Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) has designated two under-construction housing developments in Greater Brisbane as 100% solar and storage communities.
The Carseldine Village and Songbird Estate in Oxley, a Brisbane suburb 11km from the CBD, are under construction now and once completed, the developments will integrate bushland, elder-care facilities, childcare centres and sports areas.
Reaching the Six-Leaf standard
The homes on these two developments meet EnviroDevelopment’s Six-Leaf standard. This is a scientific assessment scheme which reviews developments and awards certificates to those which show outstanding performance on several indices. These indices include energy efficiency and supply, water management and sustainability of building materials.
The first stage of the Carseldine development – 53 terrace houses – is set to be completed by June 2021. The homes will have solar and AlphaESS battery storage systems, as well as heat-pump water heaters and charging points for electrical vehicles.
Big savings for residents
The end result of these renewable energy installations is a saving of up to $1,600 each year on energy bills for each household, according to Steven Miles, QLD’s Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.
Freestanding but under strict rules
Over in Oxley, the Songbird development’s first phase is 39 plots of land and any house builders must meet the same Six-Leaf standards as in Carseldine. The houses will have to have three-phase power connections and a dedicated AC supply to the garage so an EV charging point can be installed easily.
Other rules include the use of thermally-efficient colours and materials in each dwelling. There must also be energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, at least 6KW of solar and 13.5KWh of battery storage, as well as an inverter than can deliver a minimum of 4KW to the grid at any time.
A cap on solar exports
There is a cap on solar exports to the grid so that most of the energy generated by the PV system is used by the household rather than being sold into the market.
The solar array, combined with the Tesla Powerwall, will offer householders on and off-grid power, as well as the chance to earn money by selling surplus electricity. It’s estimated that Songbird residents will be able to save at least $2,000 in power bills annually.
This tech means that householders can carry on running their appliances and, most importantly, their streaming services!
Setting the standard for future new homes
Making PV and battery storage compulsory for new homes, as well as other energy efficiency measures, makes perfect sense as not only will this move help states to plan for future energy demand and lower household energy spending.
Queensland is, according to Mick de Brenni, QLD Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, aiming for carbon-neutral housing design as standard in the state. Updates to the state’s National Construction Code are also on the way.
Queensland is already ahead on solar
QLD is Australia’s leading state when it comes to rooftop solar, with a third of its homes powered by the sun. Four out of the top five solar postcodes are in QLD too, with Bundaberg in the top spot.
The state introduced incentive schemes to promote domestic and business solar uptake back in 2018 and these worked very well indeed.
De Brenni said these sustainable housing developments will help Queensland to meet its target of 50% renewable electricity by 2030 – the state is at 20% at the moment.