Top marks for sustainable Queensland seniors living complex

An apartment complex in Brisbane’s south has received the highest level of sustainability certification available from the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

Completed by Churches of Christ Housing Services in January 2017, Wattle Apartments has received all 6 Green Leaves for its 40 new, thoughtfully designed apartments for over 55s who were previously living in under occupied public housing family homes. 

Developed in partnership with the Queensland Government, the $15.6 million Acacia Ridge project provides a practical solution to the issue of under occupancy. The properties vacated by the seniors who voluntarily transitioned to Wattle Apartments can be repurposed to families on the social housing register, or redeveloped to provide more housing for people in need.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia’s (UDIA) scientifically-based assessment scheme EnviroDevelopment awarded Wattle Apartments the highest possible sustainability rating under its national rating tool. The development was commended for exceptional performance across all six sustainability elements of ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water, and community.

On receiving the certification, Churches of Christ Housing Services General Manager Frances Paterson-Fleider said affordability and sustainability fit perfectly together.

“This project meets the growing demand for quality and affordable independent living options in established communities,” Ms Paterson-Fleider said.

“We came up with an innovative design with generous living and outside space for residents, providing more choice, security and access to a range of health and well-being services for over 55s currently living in under occupied family homes who want to remain in their existing communities.”

EnviroDevelopment Chief Executive Officer Marina Vit said that it is exciting to see innovators in the not-for-profit space taking the lead on sustainable design and living.

“Churches of Christ Housing Service is to be commended for its success in improving energy efficiency, enhancing social integration and providing lifestyle choices for seniors”, Ms Vit said.

“Achieving any of the sustainability leaves is a good result, but to gain all six is  outstanding  and of great benefit to residents and the wider community.”

The 40 apartments are complimented by a community centre, community gardens, dog park, children’s play area, barbeque area and mobility scooter parking and charging bays. The development is well located to a range of amenities including retail precincts, public transport, parks, libraries and medical services.

Building orientation has been used to maximise ventilation and minimise summer heat gains, as well as make the most of natural light. Residents benefit from an ‘embedded network’ electricity arrangement with Locality Planning Energy, which supports a reduction in household running costs.

Other measures highlighted by the UDIA include over 80 per cent of the spoil from the site recycled at a nearby waste station, and local and drought tolerant plant species chosen to reduce the need for irrigation.

Ms Paterson-Fleider said that designing homes more efficiently and flexibly is central to making housing more affordable.

“We aim to deliver better quality, sustainable and more affordable homes for Queenslanders,” she said.

“Residents can enjoy the long term cost savings in energy and water as well as the social and health benefits of living in a Churches of Christ integrated campus for seniors.”

Churches of Christ Housing Services is ramping up its focus on environmental sustainability, with best practice sustainability features in mind. 

“Reducing energy bills in our developments has been a key focus, as every dollar saved on power is another dollar that can be put towards providing homes and services,” Ms Paterson-Fleider said.

Wattle Apartments is the third project to join Churches of Christ in Queensland’s integrated campus model where community housing, retirement living, residential aged care and community care services alongside other health and integrated facilities are co-located in the one campus. The innovative integrated campus model enables residents to age in place with freedom, independence, privacy, dignity and security.

Posted April 6, 2017 in News