Exciting innovation in sustainable living right here now

Today was an inspirational day.

DHA developmentIt started with a workshop at the Defence Housing Australia (DHA) offices in Freo where a workshop was being held with sustainability experts, building designers and engineers to work out what could be done at their Queen Victoria Street development using the One Planet principles to make it a truly innovative sustainable development.

DHA have funds available for innovation and sustainability and want to make the 166 apartment mixed use development on the old Toyota site better than best practice.

Ideas included solar PV with battery storage that could make them capable of going off grid. Food waste chutes that lead to an small onsite anaerobic digesting system that creates renewable energy and compost and reduces waste. Re-using the materials left over from the demolition of the existing buildings in the new development, meaning less waste to landfill and saving embodied energy. Including a car share scheme and car pooling (as many of the residents will be defense staff working at nearby barracks) so that not everyone in the complex will need their own car. A community garden, a social club and public art within the complex are also being considered to encourage community within the complex.

DHA have gone above and beyond what is normally done as far as community consultation with neighbours goes. Now they are embracing the One Planet principles to deliver better than best practice on social and environmental sustainability. I hope DHA’s project approach and success will encourage more local developers to see the benefit of these ideas and embrace them so that we become a One Planet community, not just a One Planet Council.


the Green Swing “genesis” project

In the afternoon I headed out to Victoria Park with some of the other councilors to see the Green Swing development. It comprises of four modest dwellings on a regular suburban block built using recycled or sustainable materials with rainwater tanks and greywater re-use and only one car bay each. The two town houses are just over 100m2 each and two apartments are about 60m2 each. They share a vegie garden, BBQ area and garden shed all on a strata title lot. The owners love it and regularly open their homes for sustainable house day. They’ve even converted the sump next door into a community garden that the other neighbours have become involved with!

the sump community garden next door

the sump community garden next door

This is a living example of how I envisage the diverse dwellings scheme amendment working in Fremantle. Enabling small independent, but semi-communal living opportunities that have a low environmental impact and a big social benefit.

Green Swing have embarked on a second project down the road, which is almost complete (and there are still some homes for sale!). I hope they develop one of their little villages in Fremantle – or at least we can learn from their experience how to do these things well.

Seeing this development did throw up some challenges – like parking at the front of the block so as to minimize paved surfaces vs the desire for street activation and passive surveillance… So I think Fremantle can learn a lot from this example as we progress our diverse dwelling amendment.

Exciting and inspirations times indeed!

2 thoughts on “Exciting innovation in sustainable living right here now

  1. I notice they had to go two story to fit these tiny houses in. How is your plan of 120qsm single story going to go with the amendment to the LPS 4? Are these not way too small and the very thing our working class warfies stived to get out of back at the turn of the 19th century! Every one I have seen from this period has been renovated with substantial additions to cater for the modern growing family. I for one couldn’t wait to get out of my little dog box once we started a family. Or is this the plan to turn families away from Freo because families do not fit with sustainability like single person households do? Too much carbon emissions from the extra children.

    • There are plenty of family homes in Freo and there always will be Andrew. As I have said to you before, this is about providing diversity and choice, or people who are at different stages of life and do not need (or want) a larger home. These people are not adequately catered for at present.

      As for fitting into LPS4 – that is what the officers are researching now – how to integrate this sort of diverse housing so it fits into the existing streetscape and planning policies. Stay tuned…

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