CEO and Managing Director, Sekisui House Australia
Sekisui House ensures all its communities across Australia are based on the company’s four key urban development values: the environment, the economy, the community and residential amenity.
Sekisui House is world-renowned for its sustainable approach to building design, with its carbon-neutral ‘Green First ZERO’ homes forming a large percentage of its business in Japan. But while green buildings will certainly be key to Sekisui House’s sustainability success at Ecco Ripley, the company has gone beyond an environmental conception of what it means to be green when designing this flagship community.
“For us, sustainability isn’t just a buzz word – it means ‘built to last’,” explains Sekisui House Australia CEO and Managing Director, Toru Abe.
Communities built to last are those that have economic viability and long term liveability at the heart of their design, and Sekisui House has gone to great lengths to ‘future-proof’ its community – both economically and socially - through access to technology.
Ecco Ripley will enable future residents to actively participate in the global ‘knowledge economy’ by providing fibre optic cabling into all 4,000 of its homes. As a result, residents will be able to participate in local, national and global business communities via some of the fastest and most stable internet network infrastructure in the country.
In the shorter term, Ecco Ripley will provide a significant boost to the existing local economy, with 12,000 jobs expected to be created over the life of the project.
“By achieving its Green Star – Communities rating, Ecco Ripley demonstrates a commitment not only to environmental responsibility, but to the economic future and social wellbeing of the community,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.
“This Green Star rating is proof for the residents and businesses of Ecco Ripley that they are living, working and investing in a community that is designed for prosperity, longevity and liveability.”
For us, sustainability isn’t just a buzz word – it means ‘built to last’
Sekisui House has made a commitment that a quarter of the housing at Ecco Ripley will be affordable for first home buyers and key workers. A further 10 per cent of the community will be allocated for accessible accommodation and five per cent for social housing.
“For a town or city to run well, you need people of all ages doing all types of jobs – teachers, nurses, emergency services workers, hospitality professionals and students. The commitment to affordable and accessible housing is an important step in securing Ecco Ripley as an economically-sustainable and socially-diverse community,” says Ms Madew.
Culture and place-making are also at the heart of Ecco Ripley’s design, with Sekisui House to develop an arts and culture program that will enhance the local identity of the Ripley Valley, and attract visitors.
“Providing housing diversity creates a community of all ages and family types –families, singles, couples, empty-nesters, and first home buyers.
“We want to create a vibrant and active community and to do this we need to engage with residents and people living in the Ripley Valley. Developing programs that encourage participation and foster residents’ interests is a great way to do this and helps to build strong relationships and partnerships within the community.”
The project team has worked hard to ensure that Ecco Ripley is in tune with the natural environment of southern Queensland. Large scale tree planting is underway, with more than 2,000 native trees and shrubs and 93,000 native groundcover species already planted in the first 12 months.
The community will feature more than 76 hectares of recreation parks and gardens, providing residents with plenty of space to interact and enjoy nature. The design of the community promotes healthy and active lifestyles, with amenities and parklands strategically located within walking distance of homes and provision made for fresh food to be grown and purchased locally.
“Sekisui House aims to set new benchmarks for community development both here in Australia and globally. Ecco Ripley will be a smart and sustainable community that fosters a harmonious relationship between the natural environment and the bricks and mortar of its residents’ homes,” Mr Abe concludes.