With the Australian government committing to filling its coffers with $1.4bn, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has started funding new green initiatives.

ARENA is providing Frasers Property Australia with $708,910 to build new energy efficient homes that will demonstrate the feasibility of achieving zero energy demand homes at scale.

Frasers Property will build 51 medium density energy efficient homes under the program at its Ed.Square mixed-use community in south-west Sydney with a focus on cost-effective solutions to significantly reduce energy bills for potential buyers.

These homes will each include 4 kilowatts of solar photovoltaics, ground source heat pump space conditioning, induction cooktops, electric boosted solar hot-water, glazed windows, LED lighting and roof insulation.

The Ed.Square project will also use a new business model that will see the operation of the solar PV systems owned and operated by Frasers Property’s energy retail business, Real Utilities, as part of an embedded network.

Data and knowledge gained from this development will allow Frasers Property to accelerate its concept throughout the rest of its property developments.

It will also gain customer insights into whether efficient and sustainable housing options are becoming a selling point for new home buyers.

Additionally, knowledge from this project will also be shared with the broader building sector to refine, develop and elevate the energy performance of Australian housing.

It follows ARENA’s support last year to Mirva for the construction of 49 net zero energy neutral homes in Victoria.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller says these projects will encourage Australia’s housing sector to embrace more energy efficient and carbon neutral homes as a selling point for buyers.

“Through this project, we hope to highlight the benefit that energy efficiency and renewable energy can provide to next generation, net zero energy demand homes that will reduce emissions and energy costs,” he added.


Clean energy switch

Separately, ARENA is providing Shell subsidiary ERM Power with $250,000 in funding to help Queensland manufacturing businesses better understand what’s needed to make the switch to clean energy.

Under the program, 20 Queensland manufacturers will undergo energy assessments that will determine the potential for a range of different manufacturing businesses to increase energy productivity and renewable energy generation by electrifying traditional gas-based processes and optimising onsite solar.

The business sites have been selected across sub-sectors including food and beverage, metals production, chemical production and machinery and equipment fabrication.

This is expected to help Queensland manufacturers improve their energy productivity and drive sector improvements.

The $600,000 program builds on a successful pilot in 2018 that identified energy cost savings of up to 28 per cent for participating businesses.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said supporting industry to reduce emissions and transition to clean energy was a priority for ARENA and well aligned with the Australian Government’s recently released Low Emissions Technology Statement.