WGV at White Gum Valley

Design Feature
Type of Project
Western Australia

WGV at White Gum Valley is an innovative residential development precinct that will set a new standard for sustainable living in Western Australia. The project commenced in 2010, with a vision to ‘create a unique and innovative dwelling design that will contribute to the eclectic character of the White Gum Valley neighbourhood and enhance the sense of place while providing a 21st Century living environment for the next generation of home owners’. Community consultation workshops began in 2011 and a plan was formulated that balanced higher density living with single residential homes. The Local Structure Planning was completed in 2015.

Setting a new standard for sustainable living

Development of the WGV subdivision by DevelopmentWA (formerly LandCorp) was completed in 2016. Construction of homes and apartments by lot buyers is expected to be completed in 2019. The development has been designed to reduce non-renewable energy use and carbon emissions and additionally improve the health and wellbeing of the community through various design features, such as:

  • An emphasis on outdoor environments and active travel
  • The activation of public open spaces to support social capital and generate a safe space for the community to utilise
  • Environmentally responsible initiatives, such as the use of recycled materials, waste minimisation, and responding to the local climate when developing landscapes
  • Encouraging local healthy food production with various growing initiatives to support a healthy built food environment

WGV is a 2.2-hectare mixed typology residential precinct, featuring a combination of detached houses, town houses and apartments. The homes each include private and shared outdoor areas, practical storage, generous ceiling heights, and a range of environmentally sustainable initiatives to ensure a minimum seven-star energy efficiency rating for each building. For example, the precinct layout is oriented to allow most homes to be north facing allowing for a solar passive orientation. Individual dwelling features include solar power, water efficient fixtures and appliances, plus energy efficient electrical appliances, lighting solutions and heating and cooling systems. All apartment dwellings will have access to batteries to store renewable energy generated during the day. To support sustainable initiatives in the community, a funding package of up to $10,000 for eligible single lot buyers will support the installation of solar power, rainwater tank and tree planted within the lot.

Community Spaces at WGV preserve a sense of place for locals

The wider development includes a stormwater retention system that contributes to soil moisture, plant health and tree growth; a community bore irrigation system that will serve both public and private lots within the precinct; rainwater harvesting systems; plumbed rainwater tanks providing a supply of non-drinkable water for toilet flushing and washing machines, and low water use landscaping. The development has additionally been designed to support environmentally responsible and healthy travel alternatives, such as the inclusion of a network of walking and bike paths, electric car recharging facilities, end-of-use facilities such as bike parking and is within close proximity to local bus routes.

WGV responds to the local environment through integration of native vegetation.
WGV responds to the local environment through integration of native vegetation.

The thoughtful climate-responsive design of the landscape includes features that support biodiversity, food production, and the preservation of the history of White Gum Valley. They also aim to reduce mains water consumption by 70 per cent. For example, the plant selection includes deciduous trees to provide shade in summer and offer light in winter. It also includes edible, native and ornamental street trees. With up to 30 per cent of street trees being edible, the development will facilitate a healthy built food environment.

The project has worked to support and promote the existing context of the area. Namely, DevelopmentWA, Access Housing and Fremantle-based cooperative Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives (SHAC) have collaborated to produce a community housing development for local artists and their families. This is intended to support the City of Fremantle’s creative industry and reinforce a strong sense of culture and place. In addition, the development has employed initiatives to strengthen community connection, such as vibrant public open spaces, activities, gardens, and opportunities for active recreation. Tenants within the SHAC development must be eligible for the National Rental Affordability Scheme which provides a rental subsidy.

Arial View of the WGV project

As a DevelopmentWA ‘Innovation Through Demonstration’ project, the development will act as the subject of various research programs to explore approaches to urban densification, affordable housing and sustainable development. Projects include:

  • A four-year research project funded by DevelopmentWA , City of Fremantle, the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, Josh Byrne and Associates and Curtin University which will monitor water and energy efficiency and technology performance to be shared with the community.
  • A shared strata solar power and battery storage technology trial.

Project Team 

  • DevelopmentWA  
  • City of Fremantle
  • Josh Byrne & Associates
  • Curtin University
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Tabec Engineers
  • Urbis
  • Water Corporation
  • CRC for Low Carbon Living
  • CRC for Water Sensitive Cities
  • Australian Renewable Energy Authority
  • Access Housing

Project Cost 

Approximately $60 Million

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