Powering your home doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn't have to cost much at all. This is exactly what our Balanced Energy Homes are setting out to prove, utilising game-changing technology that produces more energy than they consume.
Balanced Energy Homes (or BE.Homes for short) are an exciting first for both Frasers Property Australia and Ed.Square in Sydney’s south west. On the surface, they may appear just like any other Ed. Square townhome—light-filled, beautiful and comfortable, a space that’s been expertly designed for every kind of family. But look beneath the surface, and you’ll discover a raft of leading energy efficiency features working together to slash conservatively up to 43% off your home energy bill.
So, just what is a BE.Home?
To put it simply, a BE.Home is a home that produces more energy than it consumes. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? But with a combination of solar energy, leading energy efficiency features and geothermal technology, Frasers Property Australia has made it possible. “It’s an all-electric home—you don’t need to do anything except move in,” says Mathew Kuhn, Senior Development Manager at Frasers Property’s Ed.Square project. “The home comes with all that smart design built in and ready to go, so you’re set to start saving money right from the get-go”.
The idea for an energy-efficient home was a little longer in the works, Ed.Square townhomes were already energy efficient. BE.Homes takes it to the next level as Frasers Property worked with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) along with expert advise from external consultants to identify the specific suite of technologies and design development that would be required to develop BE.Homes. The vision was born and is now to become a reality.
Technology usedBE.Homes work by reducing a homes energy use and providing solar infrastructure to generate the equivalent amount of energy. Bringing with it lifestyle benefits in the home whilst remaining highly cost-effective, all year round.
Two key systems are used to do this, solar and geothermal, which work alongside a range of other energy-saving technologies to deliver a cost-effective energy bill. “Initially, we tried to identify which technologies are most efficient in the home, which helped us defined the different systems and technologies we wanted to incorporate,” Julia Halioua, Sustainability Advisor at Frasers Property Australia, says.
A relatively new concept in homes, geothermal technology is used for BE.Homes’ heating and cooling system. Mathew sums it up this way: “Think of it as an air conditioning system, but instead of blowing out into the air, it’s using the natural geothermal properties of the earth.” The technology cleverly utilises the consistently comfortable temperature of the soil to efficiently deliver heating and cooling all year round.
“For hot water, we’re using energy from the sun. This acts as a solar thermal, producing hot water right when you need it with a small electric boost,” says Julia. Every home’s roof space is fitted with solar panels to generate the maximum amount of solar energy for the BE.Homes community. This network is owned and managed by Real Utilities — a 100% Frasers Property owned and operated energy business — who then make this energy available to everyone when they need it. Homeowners don’t have to worry about periods of low sunlight and high water demand either.
And that’s just the beginning of it. You’ll find numerous other clever technologies and energy-saving measure sprinkled throughout the home to help keep costs as low as possible. Climate-clever windows are strategically placed to control heating and cooling, while the extra layer of insulation works alongside them to create a more stable temperate in the home all year round.
“We’re [also] getting away from gas technology, instead using electric cooking implements, like our state-of-the-art induction cooktop”, says Julia.
And controlling it all is the master power switch. With just one flick, you can conveniently turn on or off all non-essential lights and powers sockets as you head out the door.
The bigger pictureA smaller energy bill is nice enough, but the benefits of BE.Homes go so much further than just the savings — they’re also reducing their carbon footprint and paving the way for the future. “We’ve proved that it’s possible to build net-zero carbon homes,” says Julia. “Some of the technologies are already being used in the community, but no other homes have them all in one. What’s really great about this project is the fact that it’s a case study for the wider industry, one that will hopefully help influence and change the technologies used in homes going forward”.
BE.Homes also receive funding from ARENA as part of their Advancing Renewables Program. This program aims to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and consequently increase the supply of renewable energy through innovation. As part of this partnership, data will be captured for AREAN from the homes that will provide valuable insights into the cost, efficiency, and effectiveness of new sustainable housing technology. Their goal for this project is to expand the knowledge of renewable energy technology, with the objective of using it to elevate the energy performance of Australian housing in the future.