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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1312 ..

We also propose planning for microclimate management. This is about energy efficiency, but outside our houses rather than inside. It is well known that we can not only create a more amenable outdoor space by managing microclimates but also increase housing efficiency by reducing the outdoor temperature on hot days through the clever use of trees, greenery and shading—those very natural factors that can also make for a more pleasant living environment.

We are also interested in the consideration of integrating suburban-level infrastructure for the use of direct geothermal heat transfer technology for the heating and cooling of houses and public buildings, including large facilities such as shopping centres. We believe that we should investigate the possibilities of efficiency gains available through the building of a whole suburb on a greenfield site and planning for geothermal right at the start, because it is technology that is infinitely cheaper if you do it at the beginning. It is technology that is proven—that is used even here in Canberra in places such as the Geoscience Australia building just past Narrabundah. These are proven technologies that have the potential to deliver the energy savings that we need in our future.

With regard to water, we are aware that the government has already included in its plans for Molonglo the development of urban stormwater ponds throughout the area to be used as non-potable water resources for irrigating recreational areas and that there are opportunities, using water sustainable urban design principles, to reuse grey water for irrigation and toilet flushing for individual dwellings. We remain committed to the idea of a non-potable water supply for each household in the area to reduce the long-term demand on Canberra’s potable water supply. Studies have indicated that water efficiency measures can be done at little or no additional cost and can save around 25,000 litres of water per household per year.

The premise of including a third pipeline early in the development of the new suburb is to avoid the costs of expensive retrofitting after suburbs have already been built. Best practice for the development of a modern urban water management system includes integration of these principles at the outset of planning for new suburbs.

We do acknowledge—we have flagged this with the government—that there are options aside from a third pipeline reticulating non-potable water from the treatment works, such as reticulating water from other collection ponds, the utilisation of grey water on site for gardens and systems that treat grey water on site, allowing for more flexible usage. There are a range of options here. We are pleased to note that the government has indicated that there will be 200 houses in Wright and Coombs that will have reticulated grey water from the urban pond system and also that an easement for a third pipeline will be included in the plans.

But the challenge to deliver non-potable water to all residents in Canberra, particularly here in Molonglo where we have the chance to get it right from the start, remains a very real challenge, one that I am excited by in the sense that I think there are a range of emerging technologies and options that make this very viable and give us a great opportunity, in what is essentially a dry inland city, to use one of our most precious resources in the best possible way we can.

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