Imagine living in a house with no bills. Thanks to Mirvac, one Australian family has the chance to do just that.
For many Australian families, increasing power bills are an unavoidable fact of life – but what if this didn’t have to be the case? Last year, we tabled a new concept for a house designed to have no energy, water or sewerage bills – making these everyday expenses a thing of the past for the family living there.
Thanks to the focused efforts of our team over the last 12 months, the “House with No Bills” concept has evolved from an interesting idea into a tangible reality. As with all our innovative ideas, we wanted to test our idea before rolling it out: so began by selecting a site where one pilot home could be built. The house, in our Jack Road development in Cheltenham, Melbourne, will look exactly like a regular Mirvac home – however thanks to a range of energy-saving features, it will operate in a far more efficient way.
In addition to solar PV panels and batteries (to store energy captured), the house will feature increased roof insulation, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances – and no gas. Smart meters and monitoring systems will also be installed, allowing us to track and understand the energy use of the family who ultimately lives there. We will also be monitoring water usage, with the goal of ultimately eliminating sewerage or waste water and water bills too.
Next Step? Finding a tenant.
The response following our launch of the House with No Bills project to the media in May 2016 has been fantastic. Once the pilot house is completed, we will invite one family to live there rent-free for 12 months. Over this period, we will gain valuable insights into how a typical Australian family uses energy, and what behavioural changes are needed to achieve the no energy bills target.
It’s important to us that the chosen family accurately represents the “average” Australian family – both in terms of statistics and attitudes. Rather than cast the net nation-wide, we are looking for a family already living in the local area, with one member in a key worker role (such as healthcare or teaching).
We’re also not looking for vigilant greenies! Rather, we are seeking a family that simply wants to live their everyday life in a more cost-effective way. After all, this project is a learning exercise for Mirvac, and we want to monitor the reality of how most Australians use energy. By living rent-free (and hopefully bill-free) for a year, we hope our chosen family will have the chance to save enough for a home deposit.
Will we achieve our goal of zero bills? We don’t know for sure. But we’re certainly dedicated to giving it a try – and we’re certain to learn a thing or two along the way.
For more information, click here.