Hunter Valley marked out for sustainable city
A former mining district in NSW’s Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ) will be transformed into what is reported to be Australia’s healthiest and most sustainable city. The WELL-accredited community will be built following a deal between the HEZ and global wellness pioneer Delos worth in excess of $50 million.
More than 3500 homes and units, as well as more than 800 commercial and industrial buildings, are planned for the 3200 ha site, which will be delivered to International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) certified standards. Construction is expected to commence later this year, with the whole project anticipated to generate over 15,000 jobs across the next 10 years.
The wellness real-estate focus supports the HEZ’s broader sustainability vision, after the Hunter Investment Corporation unveiled a major proposal for the world’s largest grid-scale battery facility in the HEZ with a capacity of 1200 MW.
Hunter Investment Corporation Chairman Frank Cavasinni said the HEZ aimed to deliver a new benchmark for living and workplace standards that can evolve with the community to meet its future requirements.
“The Hunter Economic Zone will be the first sustainability-driven WELL community of its kind in Australia and will elevate modern living and workplace expectations,” Cavasinni said.
“After the past 12 months, people have never been more aware and educated around how the indoor environment can affect their health. As developers, we have a duty of care to deliver best-in-class infrastructure that promotes wellbeing and productivity for people spending time in our buildings.
“Our partnership with Delos Australia means all 4300 buildings within the development will be fitted with advanced wellness technologies and adhere to best practice processes that help to improve the health of every indoor space.”
All homes will feature Delos’s DARWIN Home Wellness ecosystem that enhances indoor settings by optimising air, light and water sources.
Indoor air-quality monitors and advanced HEPA air purification units will be fitted in residences to filter airborne pollutants including allergens, chemicals and potential carcinogenic particulates from bushfire smoke. Three-stage filtration units will remove sediment and potentially harmful elements like chlorine and heavy metals from water at the mains, ensuring the entire household is supplied with clean, quality water. Innovative circadian lighting installed in the new homes will mimic outdoor light patterns, passively promoting a better night’s sleep and improved energy and productivity during the day.
Every commercial building at the HEZ will be certified by the International WELL Building Institute, Delos’s wholly owned workplace wellness subsidiary that helps advance human health in commercial settings through infrastructure performance audits, design interventions and operational protocol vetting — all of which are verified by a third party.
Delos Australia President Bill Giannikos said his team is incredibly excited and eager to be embarking on a project of the HEZ’s scale that will be delivering vast public value for people living in and visiting the area.
“Our new partnership with the Hunter Economic Zone is a game changer for the development sector and will benefit the landmark project’s end users for generations to come,” Giannikos said.
“No matter what building you step into, people can rest assured that the indoor environment will be working hard to promote their health and wellbeing.
“Nothing of this scale has been undertaken in Australia before and we are proud to have partnered with the Hunter Investment Corporation to deliver the country’s largest WELL community.”
Around 70% of the HEZ is dedicated as a green buffer of forest and rural land. Community wellbeing will be promoted in the region’s great outdoors, with an integrated 18 km network of walking and bicycle tracks that intertwine through public amenities including a shopping complex, hospital, schools and community centre.
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