Crace, ACT. Smart Thinking in the Suburbs.****4 stars

Crace: Canberra’s First HIA Greensmart Suburb.


Stopped by Crace to check out what’s happening as Canberra is quite an innovative place. Here’s a map. It’s a new suburb and is not just about building Sustainable houses with an Energy Efficiency Rating of 5 or 6 but about  the whole suburb’s overall design  including tranport, trees, open spaces and water management. In the past, the vast majority of housing in Australia has simply been a waste of space with little or no thought given to orientation and sustainable design. Before, we didn’t know any better but now we still want to be warm in winter and cool in summer wherever we are. Here’s a brochure about Crace’s Sustainability. The challenge then is whether to renovate or build without breaking the bank. Crace Display Village has nine Houses from six different builders so there’s plenty to give you food for thought.

             Pleasantly surprised by the houses on display as I’d rather expected them to be ugly for some reason, maybe because the Terraces look a little ‘challenging’. On the whole the houses were contemporary, light and airy but still rather huge with the tendency to 4 bedrooms or so but it’s all open to negotiation and custom design. A Northern Orientation was vital to the design and successful functioning of the houses so gave them that light open feel and most had some kind of courtyard. The yards were very small but common green spaces are an essential part of the overall design and a common feature elsewhere in Canberra.


Nearby is the fantastic new Gungalin Library combined with a Senior High School for Years 10, 11 & 12 at Gungahlin College and the Canberra Institute of Tafe Learning Centre all right next to the Gungahlin shopping centre. Hopefully, everything is on your doorstep and there’s little reason to venture to the city unless you work there.

At the moment there’s even a Housing Affordability Fund offering about $15,000 rebate for eligible (?) houses at Crace which should help towards the cost of being GreenSmart. Even found an article about the relationship of Energy Efficiency Rating and House Price in the ACT. Why can’t we do this in Sydney, at an affordable price and still be close to public transport? Are we asking too much?

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