Low carbon lessons learnt in the UK have been applied in a new residential apartment project in Adelaide, Australia to achieve impressive sustainable outcomes for the building and its residents.

Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of Australia says the Princes Terrace Adelaide is an example of how small projects can make a big impact when it comes to sustainability.

According to Ms Madew, the Princes Terrace Adelaide is the first residential project in Australia to achieve a 6-Star Green Star rating, with each home using 50 per cent less energy and 50 per cent less potable water than a typical urban dwelling.

A project that demonstrates how accessible low-carbon living can be achieved without compromising quality, affordability or finish, The Princes Terrace Adelaide, located in Bowden, represents a unique collaboration between HRH Prince Charles’ The Princes Foundation for Building Community, Princes Charities Australia, Renewal SA and Defence Housing Australia (DHA).

David Toman, Chief Executive of The Princes Foundation for Building Community, says the project applies many of the lessons learnt in their UK work including evoking the specific heritage of the site, and using local materials to create a harmonious and enduring community. The design of the development not only recalls the much-loved terrace homes that have featured throughout Australian history, but also builds on that heritage by creating environment-friendly and sustainable properties.

A key objective of the build was to maintain a strong focus on sustainability and the environment while recalling traditional Australian terrace architecture, resulting in a design that was both decorative and functional.

The Princes Terrace Adelaide features eight three-bedroom townhouses, and four coach mews units to reflect the area’s architectural legacy.

Renewal SA's bold action to mandate all new buildings within the community to achieve a minimum 5-Star Green Star rating brought national recognition to the project. Renewal SA has also achieved a 6-Star Green Star – Communities rating for the entire precinct.

The Princes Terrace Adelaide project has been designed to be extremely climate responsive and ensure comfort for residents. Sustainable design features include orientating each dwelling to maximise natural daylight and passively heat and cool throughout the year; shading devices and balconies optimised to allow the sun in the winter and shade in the summer; natural cross ventilation for cooling in the summer, as well as ensuring healthy airflow; well insulated walls and roofs to ensure comfortable internal temperatures and efficient air conditioning; double-glazed windows throughout for energy efficiency and acoustic comfort; and low energy heating and cooling systems.

Each home will also have a 1.5kW photovoltaic array installed on the roof, helping to reduce energy use during the day. The focus on energy efficiency has resulted in a building that will use 50 per cent less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a standard Australian residential dwelling.

The FireFORM Insulated Concrete Formwork from ZEGO Building Systems was specified for the project for its superior insulation and structural integrity.

Deborah Davidson of dsquared Consulting, the project’s sustainability consultant, explains that the project design team utilised computer simulation and holistic design analysis from the very beginning to inform the building form and sustainable performance. This analysis early in the design allowed them to test many scenarios, ensuring future homeowners will benefit from the most appropriate construction.

The Princes Terrace Adelaide uses low-carbon building materials such as locally made concrete with blast furnace slag content (as waste product), local granite and bricks re-used from old Bowden industrial buildings as well as timber from certified sustainable sources.

Jan Mason, DHA’s Managing Director, says the use of natural, locally-sourced materials also supports a more sustainable supply chain, helping to build skills and opportunities locally.

The project is undertaking a full lifecycle assessment to measure the total environmental impact including the embodied energy in materials used in construction, energy use in operation and impact at end of life.