Community Housing Ltd (CHL), together with project partner Bega Eco Neighbourhood Development Inc, has launched a highly innovative ecologically sustainable ten unit development in Bega NSW.

Famous for its cheese, the Bega township can now point to another world-class product developed with heavy input from the local community.

The development, which is known as the Bega Eco Neighbourhood Development (BEND), is built on an environmentally sensitive sub-division adjacent to and above the river flats on the north edge of the Bega township.

CHL has constructed ten dwellings along the north facing slope that has views over the river flats. The organisation had to comply with stringent development guidelines which include setbacks, car parking areas and services infrastructure.

In addition to being a highly energy and water efficient property, BEND also has a pedestrian route leading to the town centre, which is close enough to allow residents to walk to shops and other local services, minimising car use.

“These are quality built, environmentally sustainable affordable homes that offer a wonderful new living environment to the tenants,” says Steve Bevington, CHL’s Managing Director. “These homes will be a long term resource for the Bega community that will add to the level of much needed affordable housing stock in the area.”

In addition to constructing the properties, CHL will also be responsible for property and tenancy management. As tenants join the neighbourhood, they are required to join the BEST (Bega Ecological and Sustainable Tenancies) in a co-operative style arrangement to decide on such issues as future tenant selection, participation in work bees to maintain communal open space, collective decision making, and supporting the environmental principles upon which BEND has been developed.

The $2.5 million development was funded through a combination of State and Federal Government funds, a contribution by CHL, and a 10% commitment from BEND Inc. who are raising funds mainly through donations from the local community.

“This is another example of the effective local partnerships that CHL engages in to help build the stock of affordable housing across the State,” says Mr. Bevington. We look forward to many more partnerships like this in the future.


The CHL designed and constructed units have a wide range of features that set international benchmarks for Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) in affordable housing:

  • The property includes infrastructure that treats grey water through reed beds and filters and returns the water for household garden use
  • Each unit includes a composting toilet (Clivus Multrum type), and the dwellings are designed with raised floors to include an under floor space for the toilet chamber with external access to allow for maintenance.
  • Passive solar design informed the design process, with north facing living areas with slab-on-ground and generous glazing to warm the space in winter, and eaves and sun screens to the windows to prevent overheating in summer.
    • The slab-on-ground technique used for six of the units is an important part of creating a stable internal thermal environment throughout the year, and minimising the heating/cooling requirements.
    • The common walls are of masonry construction and are full height which adds thermal mass to the units, and provides good acoustic and thermal separation between units
  • The external wall cladding consists of aerated autoclaved concrete panels (Hebel panels) which provides insulation to the external walls of the dwellings.
    • The units are clad with lightweight materials consisting of sustainably harvested radial cut hardwood weatherboards, or external grade pine plywood.
  • All units include on-site water collection and storage in underground 90,000L concrete water tanks located on the north side of the units that provides all the water requirements for the units.
    • An added benefit is that the concrete ‘lid’ of the tanks is trafficable and provides a level outdoor terrace area for the residents in the sunny part of the sites, adjacent to the living areas.
    • Electric boosted solar hot water services to all units.
  • Internal fitouts include ‘low-allergy’ natural materials such as:
    • ‘Marmoleum’ – a cork and linseed oil based robust and low-maintenance lino floor covering
    • Clear finished plywood flooring to upper floors.
    • Concrete floors are finished with a wax stain product, which is low maintenance and allows solar gain during the cooler months.
  • Garden areas for the units are located on the lower part of the sites in an area that is designated ‘flood prone’ according to 100 year flood level frequency. This area is on the sunny north facing slope, and has been planted with selected food producing plants to plans prepared by CHL in consultation with the BEND community.


Community Housing Limited (CHL) is a national and international provider of affordable housing. Its mission is ‘to provide affordable and sustainable housing for all’. CHL is a registered Housing organisation in Victoria and an approved growth provider in NSW, Tasmania, WA and SA. Its international operations are located in Timor Leste, Chile, and most recently India. CHL provides an end-to-end integrated operation that manages the entire housing lifecycle. This includes securing funding, locating suitable land, project managing, designing and constructing, then managing the tenancy for the long term which includes collecting rents and maintaining the property.


For more information on CHL, contact:

Preeti Daga

Coordinator – Marketing and Communications

t   03 9856 0021 m 0430 555 241

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