Sanctuary Issue 48

Issue highlights

  • Sustainable House Day: Australia’s largest open home event is happening again on 15 September 2019
  • Eight illuminating house profiles, including five opening for Sustainable House Day
  • How to find a green builder for your home project
  • Playspaces: the future of playground design
  • Our new series ‘On the drawing board’ with architect Matt Elkan
  • Star ratings: how are we building, and what needs to change?
  • The household gas dilemma: what’s the best fuel for lower bills and emissions?

House profiles

Designer demountable

This reuse project diverted two prefab office pods from landfill to create a holiday house on a low budget.

Investing in sustainability

Built on a project home budget, this Cairns investment property gets creative with design on a sloping site.

Outside the box

A prefab Melbourne home pushes the boundaries of Passive House design to capture views and sunlight.

Paying it forward

Having learned from their first home build, this Adelaide family has achieved a high-performing sustainable home that will work for them for the long term.

Shacking up

A compact and versatile home on the New South Wales mid-north coast makes the most of recycled and reclaimed materials.

Building community

In Western Australia, a new co-housing development boasts twelve high-performance hempcrete homes, all over 8.5 Stars.

At home with hemp

This family home makes the most of the beauty and thermal properties of hempcrete, to satisfying effect.

Elegant infill

Careful orientation and spaces with double functions ensure this home on a subdivided Brisbane block feels larger than it is.


Design features:

On the drawing board

Architect Matt Elkan muses about beauty and quality in the built environment, and how an appreciation of both has informed his recent work.

Finding a green builder

To turn a great design into a high-performing sustainable house, you need the right builder. Here’s where to look and what to ask.

The gas dilemma

As the electricity grid greens, gas is losing its place as the cleaner, cheaper household fuel choice. Renew’s research looks into the best fuel for lowering both your bills and your carbon emissions.

Design workshop: Connecting indoors and out

Dick Clarke of Envirotecture offers suggestions for a renovation of a 1950s home in Bellingen, NSW, to connect it better to its large garden.


The importance of play is a hot topic in child development circles. We investigate the changing thinking behind playspace design.

Are we aiming for the Stars?

New analysis looks at how we’re building in Australia today, the Star ratings we’re achieving, and what needs to change to deliver climate resilient homes.