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House from rear left corner

Deck Eaves and fish pond

towards decking and pagola

Deck and backyard and path


Entry from outside


kitchen 3

kitchen 2


family bathroom

bathroom shower

Inside looking our over deck

from living looking north

Fish pond with fish


master view

rear decking looking forward

Mirands Crs Front

street view (1)

Bat Box taller post

Box Gutter overflow

Installing Large Window

St Leonards: new build 2020

House Size: 180m²
Land Size: 890m²
Project Type: New Build completed 2020
Open (Free Entry): 16 October 10am - 2pm

"Great light, constant temperature and energy efficient home."

Experts on Site


SO'R Construction
SO’R Construction is passionate about sustainable building, including strawbale building.


Tim Adams, F2 Design
F2 Design is a leader in the field of energy efficient house design.

About the house

Our goals

Our home was a five year project from first thought to move in.  We wanted to live about 30 minutes drive from Geelong, be able to walk to the shops and the beach, with a land size enough for a garden and the highest NatHERS rating: lowest cost ratio that would meet our needs into the future.

What we did

We undertook a lot of research, subscribed to Sanctuary and Renew magazines, used resources such as the Federal Government’s ‘YourHome’ book and website. Talked to lots of people, visited the Cape Paterson Eco Village, went to Sustainable House Days over several years both in Melbourne and Geelong, went to homes open for inspections if advertised as sustainable or energy efficient.

In the end we only met with one designer who was passionate about sustainable energy efficient design and who shared our vision. His recommendation was an East – West, flat block to reduce build cost and take advantage of a great northern exposure.

Then engage a reputable builder who understands sustainability and who can walk the talk. 

How’s it worked out?

The house has exceeded our expectations.  The amount of natural light and consistent internal temperatures contribute to our quality of life in a way that is not measurable, but is fantastic.  In winter the living area/master bedroom  has not dropped below 17 degrees, and through winter was typically 10 degrees warmer than outside. 

 We’ve got a home that meets our visual brief but also works wonderfully and the design brings the garden inside.

What did we learn

Spend your money on getting the sustainable features of your home right and then balance the fixtures and fittings to meet the budget.

Until you’ve lived in a passive solar, energy efficient home, it’s difficult to comprehend the positive impact on your physical and mental health plus hip pocket when it comes to house running costs.

 Any other insights

  • You’ll probably need to ask more ‘digging’ questions that you think.  If you’re told the slab is insulated, please ask: Is that the whole house, or only a small section i.e.  living areas? 
  • The design and build will take longer than you think.
  • It is possible to build an energy efficient home within a moderate budget.  Consider the design before purchasing that land, not face the consequences of the other way around.  
  • Engaging an architect/designer gave us the best possible use of space, energy efficiencies and sustainability.
  • Living in a passive solar house requires active involvement by the owners in regulating temperature.

Follow us on Instagram at:  our_passive-solar-home 


Deliberate choice by homeowners & builder to buy from local businesses &/or Australian  made eg. Barwon Timber, Breakwater Metal Land, Melbourne made floor tiles, Haymes Paints, Victorian made taps in ensuite, Cutek oil and Lanotec Timber Seal, etc

House specification

House information sheets

Ask a Question

If you like to submit a question for the live Zoom event please click here →