A home with passive home principle and doesn’t need heating at all!

We are so pleased to share with you the journey of one of our amazing BuildHer Suzanne who build a home with passive home principle and doesn’t need heating at all! Even on the coolest of winter days!


Sustainability is top of mind this week with our Sustainability Podcast Series which you can listen to here.

We are so pleased to share with you the journey of one of our amazing BuildHer Suzanne who build a home with passive home principle and doesn’t need heating at all! Even on the coolest of winter days!

Suzanne is passionate about sustainability and has been from a really young age, so much that she has recently launched a business called Her Creation Squad where Suzanne and her business partner Halina help teach women how to upcycle and live more sustainably. A journey which started when Suzanne renovated her home as an owner builder. 

Initially Suzanne wanted to build a modular home to avoid the delays related to building onsite such as weather delays, material shortage delays and also working with a tights site. All making this an appealing process. The original company they looked at using doubled their price while they were investigating the process, which caused the couple to go back out to market and try to find another company to help them build their dream.  It was then that they stumbled across “Sanctuary Magazine” – a Modern Green Home Magazine – and inside it they were introduced to a company called CarbonLite.

The 100-year-old original shop front that has been maintained during the renovation is now used as a “games room/study”, the remainder of the home was architecturally designed utilising prefabricated construction methods.  Suzanne hand drew the plans and had them passed through council – yes, she actually learnt how to draw planning permit drawings – while on maternity leave, then a year later after the birth of her second son she project-managed as an owner builder under the awesome guidance of the Buildher Collective.

Part of Suzanne’s cunning plan was to have the structure of the build modular and installed by a builder, which would leave her with all the internal finishes to complete. It took a mere four days to erect the shell and then 7 weeks to get to lockup.

Photo by Dylan James

Suzanne along with her partner Patrick painted, bricked a feature wall, waterproofed and tiled bathrooms, built cabinetry including assembly the “Kitchen U Build” flat pack kitchen.  She did not plaster, plumb or do the electrical work!

Sustainability was key in the design and because of the home’s energy efficient features, the house uses a quarter of the energy to heat and cool the house compared to before the renovation. The house is double the size (going from one bedroom to three).

During the build many Buildher Collective Members reached out asking “how do you know how to do all this DIY?” which is what started the idea of Her Creation Squad.

HCS challenges their SQUAD to question the ease that comes with buying something new and we encourage them to look for materials that already exist and up-cycle. With so many renovations occurring it’s the perfect time for HCS to guide female project managers through the process of sustainable creation. Instead of throwing out the building waste we help them think about what they could make out of the items – “those once loved bricks from the wall you demolished why not reclaim them? Those timber joists from your flooring, let’s make a cabinet!”   

We bring happiness & self fulfillment through the power of sustainably creating these items that spark joy. The rewarding feeling of looking at or using an item in your home that you created yourself, is one of triumph, strength & satisfaction, not to mention the money these women are saving on both materials but also labour which is super important during these times of high inflation.

The HCS moto is “If someone can make it then we believe so can you!”

Photo by Dylan James

In terms of the sustainability 61 Austin Street’s passive design features:

  • Triple-glazed west-facing windows
  • Double-glazed north-facing windows
  • Insulated concrete floors
  • Use Momentum Energy – a renewable energy company
  • Solar-heated pool
  • Aquaponics – a vertical self-watering wall
  • Every joint in the house is sealed, hence the envelope acts like a membrane bubble. The only way heat comes in and out is through the heat exchanger, which occurs multiple times a day.

And now in terms of temperature “It holds 21 degrees Celsius in winter and holds a temperature about 10 degrees cooler than outside in summer.”  Suzanne still often comments to her husband about “how surprising” she finds the comfort of a passive property. And has remarked that it is not that hard or expensive to implement many of the passive home principle in your home which will greatly increase the way your home feels and reduce running costs!

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