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Buyers zero in on going green

By Luke O'Kelly

WHEN it comes to house hunting, energy efficiency is creeping its way up the list of top selling points, according to Ray White West End’s Luke O’Kelly.

Mr O’Kelly said buyers were becoming more aware of the concept of a sustainable home and the positive effect on the environment, but their biggest motivation towards turning green was the cost-saving factor.

“Houses which are more environmentally friendly are becoming more popular with buyers,” Mr O’Kelly said.

“It is a demographic in itself. It’s definitely one of those things where if the property has, for example, solar panels and runs efficiently then it ticks a box for the buyer. It’s not necessarily a requirement but it definitely adds value and buyers are willing to pay more if the home is energy efficient, particularly in terms of pool heaters and hot water systems.”

Mr O’Kelly is taking 12 Rosebery St, Highgate Hill to auction on Saturday, February 9 at 11am.

Seller Richard Brown purchased the inner-city family home 15 years ago, when he was looking for a house in the sought after Brisbane State High School catchment.

The professor of mechanical engineering quickly went about improving the property’s environmental footprint.

“I strategically thought about the different steps to improve the home including adding a pool, new carport and decks,” Mr Brown said.

“I planted bamboo which grows really quickly so once a year at the end of summer I trim the bamboo to get the sun on the north, and then I let it grow to shade the house in spring and summer. First I improved the insulation in the roof, then put a solar PV system on the roof in conjunction with the heat pump to heat the hot water, and another heat pump to heat the pool all year round. We also used to heat water with gas but it costs quite a lot of money to have gas attached, so I made the whole thing electric and, with the solar panels, we save a lot of money.”

Mr Brown said installing air conditioning wasn’t necessary because of the measures he’s taken to cool the home naturally, measures which have also significantly reduced the numbers on his family’s quarterly electricity invoices.

“Our energy bill is relatively low per year,” he said.

“Looking at a graph which compares our household usage with others in the area, our’s is much lower. We are half the usage of other people in the area. That’s probably saving us $500 to $600 a year.”

Which is a substantial amount for the Browns, who are keen to downsize now their two children have finished

The three-storey home is surrounded by greenery yet only 3kms from the CBD.

Each level has its own deck that runs the length of the home with views of the surrounding bushland and large pool.

The five-bedroom, three-bathroom house also includes separate living and dining areas, a family room, play room, study, lower level kitchenette, workshop and storeroom.

“The house is unique to Highgate Hill as it is so close to the CBD but looks into bushland and greenery,” Mr O’Kelly said.

“Looking back from the house you would not think you were less than five kilometres from the CBD. Most people coming through the house are wanting to be in the State High catchment and plan to stay there for their children’s entire schooling lives.”

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