Ecco Ripley's sustainability credentials rate among nation's best

Date: 12 October 2021

While you may have heard of some of Ecco Ripley’s sustainability initiatives, did you know the community has been nationally recognised and accredited in this space?

In 2015, Ecco Ripley achieved a coveted 5 Star Green Star — Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), joining just four other large-scale property development projects around the country. The accreditation represents ‘Australian Excellence’ in master-planned communities and is awarded to those that demonstrate a commitment to economic, social and environmental responsibility.

As part of this robust process, communities are required to recertify every five years, and in 2020, Ecco Ripley had once again been accredited with 5 Stars — a first for a residential community in the Ripley region.

In fact, Ecco Ripley remains the only residential community in the region to be recognised at this standard based on best-practice benchmarks across governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.

Key initiatives that contributed to Ecco Ripley’s Green Star — Communities rating include:

Governance

  • Sustainability awareness: Ecco Ripley promotes sustainability awareness and education through key initiatives and events, while ensuring locals stay up-to-date through the community newsletter, social media channels and website. These initiatives aim to create a community guided by its natural surroundings and one that will last for generations to come.
  • Community participation and Governance: Ecco Ripley and nearby Ripley Town Centre offer a range of regular community events to keep the family entertained and engaged, including bootcamps in the park, outdoor playgroups, moonlight cinemas and the quarterly Ripley Town Centre Providore Markets.
  • Environmental management: To protect and support the local koala population at Ecco Ripley, Sekisui House Australia has in place a Koala Management Plan and Living with Koalas Lifestyle Guidelines, to ensure residents play a part in co-existing with this vulnerable species and other native animals in the area.

Liveability

  • Healthy and active living: Well-designed accessible walking paths encourage people to go outside and be surrounded by nature, contributing to a healthy and active lifestyle. Award-winning Pebbles Park and Faye Carr Park offer diverse amenity, including a dog off-leash area, and a range of sporting, exercise and fitness areas such as a cricket pitch, basketball court and playground, as recognised as part of the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design initiative. Spear Lily Park and Brooking Parklands provide additional expansive, green open space where local residents and neighbouring communities can socialise, interact and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Community development: Located at Ripley Town Centre, Minka Place is a shared community facility providing a range of activities that promote health, wellbeing, interaction and creativity among the community, with different activities for everyone from young children through to seniors and local community groups.
  • Cultural, heritage and identity: In the early planning stages for Ecco Ripley, research was conducted to identify any places of cultural significance in or around the site. Bundamba Creek, which surrounds the estate, was identified as an area of potential cultural significance, and as such has been maintained as a natural feature of the community. Remnant natural forest around the creek has been retained and extended throughout the estate, with Spear Lily Park paying homage to the site’s Indigenous history by incorporating Indigenous way-finding totem poles and a bush tucker trail for the community to learn and explore.
  • Walkable access to amenities and fresh food: Nearby, Ripley Town Centre offers easy access to local health and wellbeing services such as healthcare, free workshops, activities for children and fresh food.

Economic prosperity

  • Education and skills development: Ecco Ripley is positioned just over two kilometres from Ripley Valley State School and Ripley Valley State Secondary College. Also within a 10 kilometre radius is the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Ipswich campus and TAFE Queensland Ipswich campus which offer a range of courses and certifications. Childcare facilities are also nearby, with two more planned in the coming years. Sekisui House Australia has an ongoing partnership with Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ), providing local students the opportunity to experience the construction industry first-hand.
  • Employment and economic resilience: More than 12,000 jobs are expected to be created over the life of the Ecco Ripley project.
  • Digital infrastructure: All 4,000 Ecco Ripley homes will benefit from NBN and future technologies.
  • Affordability: Ecco Ripley provides affordable land, house and land options, and move-in ready homes designed and built by Shavida — Sekisui House Australia’s new future-focused home building brand. Ecco Ripley homes are well-suited to first home-buyers, providing more people the opportunity to enter the housing market.

Environment

  • Ecological value: More than 500,000 trees, plants and ground coverings have been planted at Ecco Ripley since 2009, while 20 per cent of the community is dedicated to green open space, with all homes located within 400 metres of parklands. Additional funds are invested for maintenance staff to look after these areas, on top of the Council-provided maintenance.
  • Heat Island Effect: Ecco Ripley has also been designed to mitigate the heat island effect — where an urban area is significantly warmer than its surrounds due to human activities — by prioritising the natural environment and minimising hard surfaces.
  • Waste management: Sekisui House Australia is committed to reducing waste, with each individual contractor working at Ecco Ripley required to have their own waste reduction plan.
  • Light pollution: The street lighting in Ecco Ripley has been designed to reduce light pollution and artificial light at night which can affect various animal species and ecosystems.
  • Materials: Sourcing of building materials such as steel and concrete has been through a responsible sourcing strategy to reduce the environmental impact of material consumption and use.
  • Sustainable Transport and Movement: An active transport plan, involving buses, on and off-road cycling and pedestrian footpaths, ensures residents aren’t restricted to transport by car.

Innovation

  • Ecco Ripley promotes innovative and sustainable housing solutions, which have been designed based on more than 30 years of research and development to enhance housing performance and maximise comfortable living. Several ready-built homes within the community include a unique wall system that features a nano-hydrophilic, self-cleaning coating which repels heat, and sheds dust and grime with a light shower of rain. Air tightness is also a key aspect of the wall system, with a comparable brick veneer home having an effective air leakage area equivalent to approximately one open window.