5 February 2018

Ginninderry development to trial gas-free homes in Stage 1

| Ian Bushnell
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The first homes in the West Belconnen development will not be connected to gas but will use solar panels to power efficient electrical heating appliances.

The new master-planned Ginninderry development’s first 350 homes will not be connected to gas but rely on electrical cooking and heating appliances powered by their own solar panels.

The concept will be trialled in Stage 1 of the West Belconnen development as part of plans by the ACT Government to move away from fossil fuels to renewable electricity by 2020.

The homes will also have smart metres to help contain power costs and Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry said Ginninderry would have an important role in meeting the demand for diverse and affordable housing in the West Belconnen region over the coming years.

“This trial precinct provides an opportunity to ensure that housing delivered in Canberra is both environmentally sustainable and affordable for our community,” Ms Berry said.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said that moving away from gas was an important step in addressing climate change.

“As the ACT moves to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020, gas will become one of the major remaining contributors to greenhouse gas pollution, so we will need to find options to reduce gas use,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Ginninderry residents will also save money, with energy modelling for the pilot finding that households will save over $14,000 when using all electrical appliances compared to gas (over the life of the appliances).”

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said a Variation to the Territory Plan would remove the requirement for gas to be provided to Stage 1. The draft variation will be released shortly and will have an interim effect.

The trial will be assessed following a reasonable time period to ensure it meets consumer needs and grid security requirements, including testing capacity and function in a range of climate conditions.

The trial would also ensure higher design and insulation standards are set for any future proposals.

Affordable sustainable living is to be a feature of this development, with the developers seeking to create a place underpinned by leading-edge design and development practices, including mandated solar panels.

The lessons of this trial could be applied to other developments in the ACT to bring advances in sustainability, more affordable living and greater customer choice.

Ginninderry is a joint venture of the ACT Land Development Agency (LDA) and Riverview Developments Pty Limited on behalf of Corkhill Brothers Pty Ltd.

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@Corey – “How much extra will (the houses) cost”? On the contrary, I would have thought that a lack of an essential household resource such as gas would severely harm a property’s value, not increase it. In fact I would go so far as to say that these houses are a real estate agent’s worst nightmare.

When I had my house built I asked for my house NOT to be connected to the gas. The builder wanted to have gas cooking. It would have been a waste of money; with only the stove top connected (and I dislike gas cooking) and the solar hot water booster for one or two months a year. I would have had to pay an extra quarterly fee for so little. So my house is all electric. I had no gas or electric heating built in. They weren’t needed.

I would dislike buying a house with gas connected; so, as with swimming pools, where some like them and other don’t, some like gas connected and some don’t.

With gas prices rising I would think that having an all electric house and only one quarterly fee to pay, would be seen as a positive by many people.

Capital Retro9:36 pm 05 Feb 18

Creating an exclusive “gas free” area in this new residential development could be because there are a lot of “un-mapped unknowns” where the West Belconnen tip was and it is possible that there will be fugitive plumes of methane escaping in the future. These can drift for long distances and also leach through soil to distant places.

It would not be wise to risk these gasses meeting the naked flames of a household gas HWS pilot light.

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