Sustainable House Day success!

With almost 30,000 visits to the 206 houses on show, we couldn’t have hoped for a more successful Sustainable House Day 2017. We check in with some of the homeowners to find out how their day went.

Sustainable House Day is over for another year, and the numbers are in: with 206 houses opening their doors around Australia and 29,049 individual visits, it was easily our most successful event yet. Some homeowners chose to collect a small entry fee for charity, and $12,060 was raised for a range of environmental and local community causes.

But of course the true impact of the day is not really measured in numbers, but in inspiring experiences of great sustainable homes and peer-to-peer learning, and for the homeowners, the satisfaction of helping others on their own journeys to comfortable, low-impact, low-bill living. In Sanctuary 40, we profiled nine of the standout houses opening on the day. We checked in with some of them after the dust settled, and asked how things went.

Outside Canberra, Ali and Ann had “an exhausting, but good day”, with 67 people coming to see their new home designed to Passive House principles. “We are now well rehearsed on all the sustainable features of our house!” laughs Ali.

Clare from Clearwind in Glenhope, Victoria, loved showing people her incredible garden. Image: Claudine Collins

Clare from Clearwind in Glenhope, Victoria, loved showing people her incredible garden. Image: Claudine Collins

In Lynton, Adelaide, Margaret and Charles and their architect Bohdan Dorniak conducted tours for 270 people through their urban strawbale home, built with natural materials and all-electric appliances. “The people who came were asking really good questions and many knew lots about the issues. It was really lovely to be informing young couples with babies attached, about how to have a healthy house when they can finally afford to build,” says Margaret.

Over in Fremantle, homeowners Greg and Alice found Sustainable House Day “an empowering and gratifying experience”. They had their architect, their stonemason and eight volunteers on hand to help field questions about their owner-built labour of love, built largely from recycled materials. “We both worked extremely hard on this project and to keep it only for ourselves to enjoy seems selfish, so we get great pleasure out of seeing it ignite other people’s imaginations,” says Greg. They’ve opened their home for Sustainable House Day before, when it was half-completed, and said it was more relaxed this year, despite a whopping 371 people through the doors. “We made up information placards on the house’s features for the first time this year which proved to be a big hit.”

One of the most popular homes that opened was MM house, designed by Luke Middleton from EME Design for his own family.

One of the most popular homes that opened was MM house, designed by Luke Middleton from EME Design for his own family.

For Shelley and Luke, in Canberra, it was “so much fun to fill our house with people who understand and have aspirations to create similar environments for themselves”; although Shelley says it was also slightly adrenaline-inducing! Open for only two hours on the day, they still welcomed 200 people through their house, built by carpenter Luke using as many reclaimed and recycled materials as possible. Another 100 visited the garden, which features an innovative whole-block water harvesting system that stores water in trenches to be wicked up by the plants. “We just had so much absolutely lovely positive feedback about our home,” says Shelley. “It seems people really identified with the simplicity of the actual design of the house and the warm, personal interiors. They liked the fact that it wasn’t too unobtainable, and it struck a balance between extreme passive house theory and liveable functionality and affordability.”

If you missed it this year, Sustainable House Day will be back in September 2018 to offer you the chance to see best-practice sustainable design and material use in action, and to ask questions of the people who are already living in the kind of house you might be dreaming of. And you can read more about all of these houses on the Sustainable House Day website, in Sanctuary 40 and here on the Sanctuary website.


Feature image: Bruce Carrick gives a tour of his beautiful sub-tropical home in Brisbane during this year’s Sustainable House Day. We feature this house in Sanctuary 40 and online here

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Cover of Issue 41
You can read more about Sustainable House Day success! in Issue 41 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Sanctuary: modern green homes is Australia’s premier magazine dedicated to sustainable home design. More...

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Did You Know?

Composting toilets can be installed in boats, motor-homes, regular homes and sheds built on concrete slabs.

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