Open homes event shows off sustainable design

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Local people with inspiring sustainable designs on their properties will be opening their homes and gardens this weekend for the Sustainable House Day open homes event.

Established in 2001, Sustainable House Day is a national event that showcases sustainable building materials, household goods and practices that can be used in your everyday home and lifestyle.

This year there are two events to celebrate Sustainable House Day in the Northern Rivers – the Living for the Future Home Expo on Saturday, 16 September at the Seagulls Club in Tweed Heads West and the open homes event on Sunday, 17 September.

As part of the annual open homes showcase, four homeowners in the Northern Rivers are opening their doors to share their stories and tips to create sustainable homes that are comfortable to live in, cheaper to run and better for the environment.

“The event is invaluable for anyone looking for practical, sustainable solutions and information on what works, what doesn’t, and how to transition toward ‘greener’ living,” Sustainable House Day Coordinator Andia Cally said.

Included in this year’s showcase is Michael Leung’s six-star energy rated home, SkyFarm. Michael Leung and his company Balanced Earth won this year’s Energy Efficient Building Award at the Master Builder Awards in NSW for a this hempcrete-designed home in Possum Creek.

Leung and his partners used a blend of recycled timber, natural paints and finishes, and hempcrete rendered with non-toxic lime and clay to create a breathable, termite resistant, non-toxic home in Mullumbimby that has great thermal properties and is brimming with character.

Also in Mullumbimby, Andrew Wadsworth will open his hemp house at Tallowood Estate. Designed by Jaye Irving from Barefoot Sustainable Design, the three-bedroom house features the best of passive solar design and sustainable building materials made by local hemp builder Xylosinuous. Also on display will be the recently added studio and permaculture gardens.

Over on Brushbox Drive in Mullumbimby, Nina Bishop will be hosting a special open home event that includes the launch of an exciting new community-led initiative – Repower Byron Shire. This is a joint initiative between Enova Energy, Zero Emissions Byron and COREM that encourages individual neighbourhoods in the Northern Rivers to work together, house by house, street by street, to commit to 100% renewable energy.

During this event Nina will also open her passive solar home made from recycled timber and earth bricks constructed onsite. The home also features edible gardens and onsite composting systems.

Those seeking a sustainable sea change will be inspired by Jimi and Helene’s home in Lennox Head, which features efficient lighting and appliances, energy monitoring, organic and edible gardens, and solar PV grid connect.

Most open houses are free but some ask for a donation at the door, including the Repower launch at Nina’s, which is $5 for adults and children over 12. These details, along with opening hours and sustainable features, are listed on the national website

The 2017 Living for the Future Home Expo includes displays of entries in the Northern Rivers ‘Build it Local’ Sustainable House Day Design Competition as well as a Speed Date a Sustainable Designer event and a green living and building trade show.

The expo runs from 10am-4pm on Saturday, 16 September at the Seagulls Club in Tweed Heads West and entry is free.

For more information on the expo, visit

The 2017 Sustainable House Day Design Competition and awards showcase is a joint project between Lismore City Council, Byron Shire Council, Ballina Shire Council, Tweed Shire Council, Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, TAFE NSW, Self Seed Sustainability and Dorroughby Environment Educational Centre, coordinated by Andia Cally.

Image: Nina Bishop's home in Mullumbimby will be open this Sunday as part of the Sustainable House Day open homes event.

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