Sanctuary 39 out now

Designed as a student project for an international green building competition, this reimagined Kiwi ‘bach’ has found its permanent place on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s part of a ‘Shacks & Studios’ special in this issue: five great builds under 75 square metres.

Our efforts to wrench the Australian housing sector onto a sustainable footing are entwined with climate, energy and, increasingly, housing affordability. Decent policies in these areas remain elusive and the politics more divisive than ever. Thankfully, we’re not completely without options.

In Sanctuary 39, Tom Nockolds highlights the 90+ community energy projects already operating around the country. And we share stories of how savvy consumers are preparing their homes for the inevitable transitions in energy. In particular, we focus on shacks and studios under 75 square metres that have gone back to basics with design and materials. A Tassie backyard shack doubles as a residence and writer’s studio, a one-bedroom Kiwi ‘bach’ expands like a Tardis to sleep visitors, and prefab construction saves on build time for a rural retreat in Victoria. With clever floor plans, small structures like these could also be adapted to become affordable secondary dwellings.

Owner-built homes are a rare treat for Sanctuary and we’ve enjoyed the chance to feature several in this issue, including a rustic recycled container cabin in Queensland and a sleek family home built on a modest budget in the ACT. We also visit architecturally designed projects. The True North House is a remarkable response to an unusually shaped site. From the inside, its curvaceous form makes it feel like “looking out through a water drop, or hiding inside a musical instrument”. The Cube renovation reached a 7 Star energy rating for the whole house – already an impressive achievement for an old cottage – and the owners continue to monitor its performance to see how much further they can go. We wish them luck.


We investigate your right to repair the products you own and look into solar access laws; there are new legal precedents being set all over Australia as more solar households head to court to test the right to the sun in the suburbs.

Anna Cumming helps you keep cosy through winter with a guide to high-performance curtains, blinds and shutters and Mara Ripani encourages you to think more creatively about fence design. If you’ve already pushed the boundaries in this area we’d love to hear from you!

Sanctuary 39 is on its way to letterboxes and newsagencies near you, full of advice and inspiration for sustainable living and building.

And as always, we feature a wide range of innovative sustainable products and design tips for your home.

We welcome your feedback. Perhaps there’s something else you would you like to see in Sanctuary? Let us know on FacebookTwitter or email.

Join our team: CEO

Join our team: CEO

Renew is looking to appoint a collaborative leader as CEO to support a healthy culture and reach strategic goals. We are seeking a candidate who is a respected leader within the sustainability sector.

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