6 Incredible Eco-Friendly House Ideas

Be inspired to make your home more sustainable with these incredible eco-friendly house ideas

Environmentally sustainable family haven

This design explores the ideas of family and environmental sustainability in a private, light-filled Sydney home that is surrounded by lush greenery. In keeping with the sustainable design concept, much of the original house as possible was saved. A bedroom, studio and bathroom were added upstairs, and the entire roof replaced to unify the old and new. The previous kitchen and laundry were renovated to make way for a new kitchen and open-plan family/dining room as well as the existing pool and surrounding area. Materials were salvaged and recycled wherever possible including bricks from demolished walls and timber from the old roof beams which were milled on-site and re-used as joinery inside the home. Recycled timber was also utilised for the home’s external cladding and timber floorboards. The home was also re-configured in other clever ways; the entrance was moved further along the laneway to ensure it was at the centre of the plan and away from the busy street corner. To ensure privacy from the laneway, a thick wall of services were planted along this side and all the windows are placed either high or low so no-one can see inside. Clever concepts ensure this home feels open and flowing, filled with light and a sense of openness. The glass walls of the living space bring the beautiful garden inside and, combined with lofty ceilings, create the feeling of a lush city oasis.

Real home: Sustainable subtropical minimalism

Inspired by Indonesia’s villas and mountains, and with an emphasis on sustainability, the design and sensibility of this beautiful home is unique. The entrance of the home is breathtaking, consisting of a two-storey atrium and fully glazed glass skylight. This area leads to the kitchen, dining and living room which contain folding doors that enable all three rooms to easily become one large space. The ground floor is designed specifically for minimal temperature regulation due to the glazed void over the living space, allowing for the sun to penetrate deep into the house during the day, eliminating the need for daytime heating in winter. The glazed void areas also allow hot air to be released through windows located at the top in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning. The kitchen is simply designed with the adjoining room continuing this theme of simplicity containing a glass table and a gorgeous Spiro suspension lamp by LZF. The family room is divided from the dining room by a veneered feature wall, which includes a two-sided fireplace, this feature allowing occupants of either room to enjoy the heat’s warmth, while the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the outdoor and pool areas. This home has achieved a balance of styles and ideas, evoking a traditional Balinese villa and boasting sustainable qualities and clean lines. The end result is a testament to a perfect interpretation of contemporary design.  

Sustainable concept: Green view

This unique family home in rural Victoria is paving the way for energy efficiency, winning numerous accolades for its innovative design. The three-bedroom residence has an office, two bathrooms and two living areas offering a bucolic outlook of the property and Lake Cooper. Solar access to the living spaces and kitchen is maximised in winter via the inclusion of polished concrete flooring together with an interior brick wall, providing thermal mass that stores heat absorbed from the sun during winter days and releasing it to warm the home each evening. A vaulted ceiling with motorised highlight windows ensure hot air can be drawn out in summer and assists with cross-flow ventilation. Rehau uPVC framed windows and doors from Weatherall Windows impress. Used throughout the project, they feature double glazing and are extremely well sealed with argon gas, ensuring a high degree of energy efficiency and the reduction of heating costs. Other sustainable elements include R6 roof insulation, sustainable bamboo flooring in the hallways and solar hot water. The result is an incredible home that is modern, contemporary and packed full of eco-friendly house ideas.  

Sustainable living at a low cost

The home’s major feature is its passive solar design. This house embraces the north sun, which heats it up effectively in winter, but has excellent insulation and cross-ventilation to keep the house cool in summer. Its concrete slab covered with tiles gives great thermal mass, reducing the diurnal temperature range. All windows have blinds and the north-facing windows also have external blinds that can be lowered for summer shading. Other eco-friendly features include doors that open outwards and double-glazed windows to ensure all draughts are snuffed out and all systems are working efficiently, Smartflo gutters to help harvest and clean rainwater before it enters a partially underground 27,240-litre polyethylene tank fitted with a first-flush device and water filtration systems in the kitchen for drinking water. Water from the shower and washing machine is treated through biologically active peat moss, aerated and stored for flushing the toilet. It is also reused on the garden. The house is also completely self-sustaining in terms of electricity, achieved through two panels of PV Array tubes, mounted on the north face of the roof for maximum solar efficiency which export to the grid during the day and import power at night when the sun sets. Although the house sounds a bit like a science experiment on paper, it is in fact a place of simplicity and beauty.

Inner-City Sustainable: a stunning permaculture design

This small terrace makes a giant contribution to the environment with its self-sustaining and eco-friendly permaculture qualities, complemented by an amazing design aesthetic. Mark from MUD Design was employed to reimagine this small space and create a warm and wholesome spot with functional elements, including an area to wash off after the beach, hidden storage, space to entertain friends and family, and a self-watering, permaculture ecosystem that supported local wildlife. With sustainability at the core of this project, the first step was to source recycled materials. Concrete pavers were re-used, layered on top of a sandstone base. Sandstone was specifically chosen for its features in an urban environment. To create the edible green wall, the feature of the terrace, recycled hardwood was sourced and carefully arranged in an artistic, Tetris-style pattern. However, it is not just the appearance of the reclaimed timber green wall that is so special; each plant has been specifically chosen for its permaculture properties and has been planted in wicking pots. These wicking pots are significant as they act as a water reservoir, filtering the water slowly into the soil through a wick. Along with a custom-designed irrigation system, the green wall is completely self-sustaining. From the reclaimed timber and edible green wall to the no-waste, outdoor shower and the self-sustaining wicking pots, this tiny Cooks Hill courtyard is making a huge contribution to the, environment and looks great at the same time.

Eco-friendly energy efficient design

This stunning home epitomises how energy-efficient and stylish eco-friendly house ideas can be implemented. Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, this secluded property boasts captivating views and is surrounded by an abundance of native vegetation. Designed to suit the site and the client’s brief, this cleverly zoned, light-filled home provides comfort all year round. It exemplifies energy efficient design with an emphasis on reflecting and respecting the natural environment and site conditions. The colours and materials selected for the home complement the surrounding area, resulting in an unobtrusive design that flows seamlessly into the landscape. Want to see more of these incredible eco-friendly house ideas? Visit our archives for more!