An affordable and highly sustainable apartment development trialling innovative new technology received top honours at the esteemed Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) WA Awards for Excellence on Saturday evening.
Yolk Property Group took out top honours in the Affordable Development category for its Evermore development in White Gum Valley, with the 24 apartments, powered by cutting-edge solar photovoltaics and lithium battery technology and featuring a host of sustainable features, impressing the judges.
Yolk Property Group Director Pete Adams said the company had achieved a plethora of firsts with Evermore as a result of trialling and implementing new technology and applications in their aim to create a world-leading sustainable development.
“Evermore was the first apartment development for sale in Australia to utilise solar and battery technology in a strata-setting; was the first residential development in the country to use blockchain technology to trade renewable energy; and was the first apartment development in Western Australia to be recognised by Bioregional Australia as a One Planet Community,” Mr Adams said.
“We felt Evermore was a truly unique and cutting-edge project and we are thrilled the Urban Development Institute of Australia has recognised it,” he said.
Judges of the Affordable Development Award were looking for a project that demonstrated both initial affordability as well as the incorporation of ‘whole of life’ sustainable elements allowing for affordability in ongoing running costs.
UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes said the awards judges noted Yolk’s commitment to innovation, which also saw the project place as a finalist in the Environmental Excellence category.
“This innovative project demonstrates passion and leadership in the installation of solar and battery storage systems and innovative governance systems that allow apartment owners to sell electricity to each other. It was the first apartment development for sale in Australia to utilise such a system,” Ms Hailes said.
Mr Adams said the aim was to go above and beyond the standard sustainability practices employed in the industry to create a new benchmark in green development.
“We were determined to prove that sustainability and affordability can go hand in hand, while also showing there is genuine demand in the market for developments offering more in terms of sustainability, a reduced carbon footprint, genuine cost savings and modern technology,” he said.
It has been forecast the 53.6kW solar system with 150kW of battery storage at Evermore will produce approximately 80 per cent of the apartments’ power, with residents expected to benefit from a 30 per cent saving on their electricity bills; and with so much power off the grid residents can also take advantage of being less affected by fluctuations in energy prices.
Evermore is helping shape the future of sustainable residential development with research from the project enabling the development of a governance framework and micro-grid system for solar PV and batteries in strata residential developments, a first for Australia. Yolk Property Group has also created a new structure within strata bylaws, now used by the State Government as a template for future development. Data collected from Evermore will also assist in guiding power authorities’ in future headworks charges, legislation and future infrastructure requirements.
“We tread unknown waters with Evermore and because many of the sustainability initiatives hadn’t been applied in an apartment setting before, we were a bit like guinea pigs figuring things out as we went,” Mr Adams said.
“Hopefully through this project we’ve made it easier for others to create developments that really push the boundaries in terms of sustainability,” he said.
In addition to the pioneering solar PV battery technology and the associated governance system, other initiatives incorporated into the development include: real-time measurement and recording of water and power consumption to ensure maximum energy-efficiency; clever use of passive design with north-facing living spaces and balconies across all apartments maximizing sunlight and cross-ventilation; site-wide bore water system; electric vehicle charging point; three-bin waste system with compost tumblers; communal vegetable garden; bicycle repair station and communal bicycles.
Yolk Property Group partnered with Curtin University, LandCorp, Solar Balance, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Low Carbon Living Cooperative Research Centre and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (CSIRO) to deliver Evermore WGV, with ARENA providing a $280,000 grant to aid Yolk Property Group deliver the project.
Evermore comprises 24 highly sustainable apartments powered by cutting-edge solar photovoltaics and lithium battery technology, with 12 x one-bedroom, 8 x two-bedroom and 4 x three-bedroom apartments. Prices start at $399,500 with five apartments still for sale. The apartments are open for inspection Wednesdays between 5:15PM and 6PM and between 3PM and 4PM Saturday and Sunday. Evermore is located at 2 Beazley Way White Gum Valley (corner of Stevens Street). For more information visit: www.evermorewgv.com.au.