Sustainable House Day Review

Andre SilvaNews

Sustainable House Day (SHD) is our flagship annual event, which fulfils our mission and aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goal for Sustainable Cities and Communities.  By showcasing exemplar sustainable homes, we help people to learn how they can live happier, healthier lives in homes that are cheaper to run, provide more thermal comfort and have lower carbon emissions.
Seeing opportunities in challenges, we transformed SHD2020 into a COVID-safe online event whilst retaining the much valued peer-peer knowledge sharing and expert advice of the traditional event. 


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The open houses

The 2020 program included 8 exemplar houses: 6 new builds, 1 renovation and 1 major retrofit. Ironically four of these homes opened because the event was virtual!


Program deliverables

We’re proud of our achievements in our first virtual SHD program. After 12 years of coordinating this event, it was a major pivot this year!

  • We developed detailed webpages for each house containing technical information, photo galleries, homeowner stories and video links.
  • We created preview videos (1-1.5min) for each house plus house tour videos (8-12min) narrated by the homeowners using video and drone imagery.
  • We ran adverts in local papers and promoted the event widely through our networks.
  • We ran an effective publicity campaign on social media both regionally and more broadly. In the month preceding SHD, our social media posts reached over 110,000 people. The 60-sec SHD Preview video had over 30,000 views and the 90-sec House Previews videos averaged over 4000 views ~ a total of almost 31,000.
  • We held 8 Zoominars over 10-11 Oct weekend involved 15 homeowners, 14 experts, 30 GS volunteers and over 700 participants.
  • We held two Speed Date a Sustainable Expert events on 24 and 31 October where people could book 20 minutes consultations to receive personalised advice from a sustainability expert. 
  • We created a library of online resources, SHD Revisited, which are now available for 24x7 access from our website at www.geelongsustainability.org.au/shd2020/.

Participant feedback

We used the functionality within Zoom to conduct polls at the start and end of each session and we were delighted with the positive feedback.

  • Over one third participants attended 6-8 sessions and over half attended 3-5 sessions.
  • 84% of participants rated the sessions as excellent
  •  86% said they would watch the sessions again later
  • 45% rated the virtual format as better than traditional face-to-face event.

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The qualitative feedback from participants and stakeholders confirmed the event’s value.


I just wanted to say a big “Thank-you” for running Sustainable House Day (w’end).  It was excellent.  A changed format but it worked really well.  We are building a home next year and hope to use a lot of what we have learnt throughout.  Many thanks, great effort to all involved.
Ty – SHD Participant


Thank you very much to you and all the team for making the speed date event so easy.  Twenty minutes just flew past. We are sincerely grateful for the information being shared by experts and homeowners throughout the Sustainable House events.  We are in the early stages of designing a new off-grid build and the tips and advice we have collected are invaluable.  We are starting from a place of knowledge and experience that would otherwise take years to research!
Sophie – SHD & Speed Date Participant


Congratulations again on a fantastic event.  It was so well done!  Great homes, presentations and experts.  Heaps of great information was delivered and the Zoom worked perfectly – interesting to see in the surveys that this was the preferred format for most.  It was a really easy format for participants to ask questions after the videos and home owner story.  Again - well done on delivering such a great event!
Rodney Thomas - Strategic Partner - Manager, Environment and Waste Services, CoGG


We greatly appreciate the wonderful community support and contributions to this innovative virtual event! We could not have delivered such a successful event without our homeowners, experts, volunteers, subcontractors and sponsors ~especially our strategic partnership grant from the City of Greater Geelong. 

Check out the resources available on our GS website: www.geelongsustainability.org.au/shd2020

Going forward, given the participant feedback, we think a hybrid approach may be “the go” in 2021.

For more information, download the SHD2020 Report.