SGCH and CEFC team up on “game changing” sustainable community housing initiative

An affordable housing development being built to eight-start NatHERS standards by community housing provider SGCH.

Community housing provider SGCH will build 300 social and affordable housing units to high standards of energy efficiency, thanks to $130 million in debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The new homes, which will be built in south and south-western Sydney, are part of a successful bid to the NSW’s government’s recently announced Social and Affordable Housing Fund, a $1.1 billion pool of seed capital expected to deliver 2200 new homes.

With the CEFC finance, the 300 homes will be built to a seven star NatHERS standard, and will include features such as increased insulation, better glazing, LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, smart meters and solar panels.

SGCH Group chief executive Scott Langford said the finance was a “game changer” that would allow tenants to better manage energy costs.

“The finance we’ve arranged with the CEFC enables us to build beyond the minimum building standard required and deliver energy efficient housing that is sustainable and reduces energy costs for the tenants,” Mr Langford said.

It would also result in long-term savings for SGCH as the landlord and environmental benefits for the community through a reduced carbon footprint, he said.

CEFC has before partnered with SGCH on sustainable affordable housing, with $40 million going towards 200 energy efficiency units in 2015.

CEFC community and affordable housing lead Victoria Adams said the combined finance commitments represented the CEFC’s “largest financial investment in an Australian community housing provider to date, supporting the development of approximately 500 energy-efficient homes for low income families”.

“The marginal additional cost of the energy efficiency investment will have long-term and ongoing benefits for the tenants, particularly through lower energy bills,” she said.

Mr Langford said the CEFC’s investment showed community housing providers could attract significant capital when the right enabling environment was created by government.

“We applaud the innovative thinking of the NSW Government in establishing the SAHF, which will deliver real benefits for the people of NSW, offering sustainable social, economic and environmental outcomes,” he said.

Ms Adams said there was further potential for the CEFC to get involved in the community housing sector.

“We look forward to working with other community housing providers to deliver the same benefits as further projects emerge.”

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