As we unveiled our exciting new initiative ‘Arden Electrified’ this week, we caught up with Director Dean Morrison to learn more about Arden’s latest innovation in sustainable home building.
Arden is the first volume builder to bring electrified and carbon neutral homes to the wider market, an exciting new standard for sustainable living and a huge step towards making this more accessible to home buyers.
“We were driven to prove that the average Melburnian can have a fully electric home that’s carbon neutral, and that’s an affordable and accessible option for them,” says Dean, reflecting on the motivation to move towards electrification as a business.
Pointing to the shift that’s happened around electric vehicles, Dean notes that electric homes are the natural progression.
“Electrification used to sound expensive, but there’s a growing understanding of what this actually means and an increasing interest from our clients for this to be a part of their homes.”
Arden Electrified sees the business committing to fully electric homes at no extra cost in the Aspire range, with no reliance on gas for heating, water or appliances. Beginning in 2022, all Aspire homes will not only be fully electric, but both Aspire and Lumina range homes will also be 100% carbon neutral – meaning that the average household will use minimal energy than what the house produces.
“In a typical house, you’d have gas ducted heating, gas hot water and a gas cooktop – we’ve removed all of those elements from the house, so there’s no need for a gas line,” says Dean.
“Everything becomes electric. Your cooking uses induction technology, which is much faster to heat up; and we’ve already been using electric rangehoods and electric wall ovens for quite some time.”
In addition to electric appliances, water heating is achieved through heat pump technology, and solar power plays a larger role in providing the home with energy.
“Solar panels are now 6kw in Aspire homes, which has allowed us to put in reverse cycle heating and cooling,” notes Dean. This singular unit is able to heat the house during winter and keep it cool during summer, offering year-round comfort from the one system.
“60% of homes being built in metro Melbourne are double storey, so naturally they can get quite hot. With the reverse cycle cooling, you can add different zones throughout the house – one for upstairs, one for your bedrooms, however you want to do it – so you can maintain comfort in every room of your house, in every season.”
While this kind of heating and cooling is offered by other builders as a several-thousand-dollar upgrade, it was important for Arden to absorb these costs to keep electrification accessible.
“We’re taking a leap of faith – just as we did a few years ago with solar power and battery technology, in moving to the new era of sustainability in home building and being able to offer that to our clients as an inclusion,” Dean says.
These cost savings aren’t just evident in the build price, however – fully electric homes offer significant energy savings, year on year.
When fully electrified, the Milan 29 MK3 offsets more than 100% of its emissions, with an additional 1.96 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions offset on top of the home’s usage throughout the year. Sustainability Victoria’s Whole-of-Home Pilot Tool projects annual energy costs at just $630, with the home’s solar panels offsetting $1,196 in costs across heating and cooling, lighting and appliances.
Savings carry across to larger homes, too. Living in the fully electrified Votivo 43 MK3 could see energy costs as low as the equivalent of $70 a month, with $1,230 in savings across the year.
In addition, gas bills become redundant – offering Melburnians further savings each year that they enjoy their fully electric home.
“Some estates now don’t even offer gas connections, so the sooner our industry embraces this, the better it will be for everyone,” says Dean.
Partnering with aligned suppliers has been crucial to bring Arden Electrified to market. Close partnerships have been built with Rinnai for the hot water service; RACV Solar for energy saving solar panels; Fisher & Paykel for cooking appliances; and Haier for heating and cooling.
“It’s exciting for us to help our clients realise the benefits of building a more sustainable home, and gives us good opportunities to partner with suppliers and land developers who share our values, too,” says Dean of the project. Arden Electrified is available now across all homes in our Aspire range, with carbon neutral homes available across both the Aspire and Lumina ranges – book an appointment with our New Home Consultants to learn more about this exciting new offering.