Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz on equitable, sustainable homes
The Green Files is a unique CEFC series where we talk to the people making a difference in the race to net zero emissions.
Tuesday 24 August
When sustainability changes everything
Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz is the kind of person who thinks big and meets challenges head on. She runs one of Australia’s largest companies, has a host of additional professional leadership roles, has led the normalisation of flexible working, and is now leading the charge to ‘green’ our cities. In a storied career, she has also combined parenting with an abiding passion for innovation and sustainability, with her business earning multiple accolades along the way, both domestically and globally.
As the CEO and Managing Director of Mirvac, Susan has committed the leading Australian property group to ‘reimaging urban life’. How? By chasing industry-leading sustainability goals through it’s innovative ‘this changes everything’ strategy.
Revolutionising home construction
This dual passion for innovation and sustainability was on show when Susan unveiled Mirvac’s latest industry-first apartment – made from waste materials! The apartment has the potential to revolutionise home construction, as well as transform household waste into a valuable resource.
Susan believes big business can have a big impact. And when it comes to building communities, she says it is more than the bricks and mortar. It’s about leaving behind a positive legacy, founded on sustainability. As Susan notes:
Being a leader in sustainability is not only good for the environment and society – 99 times out of 100 you also create business value. It creates a sense of trust which in turn creates business opportunities.Susan Lloyd-HurwitzCEO and Managing Director, Mirvac
A shining example: LIV By Mirvac, which is one of Australia’s first build-to-rent residential projects. Developed by the Mirvac Australian Build-to-Rent Club (ABTRC), a specialist fund, LIV was created to address a very particular set of pain points.
Combining flexibility and security
“We knew that most Australians rent a home either temporarily or permanently, and that the rental experience was patchy at best,” Susan explains. “Generally, the rental experience was set up to benefit landlords, not tenants. We thought there has to be a better way to do this. A way that combines the flexibility of renting with the security of home ownership. And with LIV, that’s what we’re creating.”
Reflecting the innovative nature of the sustainable development, the CEFC has committed $63 million to the ABTRC, which it sees as a model for other residential developments.
LIV Indigo is the flagship LIV development at Sydney’s Olympic Park. The $200 million 315-apartment complex has sustainability features woven into the fabric of its design and construction.
These range from rooftop solar and LED lighting to double glazing, rainwater harvesting and energy efficient appliances. It enables all our tenants to live more sustainably without having to do, or pay, anything extra for the privilege.Susan Lloyd-HurwitzCEO and Managing Director, Mirvac
“Already, LIV Indigo is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared with the compliance standards of the National Construction Code, which results in lower energy bills for tenants.”
While LIV is proving a huge success, bringing it to market wasn’t easy. “When we were trying to raise third party capital to sit alongside us in this venture, it was tough,” says Susan. “We knew that Australian super funds love the build-to-rent sector and are already investing in it overseas. But they’re not set up to invest in a local experimental front runner, as it was unproven in our market.
“We’d been in general conversations with the CEFC all along and were delighted when they agreed to invest via the Build-to-Rent Club,” says Susan. “When you control how the whole residential tower operates, you can do so many positive things in terms of sustainability, whether it’s via energy efficiency or waste management. These were all things the CEFC believed in.”
Baking in sustainability
The sentiment is echoed by Ian Learmonth, CEO, CEFC. “With almost one third of Australians now in the long-term residential rental market, we think there’s a great opportunity for developers and owners to ‘bake in’ sustainability measures, right from the early planning stage. It’s about cutting emissions, with energy efficient buildings that can deliver enduring environmental benefits, to both owners and tenants."
We see this investment with Mirvac as a win for tenants, a win for Mirvac and the ABTRC investors and a win for the environment. We look forward to seeing this approach to sustainability extended across other residential developments.Ian LearmonthCEO, CEFC
Mirvac and the CEFC are also working together on the sustainability focused Woodlea masterplanned community in Victoria – with 76 energy efficient townhouses featuring solar PV and battery storage, smart energy monitoring systems and reverse cycle air conditioning. Woodlea is the largest masterplanned community in Australia to achieve accreditation in all six of the sustainability categories identified through the EnviroDevelopment scheme, which assesses high-level performance across ecosystems, water, energy, waste, materials and community.
And of course, there are big plans for LIV. Susan adds:
Thanks to investment from the CEFC we have proved our concept with LIV Indigo in Sydney Olympic Park. Now we are able to roll out LIV further afield. We currently have 2,200 apartments under construction, and six LIV locations planned across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.Susan Lloyd-HurwitzCEO and Managing Director, Mirvac
“There have been challenges along the way, but we believed that the strength of the customer promise on sustainability was so strong that we could overcome them. And we have.”