A group of investors have come together to develop a social housing project in Heidelberg West, Melbourne to be built to Passive House standards.

The project, which is being developed at cost parity with conventional social housing, aims to address several issues including the quality of low-income housing in the state. The team includes GrĂ¼n Consulting director Clare Parry and social entrepreneur Nick Lane as well as Burkhard Hansen, founder of prefab home builder Carbonlite.

According to Parry, the investors are using their self-managed super funds for the project, and are simply interested to use their funds for something good. Parry co-founded Passive Place Ethical Housing to develop the project after reading numerous reports linking health, economic leverage and the quality of social housing.

Located in Melbourne’s north western middle ring suburb of Heidelberg West, the site is a standard home block but will have three prefabricated Passive House detached dwellings. The group plans to initially lease the houses to a social housing provider and will not mind receiving lower than market rent, or even a lower than conventional return on sale when they eventually put the development on the market.

The three dwellings will each have three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms over two storeys with a flexible garage or storage space. Each house will occupy a footprint of 6 x 15 square metres, with the design inspired by Row on 25th in Houston, Texas, an affordable multi-home project by green builder Shade House Developments.

Working pro-bono, Parry is providing the eco-design and Passive House design services for the project, which aims to achieve a NatHERS rating of at least 8.5 to 9 stars. The solar ready homes will also feature full lightweight timber construction.

The company aims to enter into partnerships with social housing providers for future projects.