May 22, 2023

Greening an SDA Home: How Energy Efficient Home Designs Can Benefit People With Disability & the Environment

As a prospective property investor, it’s important to understand the benefits that your NDIS investment is making to not only the life of an Australian with disability, but also the environment.

In this article, we discuss how energy-efficient SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation) home designs can offer several benefits for both the environment and people with disability.

How can energy efficiency in an SDA home help the environment and the resident?

There are a number of ways that incorporating energy efficiency into your SDA design can have multiple benefits to residents and the environment.

Reduced energy consumption

Energy-efficient SDA homes are designed to minimise energy consumption through various strategies, such as efficient insulation, solar panels, LED lighting, high-performance windows, and energy-efficient appliances. By using less energy for heating, cooling, and electricity, these homes contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.

The National Construction Code (NCC) sets out minimum energy efficiency standards for all new home builds in Australia.

Lower utility bills

Energy-efficient SDA homes can result in significant cost savings for occupants by reducing their energy bills. Lower energy usage means less money spent on heating, cooling, and electricity, allowing residents to allocate those savings to other essential needs or engage in lifestyle activities.

Improved comfort and indoor air quality

SDA homes designed with energy efficiency in mind often have better insulation, air sealing, and ventilation systems. This leads to improved indoor air quality by reducing the entry of pollutants and allergens from the outside.

Additionally, consistent temperatures and reduced drafts enhance occupant comfort, which is especially crucial for individuals with disability, who may have specific temperature or respiratory needs.

Many studies have shown that natural light helps to improve mood and increase happiness. So it’s little wonder that by creating living areas with good design to allow for natural light, the mood and overall well-being of participants is likely to improve.

Enhanced accessibility and adaptability

SDA homes are designed to be accessible and adaptable for people with disability. Energy-efficient design principles can be integrated seamlessly into these homes, promoting sustainability without compromising accessibility features. For example, incorporating features like energy-efficient appliances, smart home technologies, and user-friendly controls can make it easier for people with disability to manage and control their living environment effectively.

Support for independent living

Energy-efficient SDA homes can facilitate independent living for people with disability by incorporating assistive technology and smart home features. These technologies can help individuals control lighting, temperature, security, and other aspects of their home environment, promoting greater autonomy and reducing reliance on external assistance.

Positive social impact

The adoption of energy-efficient SDA home designs demonstrates a commitment to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. This can have a positive social impact by raising awareness and inspiring others to follow suit.

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What are the SDA design standards?

The SDA design standard establishes the design criteria and minimum requirements that must be met by newly built properties aiming to be enrolled in the NDIS. These standards serve the purpose of clarifying the design requirements for SDA properties and promoting confidence and compliance among SDA providers.

To apply for dwelling enrolment, it is mandatory to include a certification of compliance with the SDA design standard, which can only be issued by accredited SDA assessors. Adhering to these design standards and making the project attractive to NDIS participants is essential for achieving successful certification.

The four design categories for SDA properties are:

  • Improved liveability
  • Fully accessible
  • Robust
  • High physical support

Depending on which design category you intend to build your SDA investment property under, will affect your home design and the available options to achieve energy efficiency.

Can NDIS participants access a concession on their energy bills?

Yes, NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) participants in Australia may be eligible to access concessions on their energy bills. The availability of concessions and the specific eligibility criteria can vary depending on the state or territory where the participant resides. Each state and territory government in Australia manages its own concessions program and sets their own minimum energy efficiency standards.

To determine the concessions available and the eligibility requirements, NDIS participants should contact their state or territory government’s department responsible for concessions or energy. They can provide information on the range of concessions available, including those related to energy bills.

It’s important to note that eligibility for concessions is not solely based on NDIS participation but may consider factors such as income, residency, disability status, and other criteria. Therefore, individuals should contact the relevant government department to inquire about the specific concessions they may be eligible for based on their circumstances.

Ensuring adequate funding for a green SDA home

Energy-efficient homes take planning and thorough consideration. Investing in an NDIS SDA property is no exception. A well-designed SDA home can benefit both the residents of your investment property and the environment (not to mention the potential benefits to you as an investor!).

To access experienced industry professionals in NDIS investment properties, with resources such as SDA assessors, SDA builders and SDA architects to help you go green with your specialist disability accommodation investment, book a call with Apollo Investment.

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Get in touch with our team for more NDIS Property Investment information now.

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