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When well-designed, quality built homes are combined with roof top solar power it’s possible for a house to meet its own energy needs across the year. Known as a Zero Energy Home, or ZEH, they have a reduced reliance on heating and cooling, they have improved occupant comfort and they address the very real concerns of rising energy prices and climate change.

A two-year research project funded by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living and led by Dr Josh Byrne has been set up to better understand the construction cost implications and consumer interest of Zero Energy Homes (ZEH) in Australia. The project will follow three land developers and three builders in three different states, with each of them embarking on the design and construction of a zero energy display home in their respective residential developments.

The first house is being built by Finlay Homes at North Shore in Townsville, a project by national developer Stockland that will eventually contain around 6,000 dwellings. The second will be built in Melbourne by SJD Homes in an established display village at the 750 lot Timbertop land estate in Officer by Parklea. The third house will be built in Canberra by Rawson Homes in the Stage 1 display village of the Ginninderry development, a joint venture between the ACT Government and Riverview Developments that will eventually include over 11,000 dwellings.

The research team from Curtin University and the CSIRO will provide design and technical support to the builders using modelling to assess the expected performance of the final designs. They will also track the construction costs to determine the price impacts of design and technology features. Once the homes are built a detailed survey of potential home buyers will be undertaken to assess the level of market interest. The research findings will inform state and commonwealth government policy initiatives and are expected to generate significant interest from industry.

The project will be documented in a four-part video series produced by VAM Media and Josh Byrne & Associates, the team behind Josh’s House, Star Performers, Living Labs and Density by Design. Part of the story will be told directly by the builders. Each will have their own video camera so they can record the process along the way, sharing their thoughts and experiences and providing an intimate understanding on the industry position on whether Zero Energy Homes are something that can be rolled out on a large scale for everyone.

To watch the video click on the screen above or you download the Project Factsheet.