Net Zero Carbon ESD design for apartments in Fitzroy – Case study

The need

82 Westgarth St. is a 611m2 site, with a 24 apartment development proposal in Fitzroy, (Victoria, Australia). In 2019, LID Consulting were engaged to provide ESD advice to the developers – whose aim was to produce the the first net zero carbon emissions project in the City of Yarra, and also produce a building that is future proofed for impending zero carbon building and transport expectations.

Project team

The solution

The LID Consulting team provided a comprehensive ESD report that demonstrated a path to net zero carbon emissions in the operation of the building by: Ensuring no gas onsite; pushing for a more energy efficient building fabric and efficient appliances; substantial solar power; and offsetting electricity consumption either via a power purchase agreement or an embedded network where residents choose a renewable energy retailer that offsets the electricity for them.

In addition the development facilitates net zero emissions for transport – ie addressing another sector that is responsible for a large proportion of our community’s carbon emissions. To commit to net zero emissions transport the development will include the backbone infrastructure to ensure every car space can easily be fitted out with an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. There is no need for owners corporation members agreement, EV owners will be able to purchase their own charging station, and cable from the installed EV distribution board, along the provided EV cable trays to their parking bay. In addition good bicycle parking facilities are provided.


ESD and WMP plan for Westgarth St., Fitzroy


Jarrah Property

Sinclair Brook (PMs)

What We Did

Provided comprehensive ESD report focussing on a net zero carbon outcome.

Net zero carbon emissions

In May 2020 the City of Yarra announced a bold new planning scheme amendment that – if ratified – will require all new commercial and residential developments to have zero net carbon emissions to win planning approval. Sinclair Brook were ahead of the game, pushing for superior sustainability in this development.

Heating and cooling via reverse cycle air-conditioning, heat pump hot water units and electric induction cooking meant fossil fuel gas was not plumbed to the site. A more energy efficient building fabric meant lower heating and cooling costs, brought about by reducing glazing on the top two floors by 40%, the inclusion of double glazing throughout, and increases in insulation. Beyond the development apartment average energy efficiency ratings of 7.1 stars, additional measures include no power/data points in external walls and a pre-plastering inspection of installed insulation to reduce the chance of gaps in external insulation. An efficient regenerative drive lift and a prominent open staircase accessing all floors, efficient lighting, heating, cooling, dishwashers and 12kW of PV solar electricity panels are also proposed.

net zero carbon in yarra city council
daylight modelling in an Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) report

Daylight modelling for comfort as well as energy efficiency

The design of the built form through cross ventilation and natural daylight also contributes to reduced use of mechanical heating and cooling, and in turn reduced energy consumption. Just as importantly this good natural ventilation and daylight also contribute to healthy and comfortable indoor environments.

Additional healthy living practices committed to included: daylight modelling to maximise daylight levels, locks enabling lower level sliding windows to be locked open safely at night for overnight ventilation; minimal off-gassing from low VOC paints, adhesives and engineered wood products.

Future proofing for food organics collection waste

A significant part of the Waste Management Plan (WMP) we provided included provisions for organic food recycling in preparation for potential future food collection programs in the Council area. At the time of writing, Yarra City Council was trialling food waste kerbside collections for residents but had no requirement for food separation. Designing space for future bins storage is a way of future proofing for waste management practices. Our WMP provided additional comprehensive recommendations on all aspects on residential waste management.

composting organic waste for a waste management plan (WMP) report
net zero carbon emissions in yarra city council

Better outcomes as a result of early engagement

In this project the developer was proactive in terms of environmentally sustainable outcomes and engaged LID Consulting relatively early in the design process. Our experience shows that where the developers and architects are interested in better environmental performance buildings from the outset, their projects generally have better planning approval outcomes and require less rework at the later stages.

Our Process 

Our comprehensive research draws on years of experience developing ESD solutions for apartments. In this particular case our team was also able to draw on energy retailing experience. Our final report not only demonstrates best practice energy performance, water efficiency, indoor environment quality, stormwater management, sustainable transport, waste management and urban ecology – but it exceeds mandatory Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) requirements for this type of residential development.

The Outcome

At time of writing, this development is at the planning approval stage with the City of Yarra. If approved, it will be one of the first net zero compliant developments in the City of Yarra.

If you are interested in ESD plans, net zero carbon plans or waste management plans that deliver smart sustainable solutions please give us a call. We generally provide quotes within 24 hours.