KORUMBURRA will soon be home to Gippsland’s first solar powered residential development, complete with its own microgrid back up electricity storage system, vegetable garden and electric vehicle charging station.
South Gippsland Shire Council has approved the building of Lourdes Garden Estate; 12 two-bedroom and three-bedroom units at 124 Gabriella Way, by sustainable living builder, iCUE Homes, in line with the council’s sustainability vision.
iCUE Homes managing director, Colin Ure, said that for home buyers grappling with soaring electricity prices and unaffordable housing, particularly those aged over 55 who want to downsize, the timing couldn’t be better.
“We’ve put a lot of thought into our design, so home owners can live independent of traditional electricity infrastructure.
“From solar panels and batteries to 12 to 48-volt wiring for running low voltage appliances, we tick all the boxes.”
Most importantly, iCUE Homes start with sustainable design principles beginning with optimised orientation and layout; insulated wall, floor and roof panels; and natural light and ventilation. This ensures the house is energy efficient and comfortable to live in all year round, to minimise the need for heating and cooling in the first instance.
“A Queensland University of Technology study found that homes built with the materials iCUE Homes uses could cut the use of energy by at least 48 per cent compared to traditional brick and mortar homes,” Mr Ure said.
“Sustainability drives our design process, consequently iCUE Homes act as thermal shells protecting residents from extremes in heat and cold.”
And while home owners can look forward to saying goodbye to electricity bills forever, there is also a back-up energy supply so that they can live free of the fear of black outs.
The microgrid is an on-site solar power storage facility that can despatch energy within the development if required by residents – a first for residential developments in Australia.
As Sue, the owner of a bespoke iCUE Home in Marysville explains, it is about treading more lightly on the earth for our future generations.
“When I decided to build a home to retire to in Marysville, I wanted a house that was bushfire resistant, comfortable, low maintenance and energy efficient.
“With my iCUE home, I have everything on my wishlist plus no more electricity bill shock, a water tank to minimise my water bills, and a garden,” she said.
Mr Ure said this was community living at its best – living affordably and in harmony with the environment while embedding the spirit of community with shared spaces.
“Major components are prefabricated, flat packed delivered, then constructed mostly without the need for heavy lifting equipment or wide load transportation,” he said.
“We’re minimising waste, production time and environmental impact through our prefabrication process.”
As Melbourne’s population continues to rapidly expand and regional areas such as Korumburra that are near major amenities are forecast to grow 38 per cent by 2036, expect to see more sustainable iCUE Homes in regions within two hours from major capital cities across Australia.
When Colin Ure embarked on a small project to build a self-contained unit in the Yarra Valley, he couldn’t find a suitable kit home that was eco-friendly, functional and affordable. So, he decided to design his own – and iCUE Homes was born.
Scouring the breadth of manufacturing innovation over several years, Colin selected a collection of simple yet outstanding products, from foundations to ceiling, to create a kit home that was superior to any other building system; one that was easy to build, required minimal suppliers and topped the ratings for insulation, bushfire and wind load.
After setting up an R&D factory in Healesville to build and test a ‘Warung’ – an open plan self-contained cottage – Colin designed a home that could be manufactured using automation and robotics, putting in place the vision to establish a manufacturing plant that could pre-fabricate home designs of any shape or size.
Following the success of building small bespoke off grid houses, iCUE Homes has now moved towards harnessing the power of community living, to consolidate the excess electricity produced from its rooftops, to benefit its residents. Korumburra is its first residential development.
• Minimal use of concrete
• Adjustable steel sub-floor truss system – easily bolts to foundation
• Double glazed windows
• Insulated floor and roof panels
• Underfloor insulation
• Low energy lighting and appliances
• BAL (Bush Attach Levels) 40 rating – the highest level.