Five minutes with Bradley Hall

Blackwood Design, VIC. Chatham Homes Green Star - Homes v1

29 Sep 2022

Energy efficient homes that are cleaner for the environment while reducing bill shock are increasingly top-of-mind for Australia's home buyers, with this week's PropTrack Energy Efficient Housing Report sharing that 55% of respondents believe energy efficiency is extremely important. Also this week, Green Star Homes early access partner, Chatham Homes, achieved Australia’s first Green Star Homes certification for its all-electric, energy efficient Blackwood display home in Ballarat. We spoke to managing director, Bradley Hall, to find out how Chatham Homes is responding to consumer calls for homes that are healthy, comfortable and energy efficient.

1. Sustainable homes are just one part of Chatham Homes' environmental, social, governance (ESG) journey. What else are you doing in this area?

While Chatham Homes is the centre piece of our construction group and its primary strategic focus is achieving the highest possible standard of output for residential construction product, we realise that this can only be achieved through wholesale systemic influence and change as to how the residential construction sector operates.

Under our ESG charter, we are implementing on supply chain innovation through the application of strict performance requirements of materials suppliers and trades. Challenging construction methodology is also contingent to our future growth with Chatham Homes soon to become an early adopter of 3DCP (3-Dimensional Construction Printing) for residential outcomes particularly in the high demand sectors of public housing and disaster relief.

Bradley Hall, Managing Director, Chatham Homes

2. Why has Chatham Homes chosen the Green Star Homes path?

Prior to the acquisition of Chatham Homes, a year of due diligence and market intelligence gathering was undertaken. The company was acquired as a vehicle to drive a new residential construction paradigm through environmental consideration, sustainable supply chain management, resilient home construction and improved occupant health outcomes in the volume construction sector.

Review of the NatHERS rating, National Construction Code (NCC) standards and Passive House standard left us unsatisfied as each only attended to certain aspects of our new market driven strategy. Mid 2019 (prior to the acquisition of Chatham Homes) we were introduced to the GBCA Green Star standard and immediately realised it was and is the most progressive and broad reaching standard that will ensure residential construction practice can begin to meet the myriad future demands of occupants and structures alike. After purchasing the company in December 2019, we signed as an early access partner to Green Star Homes in January 2020.

3. The Blackwood display home is stylish, it's wrapped in a striking façade and has all the creature comforts we've come to expect in a modern home. It's also Green Star rated. Can you take us through the standout sustainability features that make this home different?

How much can I write in response to this question? Seriously though, to keep things brief the following is a list of the key sustainability features that assisted in the Blackwood achieving Green Star Homes certification, 8.2 NatHERS, and HIA Green Smart Display Home of the year 2022;

  • 5.2kW Solar PV and 7.5kW Sonnen battery that runs the house 95% off grid 
  • Fully electric home – i.e. gas is capped at the street
  • Triple glazed, uPVC window and door systems 
  • Stiebel Eltron heat pump and Sensitive Choice mechanical ventilation system
  • Delos 3 stage mains water filtration system
  • Delos HEPA atmosphere filter operation 6 full home air exchanges per hour
  • Kerakoll low VOC grouts, waterproofing, adhesives, and substrates 
  • Native vegetation for landscaping prescribing low water consumption 
  • Blow door tests conducted to ensure sub 5 times air exchange standard (4.45 ACH achieved)
  • Low VOC paints applied throughout the house
  • 4-5 WELS rated plumbing and tap solutions applied throughout the house

4. Another point of difference is that this home can be built at volume - why is this important?

Chatham Homes is challenging the residential construction industry to fundamentally address and reverse its systemic flaws. We operate in an industry that is effectively insolvent from a commercial perspective but more importantly redundant from a standards and construction outcomes perspective. Proving that a volume build project can be undertaken at a reasonable contract cost and term while delivering exceptional performance standards and aesthetic is critical; because the industry is a laggard regarding innovation and can only be convinced of the potential through empirical evidence. The Blackwood display project satisfies this requirement and as an example, Chatham Homes is currently contracted to build this exact home in multiple new locations since launching.

5. What's next for future Green Star and Chatham Homes?

Achieving Green Star certification for the Blackwood in Ballarat is certainly a milestone for the Chatham Homes team. However, it is the beginning of a long-term relationship with the GBCA and Green Star. We are currently determining which designs Chatham Homes will apply for Green Star Designed ratings, while we define how the Green Star standard becomes a systemic practice within the company so we can ultimately achieve 100% adoption of the standard in the coming years. Separate to this, Chatham Homes has commenced educating and promoting the standard to suppliers, trades, and other builders to drive understanding and uptake.

When you choose a Green Star Home, you’re not only making a choice to go easy on the environment, but you’re also choosing lower bills and a healthier, more comfortable life for your family, every day. Find out more about Green Star Homes here.

Read more about the Blackwood home here