1. The ‘Invisible’ house
While this 2014 Australian House of the Year doesn’t possess some of the traditional eco-features many other homes on this list possess (where’s the solar?!), its design makes the most of its natural environment.
Built into a hillside near the Jenolan Caves in NSW, the Peter Stutchbury-designed home, titled The Invisible House, strives to integrate seamlessly into its environment.
The structure is largely invisible upon arrival, but the north-east facing ‘back end’ employs large open windows to take advantage of natural light and the stunning vista.
Tucked into the land, the home and its inhabitants are protected from the vicious sun and winds that would plague any other home in this ridge-top situ.
The home is insulated from the elements, employing a mix of geothermal and hydronic heating under foot. Meanwhile, the doors and windows can be flung open to welcome in the breeze on any day it’s needed.
2. The Byron eco retreat
This unique property, dubbed Magnolia Palace, has gained a stellar reputation as an environmentally friendly retreat available through Airbnb. Now, it’s on the market for the next lucky owner.
This tropical retreat aims to provide energy, water and a farm of tropical fruits to its guests. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Its primary eco credentials include 60 solar panels and an 80,000 litre water tank to service the property. All of the home’s eight bedrooms takes full advantage of the light and breeze, and tiled floors and cross ventilation help it stay cool naturally.
While home to a self-sustaining veggie patch, it also has a small tropical fruit orchard at your disposal, with all the avocados and mangoes you desire.
3. A luxe home made from recycled materials
This four-bedroom home in Flinders, Victoria has a 7.5 National House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) score — proving its impressive eco credentials.
This eco home has a number of sustainable features, including recycled construction materials. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
To start, the walls and floor were made from recycled Blackbutt and Spotted Gum timber — so rest assured that few trees were harmed in the making of this property! It also features a bit of recycled brickwork.
Passive design and aspect mean you rarely have to touch the thermostat, unless you want a cosy fire in winter! Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
However, don’t think that a home made from recycled goods is by any means ‘patchy’. It was built to ensure none of the home’s impressive sustainability measures were obvious to the inhabitants.
Experience the benefits of a 9kW solar system, double glazed windows, a 10,000 litre water tank, passive design and a veggie garden, all woven into a stunning home.
4. A stylish eco village
Sometimes it takes a village to get the job done!
Eco villages are becoming a popular style of housing development, where residents can take advantage of communal sustainability features, from solar to EV charging stations and veggie patches.
Residents of The Vue Eco Village are presumed to be able to save 75% on their power bills. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
The Vue Eco Village in development near Lismore, NSW hopes its residents will enjoy sustainably designed homes, shared electric cars, a community orchard and more.
An example of a unit at The Vue eco village. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
The construction aims to maximise the sustainable use of resources, including using recycled building materials and minimising the environmental impact of the development, from construction through to the ongoing energy and water efficiency. In fact, the website claims residents will save up to 75% off normal power bills due to the sustainable design and energy independence.
5. An award-winning eco-Queenslander
From the street, this north Brisbane home appears to be a traditional Queenslander. The back, however, tells a whole other story.
Thanks to some architectural planning and a stunning renovation, the home was rejigged to create an energy-efficient and modern marvel.
Plenty of reclaimed materials were used in the construction of this unique home. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
The indoor-outdoor layout encourages plenty of airflow through the building. It also operates with the assistance of a rooftop solar panel system. Whether inside or out, you can also enjoy lovely, lush greenery, including plenty of native varietals.
This home makes luxury out of recycled materials. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
The design team also had a goal of saving and incorporating scrap building materials into the build, which you can see throughout.
Clever thinking like this is perhaps why it won a sustainable architecture award in 2015.
6. A sculptural Margaret River abode
This award-winning home is a sculptural, sustainable masterpiece. Designed by an architect and artist, you know it’s going to have some cool cred!
Passive cooling, plenty of light, recycled materials and excellent views are just a few features of the home. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
While the structure itself is impressive, it also has many green features, including a permaculture garden. With a sustainable supply of fresh fruit and veggies — plus the option for a few chooks — there’s technically enough food here to be totally self-sufficient.
Thanks to its rainwater capture and purifying systems, you can also gather your own drinking water and deploy waste water on the garden. To top it all off, it offers double glazing, hydronic floor heating. Lush!
This Margaret River sustainable home was built by an architect and an artist. Picture: realestate.com.au/sold
Interestingly, the home technically only has one bedroom. However, it does feature a guest caravan, an artist’s studio and a home office — so there’s no shortage on space.
The house also makes the best of its natural environment — it makes sure you have the very best views over the beautiful Margaret River valley.