First impressions of The Burcham will no doubt focus on the elegant conversion of the 1918-built Wrigley chewing gum factory. But out of sight, in every apartment and even in the beautifully landscaped gardens, sustainability technology and design is the hidden appeal of this progressive development.
No detail has been overlooked in the project’s drive for sustainability.
50,000 kwh per annum of solar energy is captured on site through a photovaltic solar system. In addition, a PV thermal hot water system will heat up to 50% of the Burcham’s expected hot water requirements.
Solar energy might be good for the environment, but it’s also good for the hip pocket, as it lowers electricity costs.
Ed Horton, Director of developers Stable Group, explained, “We will have an embedded energy network, which means lower energy costs for the body corporate and individual apartments." In the same vein, each apartment will have a Smart Meter, which will allow residents to manage their energy consumption, and therefore save on energy costs.
Some of the solar-heated hot water will feed into water tanks for hydronic heating in the heritage building. Hydronic heating, along with good ventilation from high ceilings and ceiling fans, is central to achieving comfortable living temperatures in the apartments, and will lessen the need for more energy-intensive temperature control.
Water is harvested and conserved at The Burcham. A converted rooftop water tank will hold harvested rainwater, which can then be used for the gardens and flushing toilets.
Residents who have an interest in sustainable eating will be able to grow their own herbs and vegetables in Wrigley Common, the communal garden at the heart of the complex. The rooftop garden will be a place for communal living, with space for cooking and eating, and an outdoor cinema. Composting on the rooftop will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
The apartments are designed to make the most of natural light, and will be lit with LED lighting, which uses at least 75% less energy, and lasts 25 times longer than standard lighting.
The Burcham is probably the only residential development in Sydney enabling charging of electric cars using solar-generated electricity. The project has four electric car-charging bays. “We can claim that you are charging your car from the sun. There’s no one else doing that,” said Horton.
The Burcham is located close to Green Square, where $9 billion is being spent on infrastructure, including on public transport, libraries, parks, pools, schools, and childcare. The residents of The Burcham will be within an easy walk of these facilities.
Chris Nunn, Head of Sustainability Property at AMP Capital, said “The Burcham has comprehensively integrated sustainability considerations into the design. The building attributes are there to support anyone who wants to live a more sustainable lifestyle.”
Nunn hopes that the Burcham could provide a template for other developments. “I hope the success of the Burcham will inspire other residential developers to follow suit. I believe there is market demand for sustainable residential apartments that is largely untapped. In the same way that major vehicle manufacturers are now giving consumers the choice to reduce their running costs and do the right thing for the planet by offering hybrid and electric cars, we need more developments like this, so people have the option to choose a sustainable apartment.”
The Burcham is a showcase for the ways we can all live more sustainable lives. Let’s hope we see more like it.