GOODBYE COST: RGD’s Ron Grabbe and Tracey Carbis rip up an electricity bill.
GOODBYE COST: RGD’s Ron Grabbe and Tracey Carbis rip up an electricity bill. Cade Mooney

Ron cuts power bill to $12

A MASSIVE reduction in his office electricity bill is just one reward for Sunshine Coast property developer Ron Grabbe's decision to step outside his comfort zone.

Ron Grabbe Development's office in The Edge at Wurtulla, which it built, has just received the Green Building Council Australia's Five Star Green Star rating for interiors, the first awarded outside Brisbane.

The 206sq m office is packed with environmentally friendly features that have reduced the power bill from $3000 to $12 a quarter.

The building's lighting is programmed to react to outside light, shutting down when not needed. A 3kw solar system delivers renewable energy to a system which shuts the office down completely at night.

After dark the building is lit only by security lighting. Air conditioning is zoned and functions only where and when it is required.

Design, technology and orientation are the keys to an outcome which the company now pursues with vigour in all its projects. It actively seeks out innovation in building construction, technology and materials in a bid to reduce the living costs of its residential developments.

The ultimate long-term goal is a building with no environmental footprint or at least to move towards that.

A regular visitor to Europe - his wife's family lives in Italy - Mr Grabbe said Germany, Italy and France were all producing buildings that were becoming almost self-sufficient for water, power and effluent treatment.

He said while he came to a "greener" way of thinking about construction with a degree of resistance simply because "anything out of the ordinary that changes the way we do things affects our comfort zone", he had become a passionate advocate when he understood the benefits.

He praises company project manager and landscape architect Tracey Carbis for the shift in thinking.

The RGD team now competes to find concepts with the potential to reduce environmental impact and living costs for end users. Its construction arm, RGC, now recycles 80% of waste from its projects.

Ultimately, though, Mr Grabbe says the company's approach is simply good business sense.


Five Star Green Star office 206sq m - $12 electricity bill per quarter

Sensor lights come on only when needed - shut down when no-one in room

3kw solar system

Water tanks catch rainwater for irrigation and toilets

Zoned air conditioning turned on only when and where needed

First five-star office accredited north of Brisbane

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