Australian social housing project wins 5 green star rating

September 8, 2009

HBO+EMTB’s social housing project in NSW is first in Australia to be awarded a 5 Green Star rating for environmental excellence.

A new 88-unit complex in Lilyfield, NSW, designed by HBO+EMTB, has been awarded the 5 Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia, making it the greenest social housing project in the country.

NSW Minister for Housing, David Borger, said, “We hope the Lilyfield project will become a model for future social housing projects across the country as it demonstrates that affordable housing can also be ecologically sustainable.”

HBO+EMTB director Gustavo Thiermann, design director of the project, explained that the site’s proximity to public transport links – including the Inner West light rail – allowed them to build extra units where there would otherwise have been parking spaces.

“We did not deliberately set out to make history with the project – we just applied sustainable principles we seek to utilise in all our projects,” he added.

The project includes photovoltaic cells to power the hot water supply and on-site production of electricity, as well as rainwater tanks for use in gardens, laundries and toilets. Units have also been designed to minimise passive solar heating, with all living spaces facing north or east, and natural cross ventilation.

Chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, Romilly Madew, commended the sustainable design, adding, “There is space for a community garden and an informal play area which will be developed once residents have moved in. This will be wheelchair accessible and will allow tenants to grow their own vegetables.”

It is hoped that the project will provide a more sustainable and affordable environment for social housing residents.

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