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Nov 3, 2023

Have you heard of Passive House?

Australia is witnessing a surge in sustainable construction practices, and leading the charge is C Street Projects with their groundbreaking development, Echo, in Hawthorn. Echo promises not just a modern luxury but also a commitment to a sustainable, energy-efficient future for its residents. At its core is the internationally acclaimed concept of Passive House construction, a game-changer in energy-efficient building. So what is Passive House? Originating in Germany, Passive House construction is gaining global recognition for its energy-saving potential. Now, Australia is embracing this approach, and C Street Projects is at the forefront with their Echo development. Passive Houses set a new standard for Australian construction, showcasing the synergy between luxury living and environmental responsibility. Here are some of the key features: Energy Efficiency: The design significantly reduces energy consumption through insulation, airtight building envelopes, and energy recovery ventilation. Superior Comfort: Residents enjoy consistent indoor comfort year-round with minimised temperature fluctuations and excellent air quality. Sustainability: Eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient systems minimise the project's carbon footprint. Financial Savings: The design leads to cost savings on energy bills, making it an appealing financial choice for residents. As the popularity of Passive House construction grows in Australia, we can expect more projects like Echo to transform our cities. These developments offer both luxurious living and sustainability, improving residents' quality of life and contributing to a greener, more energy-efficient future. If you're curious to experience the Echo project firsthand, don’t hesitate to contact me to arrange a tour and see the future of sustainable living for yourself. Written by Peter Hannon Partner & Auctioneer

Aug 11, 2023


Earlier this week, our team had an impromptu debate about the impact of a new “Sobering Up Centre” to be opened down the street from our Collingwood offices. The area is gentrifying - rapidly. Helped along by one developer in particular, who just happens to have a luxury “mansions” development in the works directly across the road from the new Sobering Up Centre. Questions and opinions bounced around the room. Will the centre have a negative impact on property values? Is this the right place for a Sobering Up Centre? What is a Sobering Up Centre?   I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t heard the term NIMBY until fairly recently and candidly, I quite like it. The first time I saw it written, I was mystified as to what was meant. It was used in the context of the current (permanent, really) housing shortage and referenced the perceived double standards of a certain Queensland MP in opposing developments within his home suburb whilst simultaneously calling for more development elsewhere.    This somewhat paradoxical ideology is not entirely uncommon when it comes to matters that are literally and metaphorically “close to home”. It is, however, entirely problematic for resolving some of the bigger societal issues critical to functioning modern cities.  We can see this thinking evidenced in attitudes toward renewable energy infrastructure. People might advocate for green energy and acknowledge the climate crisis yet oppose the construction of wind turbines or solar farms in their local community, fearing decreased property values or degradation of scenic views. Similarly, public transportation is, at least notionally, uniformly considered by the community as an eco-friendly and traffic-reducing solution. Still, many residents are prone to oppose the construction of a new rail line or bus route near their home, citing concerns about noise, property value, or crime. I go to a gym in the city and discovered early on Monday morning that an entire row of car parks across the road from the gym had been lost to an expanded bike lane…I was outraged! Yet, at dinner parties, will extol with great gusto that “they’ve got it right in Amsterdam”... just to be clear, I mean the bikes. And by “dinner parties”, I mean eating dinner with my wife and kids in our kitchen. Affordable housing, crisis accommodation and homeless “shelters” fall into the same category. Though we recognise the grave issues that necessitate these types of accommodations, when proposals arise to build low-income housing developments in certain neighbourhoods, residents tend to rail against them, fearing it will impact property values or change the character of their community. Likewise, proposals to build shelters or transitional housing are frequently opposed due to worries about increased crime and safety concerns. Our local council recently declared itself a “nuclear-free zone”, which I’m sure is a relief to residents that feared the construction of an AUKUS submarine repair facility on Sydney Road. However, within the energy sector, nuclear is very much back on the table for experts that realise a “clean and green” transition to a sustainable renewable energy future is going to prove challenging without alternative options. If there’s one thing Australians like less in their suburb than wind turbines, level-crossings, bike lanes, homeless people and drunks, it's anything nuclear. We’re all NIABYs when it comes to nukes! The problem remains; we need all of the above, at least some version of them. So, if not here - then where? I’m lucky enough to own property very close to the proposed Sobering Up Centre, and I’m fine with it. If that means someone is less of a danger to themselves and the public - that’s good, right? There are things on the list above that I’d be less cool about opening up on my street, but and it’s a big BUT, we’re all going to have to be OK with some of this stuff in our “hoods” if we’re going to keep enjoying living in this pretty great society, we’re lucky enough to live in.

May 4, 2022

Sustainable City-Living: Make your Melbourne Home More Eco-Friendly

Whether you're a renter, owner-occupier or investment property owner, there are plenty of ways to make your home more sustainable whilst living in the city. Sustainability has been at the forefront of many people’s minds of late, with many people wondering, “what can we do to contribute?”. On a less altruistic note, sustainable home changes typically mean less energy consumption and thus lower bills! It used to be the case that when thinking of how to live more eco-friendly, we thought of recycling our bottles and cans and installing solar panels on the roof. Sadly, the latter isn’t always possible in a Melbourne city apartment. However, there are many ways you can improve the eco-friendliness of your home to contribute to a more sustainable living environment.  Living sustainably is about creating a home that is energy efficient. This means that we make choices to conserve energy or use products and technologies that produce less waste or take less material or energy to produce.  This reduces our carbon footprint, meaning that the way we live has less of an impact on the environment.  Ideally, sustainability is considered in the initial building of a home, and it's designed and constructed with sustainability in mind. However, if you live or are looking to buy or rent in Melbourne, there are many things you can do to a pre-existing structure to improve your sustainability.  For Homeowners  Some simple changes around the house can have a significant impact on your energy consumption and overall sustainability. 1. Double glazed windows Double glazing makes a massive difference in regulating the temperature inside the home and can significantly reduce your electricity and heating bills. 2. Window furnishings As of March 2021, the landlord’s responsibility is to provide curtains and blinds in Victoria in bedrooms and living areas. Choosing window furnishings that effectively block light and insulate will help improve your home's energy efficiency.  3. Insulation If your property is on the older side, it might be worth looking into the quality of your insulation and the cost of easy improvements and techniques to improve the performance of the insulation.  4. Choose sustainable appliances Pay attention to the energy and water ratings on appliances when purchasing.  5. Assess your water heating system  An outdated system can significantly impact your energy consumption.  [caption id="attachment_244763" align="alignnone" width="300"] The energy efficiency of appliances plays a huge role in the overall sustainability of your home.The energy efficiency of appliances plays a huge role in the overall sustainability of your home.[/caption] For Renters If you’re renting, you might not have the choice to purchase the most energy-efficient appliances or install installation. Despite this, there are still many options for creating a sustainability-focused living environment. Remember, the option is always there to speak with your property manager or landlord about it - they might thank you for the savings they reap!  1. Seal up drafty windows and doors One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your home’s sustainability is by sealing up any drafts. You can do this yourself with a door snake or window sealant. 2. Water filters Not a fan of tap water? Investing in water filters for your home is a great way to reduce your reliance on bottled water and the amount of plastic waste you produce. 3. Up your recycling game Return and earn: educate yourself on what can and can’t be recycled and local council initiatives, composting, and community gardens 4. Optimise your appliance usage Some simple swaps will be negligible to your life but can make a massive difference. These include using cold water when washing your clothes. Additionally, you can use the delay function on your washing machine and dishwasher to turn on during off-peak times, line dry clothes when possible, and keep a shower timer. 5. Appliance maintenance Cleaning the filters in your dryer, washing machine and dishwasher regularly will ensure they optimise their energy and water usage. This also goes for the fridge coils, which need regular cleaning. 6. Smart metres and power strips Invest in a smart meter to help you understand your energy consumption, and plug appliances into a power strip so you can easily switch them all off when not in use. 7. Energy-saving light bulbs These handy bulbs can make a big difference to your energy bill, and they last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Is sustainable living on your must-have list for your next home? Our team are well-versed across all aspects of the properties we manage. Feel free to ask Caine Real Estate any questions you may have!