SALT Torquay is a medium infill development of 81 self-build homes in the coastal community of Torquay. It’s the first development from Barwon Water, the largest statutory water authority in the state of Victoria, and is located on a former water reservoir.

Bioregional recognised SALT Torquay as a leader in One Planet Living in 2018 based on its One Planet Action Plan which outlined its plan for creating a sustainable community using our ten One Planet Living principles.

The peer review of its first One Planet Living Annual Review confirms its leadership recognition.

SALT Torquay’s vision of a better way to live

SALT Torquay is designed to enable residents to enjoy higher-quality, lower-cost, sustainable lives in a like-minded community featuring:

  • homes that use renewable energy to create low or zero energy bills
  • close amenities that are easily accessible by walking or cycling, including new infrastructure to support this
  • onsite electric vehicle charging
  • a new park with playground
  • a target of 35% affordable housing.

As a self-build development, Barwon Water creating the infrastructure for the community and will then use sustainable design guidance, incentives and engagement to encourage residents to create zero-carbon homes and enjoy sustainable lives.

With stage one of lot sales commencing, the infrastructure for the site is nearly in place, including sustainable water management with swales, raingardens and native planting. Barwon’s commitment to create One Planet Living is evident through its commitment to creating a great place to live, as well as engaging its residents with sustainability.

Providing One Planet Living guidance

Barwon is providing design guidance and sustainability incentives to create a community where people can live affordably in homes that have the potential to be near zero-carbon from occupancy.

The housing guidance states that all homes must:

  • be 100% electric-powered
  • have a minimum of 2.5kw of solar panels
  • reach a high standard of energy-efficiency according to Australia’s green star rating
  • use smart electricity and water meters, and rainwater harvesting for toilets, laundry and garden watering
  • provide electric vehicle charge point for all off-street carports/garages
  • leave 25% minimum of the site as a garden for food production and native planting.

Incentives include $5000 towards solar battery back-up and 250 native seedlings per home. Barwon Water is also building a 250kW solar array on the land opposite the estate to generate additional renewable energy.

As well as these design guidelines, Barwon Water will be putting in place a community facilitator to support and engage future residents, design review committee for feedback and support on zero-carbon house designs, community group engagement, builders’ inductions and a waste minimisation strategy for builders and residents.

Engaging with the local culture

Barwon Water has also created a cultural engagement strategy to cultivate a sense of respect for local places, people and nature. This has included consulting with the Wadawurrung Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP), identifying indigenous street names and creating educational signs about the native species.

This work has created a delightful design for the play space which references the native hooded plover, an endangered species that nests on the sand dunes (see header photo).

SALT Torquay is progressing well and on track, and if it achieves all its aims, it will create a truly One Planet Living community for residents, the first within a regional area.

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Suzette Jackson
Bioregional Australia Executive Director

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