Can you live comfortably and sustainably at the same time?
There’s a common belief in property development that sustainability refers to solar panels, short showers, and conserving energy at all costs. While a love for the environment is fundamental to the building of a Sekisui House master-planned community, the team believes that ‘sustainability’ is about the holistic longevity of our homes.
“Houses or apartments should be designed and built to provide comfort with peace of mind that they can be handed on to the next generation,” says Takao Sawai, Sekisui House’s Head of Corporate Marketing.
“Homes that are not loved by residents increase the chances of a diminished sustainability outcome. This is why we pay significant attention to making sure our homes and communities are safe, comfortable and secure.”
Sekisui House Chief Executive Officer Toru Abe says when some developers talk about sustainable housing, they are usually referring to integrating elements like eco-friendly materials or energy efficient appliances.
“But while environmental initiatives are a significant consideration in our business, it is only one part of sustainable development,” Abe says.
“To Sekisui House, sustainability means lasting value. This is achieved through the basic principles of reducing the developer’s impact on the environment, providing lasting comfort and security for residents, perpetuating and nurturing local communities, and enhancing a community’s economic value. Our approach to sustainability is holistic, viewed from an environmental, social, economic and residential perspective,” he says.
Sawai adds that Sekisui House’s SHAWOOD range of homes are constructed with a high level of internal air-tightness that enables greater temperature stability and control. This results in improved air-conditioning efficiency and greater comfort for residents. Often home building is about creating the best looking home while considering a residents’ immediate or short-term needs. But Sekisui House believes that to achieve lasting comfort alongside sustainability, there’s nothing more important than considering residents’ needs as they may change in the future.
“For example, we try to minimise small steps in our homes as they can cause domestic accidents and will be costly to renovate if wheelchair access or other accessibility features are required in the future,” Sawai says.
Australians are beginning to prioritise sustainability, with ongoing education playing a big part in this. But these days, some solutions that were once considered out of reach for the average Australian home - like solar power and battery energy storage - have become more accessible and affordable than ever before.
But at the heart of it all, Abe says, is a concept that perhaps still remains a little abstract to Australians: that of a ‘home for life’.
“A home for life is designed to nurture a healthy lifestyle, is comfortable all year round, connects you with nature and can be adapted over time without any major reconstruction,” Abe says.
“We design our homes so that residents can forget about energy issues or environmental problems in their daily life, and to feel that they are living in a place of peace.”