The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced an investment in a specialist disability accommodation (SDA) platform, which will accelerate the development of tailored green housing solutions for people living with a disability.
The CEFC has committed $87 million on behalf of the Australian Government, as a cornerstone equity investor in the SDA platform, created and managed by Macquarie Asset Management. The CEFC will also contribute its expertise to the platform to deliver energy-efficient features.
The homes are customised for people with high physical support needs which, with the CEFC’s support, will be combined with sustainable technology and features to monitor and help lower their carbon footprint.
CEFC CEO, Ian Learmonth, said this will be a landmark development for a sector that has experienced poorer energy efficiency and higher energy costs.
“Building more sustainable specialist disability housing means lower energy bills and more comfortable homes, improving financial, health and social outcomes for tenants, as well as reducing carbon emissions,” Mr Learmonth said.
“This is a great example of prioritising innovative opportunities to grow Australia’s low-emissions economy. We are proud to help extend the important benefits of sustainable housing to tenants in disability accommodation and help drive down Australia’s carbon emissions.”
Macquarie Asset Management Executive Director, Ben Barry, said: “In 2017, in response to government identifying a chronic shortage, we built expertise and asset management capability in new-build specialist disability accommodation.”
“Since that time, working with SDA provider partners we have enabled the creation of residences that harness technologies and contemporary support models to allow people with disabilities to have greater choice in where and how they live.”
“We are delighted to be taking the next step in this journey by working with the CEFC to help even more people with disabilities access housing that is both high quality and energy-efficient,” Mr Barry said.
“The CEFC investment is a vote of confidence in specialist disability accommodation as a social infrastructure asset class, and we look forward to working with them to further increase the supply of this much-needed accommodation across Australia.”
Houses to be developed by the platform will target an average of at least 7.5 stars under the Nationwide Housing Energy Rating System (NatHERS), with location-specific features that will include high-performing glass, insulated floors, walls and ceilings, window shading, energy-efficient air conditioning, ceiling fans and solar panels.
These measures will deliver a material carbon benefit over the lifetime of the dwellings, with the platform aiming to be carbon neutral within two years.
According to the NDIS , there is significant demand for quality housing in the disability sector. Tenants with a disability may face financial barriers to funding modification for both their disability and to implementing energy efficiency measures in their homes.
Mr Learmonth said: “Our investment in the Macquarie SDA platform ensures that both energy efficiency measures and disability needs are considered in the housing design and will make sustainable housing available to more Australians.”
The SDA housing is designed for people with a wide range of support requirements. Tenancy selection procedures will be implemented in consultation with SDA providers, Supported Independent Living providers and other support professionals, so residents are appropriately matched with accommodation that suits their needs and preferences.
The built environment accounts for about a quarter of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions . With more than half the buildings built today projected to be standing in 2050, building design and construction offers an important pathway toward decarbonisation.
The CEFC has a strong record of supporting community housing providers who invest in energy-efficient and renewable energy solutions. CEFC investments already span a diverse range of residential options, including build-to-rent housing, masterplanned communities, seniors living and student accommodation.
 NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation: Pathway to a mature market, Summer Foundation, PWC. 2017