Not-For-Profit Horizon Housing Company is drawing on the European co-housing model to introduce a new type of affordable, eco-friendly development to the Gold Coast market.
The co-housing concept, which involves a group of private dwellings supplemented by shared domestic facilities, continues to gain popularity in Europe with more than 25,000 communities constructed.
However, the idea is relatively new in Australia and Horizon Housing’s Eko:Bode project in Broadbeach is one of the first of its kind in South East Queensland.
Horizon Housing chief executive Jason Cubit says Eko:Bode’s innovative co-housing design makes it different to living in a share house or complex, and rising mortgage and rent costs could see the development model become more popular.
“Co-housing differs from renting a room in a private home or paying body corporate to have access to leisure facilities like a pool or gymnasium,” he said.
“Eko:Bode comprises eight separate studio style rooms, so each tenant has their own private, fully-furnished dwelling, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and living area.
“However, tenants will share domestic facilities including a main kitchen, laundry, lounge area, vegetable garden, courtyard, bikes and possibly vehicles, giving them the opportunity to work together to create a community-oriented lifestyle.
“By building more compact apartments serviced by larger communal amenities, we were able to reduce construction costs and we expect to see a significant cut back on water and energy consumption through the inclusion of innovative “green” features.
“In fact, Eko:Bode will be the Gold Coast’s first ‘net zero ongoing energy & water use” development – with solar panels and rain tanks we anticipate the project will be self-sufficient in terms of water and energy supply, and the vegetable garden and bikes will further add to the building’s eco-credentials.”
Mr Cubit said tenants at Eko:Bode could save thousands.
“Tenants receive a 25 per cent reduction on rent under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, with apartments starting from just $220 per week. In addition, they should benefit from savings on living costs if they choose to utilise all the communal facilities,” he said.
“I expect to see strong interest from those who are relocating to the Gold Coast and looking for work, and are seeking low maintenance, short term accommodation while they get settled.
“The accommodation would also be suitable for Hospitality Workers looking to save money before they move into the next phase of their working life.”
Eko:Bode is due for completion around August / September.
It is the first boutique development in Australia to receive a full Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) EnviroDevelopment accreditation, which is only given to projects which are considered leaders in sustainability.
Eko:Bode is being developed by HHC in partnership with the Gold Coast City Council, Westpac Bank, Koho, Rivergum Homes and a number of private local sponsors, including James Hardie, Aqua Clarus, A&L Windows, ecolour and Laminex.
Horizon Housing have acknowledged the support of these sponsors who have assisted in ensuring EKO:BODE boasts a suite of environmental features including; 6kw of solar power which will be fed into the grid, large rainwater tanks and water treatment and recycled and sustainable products to be used in construction and furnishings.