With an aim of creating a benchmark project that leaves a positive legacy, Orana by Balcon Group has been designed with sustainability and longevity in mind.
Once complete the project will include over 4,000 new homes, making it the largest masterplanned community in the City of Casey in Victoria, a factor that heightens the impact this project will have on the local community.
“A project of this scale will have a profound influence on the lives of many people and it is critical that Orana becomes a benchmark project with a positive legacy – both in terms of its environmental performance and the strength of the new community it supports,” Balcon Group General Manager Jason Shaw said.
Mr Shaw said Balcon Group takes responsibility for sustainability very seriously and that is why they chose to certify Orana under EnviroDevelopment, with the project ultimately achieving a 6 leaf certification.
EnviroDevelopment is a scientifically-based branding system designed to make it easier for purchasers to recognise, and thereby select, more environmentally sustainable homes and lifestyles. Certification is based on accreditation in 6-leaves: Ecosystems, Waste, Energy, Materials, Water and Community.
“EnviroDevelopment provides a framework that enables informed and considered decision-making on all aspects of a development project,” Mr Shaw said. “It puts sustainability at the centre of project decisions from daily operational matters through to long-term project strategy.
“EnviroDevelopment accreditation also provides a platform to promote sustainable development and hopefully educate and inspire others to do the same.
“The UDIA has a strong and reputable brand and this provides external validation to the sustainability initiatives at Orana.”
Among the sustainability initiatives on offer at Orana, Mr Shaw highlighted the Urban Forest Strategy as one of the initiatives deserving of particular merit.
The Urban Forest Strategy aims to achieve 30% tree canopy cover in streets and public spaces, which Mr Shaw said was being achieved by some major transformations in urban and engineering design in partnership with the City of Casey. The first of Orana’s modified “green streets” will be completed this year.
An initiative at Orana that meets the EnviroDevelopment criteria around community, is the Orana Community Place, a temporary community facility, also delivered in collaboration with the City of Casey.
Under this initiative, a residential home in the Orana Stage 1 has been designed to serve as a temporary community space that can be used by the Council to run a diverse program of community-building activities including yoga, new parent groups, book clubs and cooking classes.
The Orana Community Place opened soon after the first residents moved into Orana with the two-storey building set to revert to a residential home when a permanent purpose-built facility is delivered approximately five years from now.
According to Mr Shaw the EnviroDevelopment program criteria guided and shaped all aspects of the Orana project from high-level master planning through to the detailed design of streets and parks.
“It has also influenced our approach to materials selection and procurement,” Mr Shaw said. “From an operational perspective, we try to incorporate sustainable themes and practices into community events and activities.”
He said the certification had also been a key factor in the marketing efforts for the project.
“Balcon has received great support from the UDIA team in regards to marketing collateral and technical support,” he said. “We try to promote EnviroDevelopment as much as possible and have plans to increase the level of communication as more initiatives are delivered on the ground.”
Since launching in 2020 over 1,000 lots have already been sold and developed with a further 3,000 homes set to be delivered over the next 10 years in addition to five parks, a primary school and community/recreational facilities.
In addition to having access to a range of inclusions designed to enhance the lives of residents, Mr Shaw said the links with EnviroDevelopment provided additional benefits.
“Residents benefit from living in an EnviroDevelopment accredited community because they feel that they are part of something positive,” he said.
“Sustainability at the community level can also be a shared goal that brings people together and also encourages people to think more about what they can do at a household or individual level. We believe being part of a sustainable community generally makes people happier and healthier.
“Overall, the reception to EnviroDevelopment from residents has been very positive.
“Environmental awareness and the need for urgent action on climate change is now a mainstream view and people want to see things done at all levels in society.
“I sense that Orana residents feel proud to be living in a 6-leaf EnviroDevelopment community.”
This story was originally published in The Urbanist magazine, an official publication of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA). It has been edited for republication by The Property Tribune.
The Property Tribune thanks the UDIA WA for the opportunity to republish the work, and share thought leadership in relation to urban development and community creation with our readers.
Read the original copy of The Urbanist by heading to UDIA WA’s website under the News tab.