Sanctuary 44 out now – step inside Australia’s most sustainable homes

Sanctuary 44 is here, turning the spotlight on climate-ready house design and featuring nine homes opening for Sustainable House Day this year.

Australia is renowned for its large, leaky houses that are freezing in winter and baking hot during summer heatwaves. And through our energy bills, many of us are now paying a high price for this legacy of poor building quality. What’s frustrating is that this scenario is almost entirely preventable. We already know that investing around $10,000 to up-spec a new dwelling to perform 1 Star better than the typical 6 Star design not only improves occupant health and comfort, but can unlock thousands in bill savings every year. Yet when the economics seem so compelling, why don’t more of us do this? The good news is that, lately, more of us do!

The latest CSIRO ‘what we build’ data, covering the 12 months to May 2018, show that while 59 per cent of new homes did the bare basics for thermal performance, almost 10 per cent rated at 7 Star or above; which is about where the evidence suggests the base standard for all houses should be set. Okay, 90 per cent of building envelopes still rated below this; however, taking a glass ‘41 per cent’ full view, four in 10 home approvals in that period rated 6.1 Stars or higher, which is a step up on the regulated minimum. Yes, there’s a long way to go, but at least more of us are making smarter design decisions early in the construction lifecycle where it really counts. In this issue, assessor Erika Bartak helps you get more from a house energy rating in ‘Star-stuck?’.

As always, the houses profiled in Sanctuary are among the best performing in the country and the projects in this issue are no exception, plus they’re all opening to the public for national Sustainable House Day 2018. Don’t miss the opportunity to step inside the 200+ houses on show this year. Speaking to homeowners and designers who have chosen to go above and beyond will give you great ideas and insights into what’s possible for your next project. Register online to attend; hope to see you there.

Have a look inside Sanctuary 44

Also in this issue:
Dick Clarke reflects on the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) regulations ahead of the 10-year anniversary of Black Saturday. We introduce you to a brand new timber product that’s using a localised ‘chain of custody’ approach. And, Verity Campbell reports on the flourishing Tiny House movement – this formerly DIY community is starting to attract commercial and regulatory attention, and we’re watching with interest how it evolves. If you’re in the Brisbane area this Sustainable House Day, don’t miss the chance to visit the tiny house on our cover, built by Brisbane Tiny Houses.

Sanctuary 44 is now 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 by email.

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In Perth’s beachside Coogee, where a trend towards ever-larger houses on shrinking lot sizes is the norm, this family home is a striking anomaly.

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