Family Sought for Mirvac’s ‘House with No Bills’


Developer Mirvac is seeking a Melbourne family of four to live in a high-tech home at Cheltenham as part of its study into affordable energy efficient homes.

The developer is building a high-tech prototype suburban house in its $130 million Jack Road development in Cheltenham. It will house a family for a year-long experiment, which aims to free home owners from the nightmare of soaring energy bills.

[Related reading: Cheltenham Development Ready for Residents as Sales Settle]

The three-bedroom “home with no bills” will look, feel and operate the same as a typical home, with sustainable features and monitoring designed to have minimal impact on everyday living.

Mirvac chief executive, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, said the company was excited to launch the project and find the right family to participate in the ground-breaking study.

“This experiment is very exciting for both our potential family and Mirvac, as it will help us towards our goal of bringing bill-free sustainable living to the Australian market at an affordable price,” she said.

“Our prototype house will help us discover how long it will take for the technological innovations to reduce energy consumption and bills to the point where they pay for themselves.”

The house will reduce its reliance on grid electricity with innovations including an Evergen solar and battery system featuring CSIRO-developed intelligent energy management, Schneider electric smart home automation including environmental sensors controlling internal temperatures, along with passive solar design elements, increased roof insulation, use of LED lighting, and energy-efficient appliances.

[Related reading: 5 Minutes with Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz]

To target zero energy bills, the technology and smart controls offer ‘energy load management,’ enabling more energy to be used when the sun is shining, and excess energy to be stored for use in peak times, while smart meters and monitoring systems will help the residents keep track of where and how their energy is used.

A control house will be used for comparison and the entire project will be tracked as part of a larger research piece to understand how average families consume energy and how the house performs.

Mirvac hopes the financial benefit of living without rent and with lower energy bills for a year will help a deserving family save enough money to buy their own home at the end of the experiment.

The company is looking for a Melbourne family with two children (any age from infant to 18 years), with one parent employed in a key worker sector, such as health or education. The family must be willing to live continuously in the house for the duration of the year-long experiment.

“This is an important experiment to understand how can we deliver a house with no bills to market at a price that works for Australian families,” Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

Between now and 2050, an estimated two million new homes are expected to be built in Victoria.

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