Sanctuary 50 out now: 15 years of sustainable design

Built with hempcrete and other natural materials, the enticing house featured on this issue's cover will provide a healthy, comfortable and low-bills retirement for a Margaret River couple. Image: Ange Wall
Welcome to our 50th issue! Take a look at the past and future of sustainable and beautiful Australian design.

Back in 2005, Sanctuary was launched to showcase beautiful Australian homes with cutting-edge sustainability features that few were then considering. The magazine’s goal was to inspire designers and homeowners to bring these innovations from the margins into the mainstream, and 15 years on, that vision is closer than ever to becoming a reality. Finding homes that fit our strict criteria for sustainability used to be a challenge; now, we choose from dozens of sustainable and aesthetically inspiring houses in just about every corner of the country.

In this milestone issue, we take a look back at the history of energy-efficient housing in Australia since Sanctuary was first published, and revisit three of our favourite ahead-of-their-time houses profiled in the early years. We also look to the future, featuring a collection of homes at the cutting edge of current trends in sustainable design: there’s a Passive House built for treechangers in central Victoria, and a Sydney renovation that used energy modelling to fine-tune the design for maximum thermal performance. An airy Queensland house makes good use of prefabricated construction and innovative composite materials, and a pair of Melbourne townhouses was designed for considered urban density and neighbourhood connectedness. On our cover, this enticing build near Margaret River, WA, uses hempcrete and other natural materials for a home that’s healthy for both people and planet.

While there is much to celebrate, this issue is coming at a challenging time; a catastrophic summer of bushfires and extreme weather only highlights the urgency of reducing the environmental impact of our lifestyles and our homes. In ‘On the drawing board’, sustainable designer Dick Clarke considers the lessons to be learned from just one of the houses lost to the summer’s fires.

Take a look inside Sanctuary 50.


Also in this issue:

Electric vehicles are rapidly becoming more available and more affordable: we look at how to plan ahead for an EV when you’re building or renovating, even if you’re not yet quite ready to buy one. Ecologist Sarah Bekessy and her colleagues explain what you can do to promote biodiversity in your home design, from green roofs and nesting cavities to innovations such as bird-friendly glass. We investigate how modern libraries are demonstrating both environmental and social sustainability in their design, and in Design Workshop, a young couple on the Sunshine Coast get some advice on reusing building materials. And to mark our 50th issue, we take the opportunity to catch up with the formidable lineup of editors who shaped Sanctuary over its first 15 years.

Sanctuary 50 is on its way to letterboxes and newsagents near you, full of advice and inspiration for sustainable living and building. You can buy a copy online here.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram or by email.

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