Low-income families in NSW benefit from 7-star solar-powered community housing

Low-income families in regional NSW will soon be enjoying 7-star solar-powered community housing thanks to a new agreement.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will invest up to $95 million to help Housing Plus develop 220 new community houses using technology which is highly energy efficient.

Housing Plus is one of the largest providers of NSW regional community housing. It will also retrofit some existing homes with rooftop solar energyand technology like battery storage, heat pumps and smart appliances, as well as insulation to provide protection against weather extremes.

NatHERS benchmark for Australian homes

The scheme will deliver new houses over the next three years. It will include 47 homes in Bathurst, 87 in Dubbo and 86 in Orange.

All solar-powered community housing homes will be built to a minimum 7-star Nationwide House Energy Rating System (NatHERS) standard. This delivers close to a 40 per cent improvement on homes built to the current minimum standard.

NatHERS promotes good insulation and solar passive design to reduce the need for heating and cooling. It also encourages solar batteries, double glazing, smart meters, LED lights and smart white goods.

The federal Department of the Environment and Energy manages NatHERS on behalf of Australian states and territories.

Community housing and welfare organisations around the country are calling for the NatHERS standard to be mandatory in new community dwellings, the CEFC says.

Solar-powered community housing booms in Sydney

Australian households produce around 12 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this relates to heating, cooling, lighting and hot water systems.

The CEFC is also investing funds to boost energy efficiency in Sydney’s community housing.

The funding organisation has committed up to $170 million to St George Community Housing (SGCH). This will help SGCH deliver 500 new NatHERS standard homes in south and south-western Sydney. In addition, it will also retrofit 4,000 existing properties.

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