Build Neutral at Minnippi Quarter
Customers offered the option of building a carbon-neutral home
Frasers Property Australia offered environmentally conscious home buyers a selection of carbon neutral homes at its Minnippi Quarter residential community in Brisbane.
In a scheme similar to offsetting the carbon emissions when booking a flight, at the point of purchase customers could elect to ‘opt-in’ to offset the carbon emissions associated with the materials and construction of their home, with the price included in the amount paid at settlement.
The Minnippi Quarter Build Neutral initiative offered home buyers the opportunity to offset the carbon produced during construction of their home for an A$800-$1000 contribution (depending on the size of the home and the amount of carbon that needs to be offset). That contribution was then split between two approved projects, one locally in Australia and the other in Zimbabwe, that sequester or mitigate carbon emissions.
Through the contributions of its customers, Frasers Property purchased carbon credits under an internationally recognised provider and system for carbon reduction and offsetting. Once purchased, carbon credits were retired to ensure there was no double counting in the system, and 100% of the customer contributions collected under the program were used to purchase credits.
All carbon emissions reductions calculations and amounts have been independently audited, and the process certified by Climate Active, the Federal Government agency that supports and guides businesses to reduce carbon emissions.
WHY IS THE INITIATIVE SPECIAL?
At Minnippi Quarter, the Build Neutral initiative was coupled with Frasers Property’s commitment to use as many responsibly sourced materials as possible in the construction of the homes, and then power the homes through Frasers Property’s carbon neutral energy provider: Real Utilities.
While many developers are focused on reducing the energy consumption of homes once they are built, little data is currently collected on the full carbon footprint of new-home construction, and Frasers Property Australia are hoping to change that with this initiative.
The initiative sets a new standard for incorporating sustainability into the construction of new homes, asking suppliers to find better solutions and challenging builders to reconsider how they work while on site.
Through this initiative, Frasers Property Australia has not only encouraged and empowered its contractors to reduce their own footprints, it has taken a collaborative approach and invested its own time, energy and resources into achieving better outcomes for the project team and the project itself.
Customers are asking for more sustainable homes and this gave them them what they are asking for without compromising on style, amenity and liveability. Build Neutral is one way for customers to be part of the solution on sustainability.
INNOVATIONS AND DESIGN FEATURES
Consultants looked at the 10 house designs in the Minnippi Quarter masterplanned community and quantified the carbon for each design. All carbon associated with the extraction, processing, transport and production of the homes was included. This process is referred to as a ‘Life Cycle Assessment’ or ‘LCA”.
All calculations were completed in line with Australian Standards. Essentially, they used the existing LCA calculation system used by the Green Building Council of Australia and applied that to residential homes.
The carbon emissions for each home were calculated by accounting for carbon associated with both the building materials and the construction process.
They looked at every design in the development and quantified the carbon for each design. Some of the smaller homes came in at about $800 to offset and the bigger homes came in at around $1000. The amount paid was relative to the size of the house because the bigger the house, the more carbon.
The cost of offsetting that carbon was managed down by blending local Australian carbon offsets with overseas carbon offsets, which are cheaper. Half the offsets come from QLD at $25 a tonne and half from Zimbabwe at $5 a tonne. That brought the average down to $15 for a tonne of carbon, and then based on the tonnes of carbon associated with a home, the figures were between ~$800 and ~$1000.
By opting into the initiative, home buyers have a direct impact on the projects selected by Frasers Property to mitigate against carbon emissions. In this way, the scheme is part of a cycle of using and giving back to the planet and our global communities.
The projects supported under the package are:
- Boobera Human-Induced Regeneration Australia:
A Queensland project that supports farmers to exclude stock and manage pests through Human-Inducted Regeneration methods in order to restore forest cover, ecosystem services and habitat for native species, whilst also supporting alternative revenue streams through access to Australian Carbon Credit Units.
By purchasing the carbon credit units, we are directly supporting rural landholders.
- Kariba Forest Protection:
Established in 2011 in Zimbabwe, the project prevents deforestation and land degradation across a 785,000-hectare area and has so far prevented 18 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
The project supports regional sustainable development and the independence of local communities. Activities include workshops around nutritional gardening, safe water access, health clinics, and training sessions.
Forty percent of participants are women working in agriculture, education and project management.
Early calculations showed the Minnippi Quarter homes could be built with a carbon footprint of under 80 tonnes per home, which allowed the company to set an internal benchmark when planning and designing future homes.
The scheme was endorsed and certified by the Climate Active initiative, which is an ongoing partnership between the Australian Government and Australian businesses to drive voluntary climate action.
Frasers Property targeted a 5% uptake from customers and achieved ~7%, exceeding the target.
BENEFIT TO CUSTOMERS
By opting into the initiative, home buyers had a direct impact on the projects selected by Frasers Property to mitigate carbon emissions. In this way, the scheme is part of a cycle of using and giving back to the planet and our global communities.
Buyers could choose to opt into Build Neutral at any time during the sales process. Frasers Property deliberately made this easy for customers because the issue of carbon is extremely complex, and many people find it difficult to know what power they have individually to make a difference.
Many customers approach Frasers Property because of its commitment to sustainability. With Build Neutral, they were able to align their values with ours by, quite literally, ticking a box. They could then walk away feeling good about the purchase they made and the difference it will make not only to climate action projects in Australia but overseas, too.
Customers love developers who practice what they preach and deliver on sustainability. With escalating density and environmental awareness of the generation buying into these communities, sustainability has become a key feature in design and implementation. There is now a greater consideration being placed on the sustainability of the building itself, where previously the focus was largely on energy management and water conservation.
It’s important to the sales process to keep things simple rather than blind customers with science. They don’t want to be bombarded by details such as 40% of carbon will come from the walls, 20% from the roof and 30% from the slab. Instead, they just want to know they’ve got a carbon neutral home and have done their bit for the environment.
Given the uptake from enthusiastic residents at Minnippi Quarter, Frasers Property is committed to learning from this project and rolling out similar projects at its masterplanned communities across Australia.
Based on the success of this program, Frasers Property Australia is looking to roll it out on other homes in Queensland and also in NSW. It could also be expanded to apartments.
Climate Active, the organisation it’s certified under, has since engaged consultants around how the scheme could be replicated at scale.
The Build Neutral Initiative program was presented at the Green Building Council Conference in March 2021 and was featured at the end of the conference as one of the five game-changing projects in Australia this year.
AWARDS AND CERTIFICATIONS
- Build Neutral at Minnippi Quarter was a finalist in the 2021 Property Council Innovation Awards.
- Minnippi Quarter was awarded a 5 Star Green Star Communities Rating in 2021 for its terrace home precinct, which recognised Build Neutral with 1 point under the Innovation Category.
BUILD NEUTRAL AND OUR SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY
The Build Neutral Program paves the way for Frasers to measure, and in future reduce, the embodied carbon throughout the whole development process, which is in line with our core pillar in the A Different Way strategy to Consume Responsibly: https://www.frasersproperty.com.au/A-Different-Way
Build Neutral is just another example of Frasers Property committing to a set of holistic targets as part of A Different Way. It's our commitment to creating places where resources are reused, recycled and restored; it’s where new ideas are fostered to support people and the planet, and where we take initiatives to help people lead better, healthier lives.
The development aims to improve liveability, environmental outcomes, economic prosperity and sustainable governance for all residents. To achieve this, our operations have been certified carbon neutral by Climate Active since 2015, the same program Minnippi Quarter’s homes are certified under.