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A sustainable house beside a vineyard

Everything you need to know about Sustainable House Day 2024

April 4, 2024
April 4, 2024

After a couple of years as an online-only event, Sustainable House Day is finally back in the real world for 2024. So what is it all about? We speak to Renew CEO Helen Oakey to get the lowdown on this inspiring day of climate-focused living.

What happens on Sustainable House Day?

On Sunday April 21st, from Melbourne to Darwin River, over 100 homes will open their doors to the public, inviting us to explore some of Australia’s most unique and sustainable homes. It’s a chance to learn directly from passionate climate-conscious owners who have sustainably built, renovated and retrofitted buildings of all shapes and sizes. 

A sustainable Tanacre in Taradale. The sun is setting, making the sky look pink
Tanacre in Taradale - Credit: Clint Hare

Why do we have Sustainable House Day?

Sustainable House Day is run by Bank Australia partners Renew, an innovative not-for-profit organisation that engages and inspires the community to take action to live more sustainably at a household level. “We come from a place of thinking about the climate challenge both in terms of reducing emissions, and in terms of preparing for what the climate might look like going forward – making sure that people have safe, sustainable energy-efficient homes to live in,” says Renew CEO Helen Oakey. 

Sustainable House Day is an accessible and grassroots way for people to pick the brains of passionate individuals and learn from their wider community. “It’s a very exciting opportunity for people to see what sustainable houses look like,” Helen says. “To learn: What are the different materials that you can build from? What are some of the considerations you might like to take into account when you're retrofitting? And then have a discussion about the benefits and the costs of some of those measures.”

In the weeks following Sustainable House Day, Renew is also holding a series of online “Extension Sessions.” Featuring Australia's best architects, designers and experts, the sessions will offer a deeper insight into a range of sustainability topics, with a Q&A at the end.

A bedroom featuring wide windows, a desk and wooden bed
Lyonville Hemp House

What kinds of houses are featured?

Big, small and everything in-between. The homes featured in 2024 range from large new builds that adhere to Passive House principles to an integrated Tiny Home with water tank and solar, and even an EarthShip built using rubber tyres and glass bottles. 

And it’s not just new builds in the spotlight. A big part of Sustainable House Day is featuring spaces that have been adjusted or retrofitted to make meaningful changes. 

You can search for homes near you on the Sustainable House Day website, and simply follow the prompts to book a timeslot for a tour. Check out the full list of 2024’s featured houses here.

A two story sustainable house
Nook on the hill - Credit: Nathan Kaso

Is the day just for people interested in building a sustainable home?

Absolutely not. While Sustainable House Day is a great source of information and inspiration for those undergoing a build, Helen says that this year there is a real focus on encouraging people to think about any swaps they can make – big or small – to reduce the carbon footprint and boost the energy efficiency of their home. “We're really looking at all of the features across a whole range of indicators that make a house sustainable,” she says. “So people can see homes where fossil gas has been removed and the home is now all electric, or homes that have solar panels integrated with battery systems.”

It could even be as simple as installing better insulation or sealing the gaps in windows and doors. “It’s really important that people can find out about the quicker and cheaper things they can do to make a more comfortable home to live in and potentially lower energy bills,” Helen says. 

Sustainable House Day 2024 takes place on Sunday, April 21. Head here to register for a tour or learn more about the online Extension Sessions.

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