Tech allows ultra-green homes to be built in just two months
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Tech allows ultra-green homes to be built in just two months

The breakthrough comes as research shows homebuyers are willing to pay more for sustainable features

By Shannon Molloy
Mon, Aug 21, 2023 9:44amGrey Clock 2 min

An Australian construction giant is poised to build ultra-energy efficient homes in a matter of months after signing a joint venture with a green tech prefabricated wall manufacturer.

AVJennings recently launched a new collection of designer dwellings dubbed Stellar, which feature an innovative walling system from tech company Pro9.

Using the galvanised steel-frame and foam insulated product, the time it takes to construct a home can be cut to a fifth of what it is currently, meaning a dwelling could go up in just two months.

And the finished product can achieve at least an eight-star energy efficiency rating – well above the current minimum of six stars and ahead of the boosted seven-star requirement that comes into effect from 2024.

The pro9-wall-system

AVJennings has signed a joint venture with Pro9 to establish a manufacturing hub in Australia, capable of producing more than 1000 homes a year.

“The fact that Pro9 can be implemented directly into our existing product range to elevate the offering is ground-breaking,” AVJennings chief executive officer Phil Kearns said.

“Since introducing the technology into three homes in our Evergreen community in New South Wales 2021, we can see how much it contributes to a home’s energy efficiency and comfort.”

AVJennings is the first developer to bring the Pro9 technology to market in Australia, Mr Kearns said.

“We recognise the importance of achieving higher quality, better insulated and more durable homes and for us to all reduce our carbon footprint.”

Mr Kearns said the partnership is “just the start” of what the company plans to roll out in the future.

Homebuyers are increasingly demanding green and sustainable features and most are willing to pay a premium for it, according to the most recent Property Seeker Report from realestate.com.au.

The largest survey of its kind, the research probes respondents on hundreds of questions relating to the home-buying journey and has found the vast majority are eager to go green.

The 2022 report found 81 per cent of homebuyers see sustainable features in a property being critical in their decision-making and 87 per cent are willing to pay extra for green features, from solar panels to efficient insultation.

The average premium those buyers are willing to pay is 15%, the report found.

Recent analysis by KPMG found the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Homes not only benefit the environment, but owners are better off financially almost immediately, with savings outpacing initial upfront costs.

The AVJennings Stellar collection

While the modelling shows a Green Star Home will increase typical loan repayments by up to $84 per month, the savings in energy costs are up to $140 per month.

“The results are particularly exciting as they show that the economics now align with the significant amenity uplift of a greener, more efficient and healthier home,” said Mark Spicer, KPMG’s partner of ESG advisory and assurance.



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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 

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