Sustainability is more than a marketing buzzword. For many individuals it has become an important consideration that not only drives which products they buy and which businesses they support, it also influences other aspects of their behaviour. And increasingly, this is seeing a push for more sustainability practices in and around their homes. This translates into many prospective home buyers looking for sustainability-supporting measures already being in place in the properties they view. Making it smart for property developers to plan new Strata developments with solar already in place, rather than simply being able to support a solar PV system retrofit.
Whichever approach you choose, these are some important steps you can take during the early stages of development.
Arguably one of the biggest issues faced by older Strata buildings wanting to implement solar PV systems is the roof, with the design either limiting the size of the solar system that can be installed, or not being solar-friendly at all; meaning very little of the roof is unshaded, or very little is north, east, or west facing. Some existing Strata buildings might be able to modify their roofs somewhat to make them more solar-friendly, but this adds to the overall cost of implementing a solar system.
A better approach would be to design the building in such a way that the roof is solar-friendly from the very beginning, regardless of the solar PV system being installed during construction or only added later. Working with renewable energy experts during all stages of the design and development process can ensure your building is able to get maximum benefits from a solar system.
Another way to ensure your Strata development is able to receive the maximum benefits afforded by a solar system is for energy efficiency to be built-in from the beginning too. The more energy efficient the building and all units are, the less dependent the building and owners are on supplementing solar energy with other forms of energy. This means designing the building and all units with LED lighting systems pre-installed, along with finding other areas where energy efficiency can be improved during the development stage. This includes energy efficient water heating systems, the use of variable speed drives (VSD) on motors and pumps, optimising any HVAC systems and appliances, and selecting energy efficient appliances if the building is going to include pre-installed appliances in any units.
If your development is being designed to allow individual owners to each install their own solar PV system, you would still need to consider these steps to make that process easier. Energy efficiency should be implemented throughout the building, not only in the common areas. Renewable energy experts can again make this stage of the development easier by not only understanding the LUX level requirements for buildings, but also how to design an energy efficient system that fully meets these requirements.
Each state and territory throughout Australia has different rebate and incentive programs in place to encourage energy efficiency and/or the use of renewable energy sources. While implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy sources such as solar systems require an additional capital outlay, these rebates and incentives can help offset some of that cost. Not forgetting that having all of this designed or built-in during the development stage is also less costly than retrofitting systems much later.
But navigating these programs and completing all the relevant paperwork correctly and with the proper supporting documents is tricky, even for accomplished property developers. Working with Arc Renewables, we will not only ensure that all paperwork is completely correctly, we will also follow up on outstanding rebates, along with project managing the installation of your solar system and energy efficient components, and sourcing all the required technology and systems from accredited suppliers; which is a prerequisite for accessing many rebate and incentive programs.
Take a look at the dozens of Strata developments and other projects we have worked on, and then give us a call to find out how we can help you bring sustainability to your next development.