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An aligned vision
According to Nicholas Holt, SLA’s Executive Director, Built Form & Divestment, the SLA and HIA’s GreenSmart had a natural connection. ‘We are committed to building smart, sustainable suburbs and are helping to educate the wider community about more sustainable ways to build.
‘What impressed us when first approached by HIA to participate in the village was how closely aligned the GreenSmart initiative was with our sustainability objectives,’ he says.
Greg Weller, HIA’s Executive Director – ACT/ Southern NSW, agrees, but to see the builds commence has been an exercise in patience. ‘We first put in an expression of interest to collaborate with the village in 2019,’ recalls Greg. ‘It had a fair share of delays due to COVID-19, but we’re thrilled that we’re now seeing the houses take shape.’
So, how did the builders come on board? SLA promoted to the industry that there was an opportunity to come into the village, and HIA in turn reached out to members. The resulting 13 designs from eight builders were chosen against a number of sustainable criteria points. Following this, the next step was training the builders.
‘HIA helped organise GreenSmart training for display village builders. This took place over two days and focused on key features that will improve the efficiency of homes and reduce the environmental impact of residential building,’ Nicholas says.
Greg continues, ‘Then came the technical advice stage. Over the past few months, HIA has been reviewing the house plans against the HIA GreenSmart house protocol. There are regular meetings and, as each of the builds progressively goes up, HIA’s team will inspect the homes to ensure they comply with the elements of GreenSmart house protocols to which each builder has committed. The HIA team support the builders, guiding them all the way to final sign off, and most importantly towards GreenSmart accreditation.’
Many builders in the village were already GreenSmart professionals, while a few were new to the program. ‘It’s an exciting mix,’ Greg says. ‘We’re hopeful that having the village branded as ‘GreenSmart’ will showcase the marketing benefits to other builders and the community. There are many benefits when a GreenSmart builder is selected.’
The green concept doesn’t mean a lack of diversity. There will be single- and double-storey homes with different designs to appeal to diverse homeowners.