratings, the rainwater tanks connected to both toilets and laundries – that's pretty rare, the community vegetable garden, the electric-only option for people to be gas-free, having the townhouses ready for solar car charging battery storage.

With a lot of clients it's, 'what's the minimum we need to provide?' but with Metro it's been, 'what else can we do?' or 'how much further can we push it?' As a consultant wanting the best sustainability outcome that's exciting. You go the extra mile because they're so keen." 

Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

Australia's first townhome development to receive an 8-star NatHERS rating is all thanks to strategically placed sliding doors

Northcote Place is located on Wurundjeri Country, adjacent to the Merri Creek parklands – with a vibrant planting scheme planned to support the existing ecosystem. Akas Landscape Architecture have incorporated 80% indigenous plant species into the outdoor zones to create a habitat for local fauna and flora to thrive. 

The development is set on an expansive 12,000 square metre site and offers 74 diverse, flexible townhome floorplans.

*Environmentally Sustainable Design

Read next: Seven of Australia's leading sustainable developments for 2021

SUSTAINABLE PROPERTIES CURRENTLY SELLING IN VIC

Olivia Round

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of urban.com.au. Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

Tags: 
Northcote Place ClarkeHopkinsClarke

Comments

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?