Spectacular Sites Inspire Spectacular Design!

Too often, when looking to buy a block of land, we’re told to steer clear of the dreaded, “scary and unapproachable” sloping block! We’re lead to believe these blocks will present nothing but complications and unnecessary expenses… This couldn’t be further from the truth!

At Sustainable, we believe that spectacular sites inspire spectacular design & lifestyle. As experts in delivering on sloping sites, each site presents the ultimate template to display our strengths of adding value to raw, dramatic topography whilst creating long term nett worth through interpretation of sensitive design.

Check out this beautiful design on a dramatically sloping block at Toowong!

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Our hot tips just in time for Summer!

Our hot tips just in time for Summer!

Tips to reduce your electricity billssolar-panels-under-blue-sky-and-sun-flare

– Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient LED lights which significantly reduce your lightin energy use and last longer!
– Consider glass louvres if you need to replace a window to allow more passive ventilation into your home.
– Add insulation to your ceiling and/or roof. Your roof is a major source of radiant heat gain in your house.
– Re-painting the outside of your house? Try using lighter colours, particularly on the West to reduce the heat gain into your home.
– Install a solar hot water system
– Install solar electricity panels
– Consider landscaping tips to reduce your electricity bill.

Tips to reduce your water billsfotolia_29467504_xs

– Install a water tank. Size and location of your tank is important, particularly with the noise of some pumps.
– Fix any leaking taps or install water flow restrictors to your existing taps. If your taps are up to 10 to 15 years old, replacing these completely can sometimes be your most cost effective option.
– Install water reduced flow tap fixtures including:
o Shower roses (minimum 3-star WELS rating)
o Dual flush toilets (minimum 4-star WELS rating)
o Tapware (minimum 3-star WELS rating)
– Install a grey water system which is a great option for recycling waste water in your home.
– Is your dishwasher water and energy efficient? If not, consider a new energy and water efficient dishwasher.

Tips for your garden

– Start growing your own vegetables and consider a herb garden! This will help to reduce your grocery bills.
– Applying an organic fertilizer and lucerne mulch to your existing mulch will enrich your soil and improve water and nitrogene content. It’s as simple as mixing through lightly with a fork!
– Prune your garden for summer. It’s still not too late to prune!
– Plant shade trees on the Western side of your home to reduce internal heat gain as well as screens, arbors, greenwalls etc.

Sustainable’s Shared Living!

Looking outside your kitchen, bedroom or living window, are you confronted by a 6ft fence? Most of us are!till-house-1

6ft fences have become the “norm,” the most common form of what we like to think is security in our homes.

What if we told you these 6ft fences could be an aid in home robberies? Wouldn’t believe me?

In today’s suburbs, most of us, if not all, are confronted by a 6ft fence just meters from our back door.

We have become accustomed to being separated from our neighbours and blocking out the community around us. We’ve come to believe that these fences provide privacy, and most importantly, security in our homes.

However, at Sustainable, it is our belief that these 6ft fences are in fact doing more harm than good, which is why we strongly believe in the integrated and collaborative design concept we like to call ‘shared living.’

In recent years, Brett McKenzie and the Sustainable team developed a shared living community located in the Western Suburbs of Brisbane within a depleted storm water gully.

till-house-5This concept saw the construction of 12 stunning homes, constructed not side by side, but arranged in a way that enabled a perfectly balanced mix of shared community space, along with private and semi-private spaces throughout the site.

With a diverse variety of housing options, ranging from 4 bedroom family homes, through to 1 bedroom studios, as well as common green space including vegetable gardens and pathways, the development is well suited to a blend of age groups and demographics, creating a rich dynamic and culture within the integrated community.

While a lack of fences may be alarming to some, the development promotes a strong sense of unity among residents, ultimately offering a safer community environment.

While most of us have been lulled into the false sense of security of “a 6ft fence will keep them out” it is important to look at the bigger picture.

By removing the fences we so commonly see in today’s suburban streets, homes instantly become safer, eliminating the opportunity for intruders to hide in your backyard, going unseen by surrounding homes.

With a large focus on a united spirit within shared communities, neighbours become increasingly engaged in the safety and security of not only themselves and their homes, but the entire community as a whole, having the opportunity to recognise unusual activity throughout the entire shared space.


As well as rapidly boosting the safety of the community within their homes, access to shared pathways, gardens and play spaces ensures safe outdoor activity for children, residents and visitors of the community.

The shame is that our local councils and markets struggle with this concept, as we are largely dominated by “pigeonhole planning.”

Make the lighting shop your last stop!

When it comes to lighting your home, the lighting shop should be your last stop in the decision making process.

Starting with passive design elements is the key!

Resource usage is the driver!

– Optimize your natural light with higher doorways and strategically positioned windows. These elements are effective ways to allow for natural ventilation through your home. Windows and doors should be orientated to maximize the north-easterly sun aspect to avoid late afternoon and early morning sun. As well as this, southerly facing windows are critical for powering great cross ventilation.

– To allow more light in and to cool your home, look at how you can elevate your ceiling. Colder climates benefit largely from skylights, as these will both light and heat your home naturally. In warmer climates however, these can be heat traps, so designing to your climate zone and local environment is important.

energy-saverWhen it comes to artificial light, it’s important to understand where and what is needed and preferably, not needed and at what times throughout the day. Having an understanding of this will cut the amount of artificial light and thus, ongoing resource costs that are not necessary.

– Using single lights in place of looped lighting, as well as light stands can be a great energy saver, as these are only being used as you require them, as opposed to the large amount used within looped lighting.

– Get rid of those halogen lights and install energy efficient, compact fluorescent or LED lighting throughout your home.

– Choosing light bulbs with eight watts of power instead of the standard 100 watt bulbs will drastically increase the hours of life you receive from these bulbs. LED lights offer anywhere between 12,000 and 18,000 hours in comparison to standard bulbs, which can sometimes offer less than 100.

– Design elements as simple as glass louvers and awning glazed windows can offer more passive ventilation and natural cooling, and if positioned correctly, more effective heating within your home.

– By implementing these simple, low cost design elements into your home, you can ensure stable energy efficiency and low costs now and well into the future.

Buyers pay more for greener homes!

img (4)Environmentally conscious homes, like this Boonah residence, will not just lower running costs today but are likely to bring in more cash when it comes time to sell.

Project manager at construction and design firm Sustainable, Tobias Volbert, said it was increasingly important that a house was economical.

“Houses will be valued on their consumption,” Mr Volbert said. “It will be much harder to sell those (older-style homes) in the future because the running costs will be so high.” He said there was a perception that environmentally friendly had to be expensive.

“You can have a sustainable home that looks sexy, is functional and affordable,” he said.

He said planning was one of the best investments you could make when building or renovating, saving time and money. “Smarter homes and sustainable planning are the way of the future,” he said.

Having this home take out the 2009 GreenSmart award for the region was exciting because it was the first of their “Recipe Homes” to win, Mr Volbert said.

Materials used included bamboo floors, poly-carbonate sheeting and Colorbond cladding, to cut timber maintenance costs.


The Sunday Mail – 2010

“Sustainability is no longer about tying yourself to a tree and showering once a week…”

Dreaming of a sustainable home? Dreaming of a budget that permits? Turn your dreams into a Sustainable Recipe Home!

Sustainable Recipe Housing is a unique concept that makes the dream of a sustainable home a possibility for everyone! At Sustainable, our team largely pride ourselves on our unique module houses or “recipe homes”.Wall2

These stunning homes are constructed from pre-designed modules in order to ultimately cut construction costs, allowing those with a restricted budget to achieve a beautiful home to best suit their lifestyle.

Flexible and adaptable to your specific wants and needs, recipe homes can be tailored to perfectly compliment your site, wish list and most importantly, your dream lifestyle, whatever, and wherever, that may be.

At Sustainable, we believe the most important aspect is to ensure our homes are immersed in the natural site and always ‘touching the earth lightly.’ We believe each room should take full advantage of its surroundings, ultimately offering beautiful light and ventilation, naturally!

Sustainable Recipe Homes utilise passive heating and cooling as much as possible, and enable a focus on a more relaxed, simplistic lifestyle. Clients can be reassured that the home is energy efficient, economical and environmentally aware.

As CEO Brett McKenzie says, “Sustainability is no longer about tying yourself to a tree and showering once a week. Sustainability is achievable through smarter choices, not sacrifice.” Our Sustainable Recipe Homes perfectly encapsulate luxury, sustainable living through modern, contemporary and leading edge design.

Sustainable by Remote Locations named Winner of the Excellence in Sustainable Living Award

July 8th – What a great night for the Sustainable team and our valued, repeat clients, Vicki and Darren!


Nominated for Excellence in Sustainable Living, Sustainable by Remote Locations are thrilled to say our spectacular McLaughlin Home brought home a victory!

McLaughlin 1

Being recipients of Dual 2004 QMBA Awards for Vicki and Darren’s first Sustainable home, it brings us great pride to once again be able to share this exciting achievement with such valued and long time clients.


McLaughlin 3

About the McLaughlin Home

The McLaughlin Home displays our strong Sustainable philosophies, attention to detail and sophistication, which has allowed us to lead in the ‘design and construct’ arena of low energy/passive powerful architecture and is showcased in this stunning home.

The home is uplifting, comforting and perfectly suits the lifestyle of Vicki and Darren, who expect and respect their visitors and family’s need for space and enjoyment!


McLaughlin 4The McLaughlin home is a monument of individualism and a place of refuge, while offering a solid family foundation to encourage a simpler and more honest society!

And WOW! What about that view! So close to the city you can almost touch it!!!


GET YOUR FIX – Australian House & Garden

Undertake some smart retrofits and you can boost your home’s sustainability, writes Sarah Pickette.

Building regulations require today’s new homes to be more eco-friendly than ever before. But if, like most Australians, you’re not living in a freshly constructed home, you’ll need to embrace retrofitting if you want to improve your home’s environmental cred. “A lot of homeowners are daunted by the word ‘retrofit’,” says Brett McKenzie, CEO of Sustainable, a Queensland building design and construction firm specialising in such modifications. “They assume it’s going to be an expensive and complicated process. But retrofitting just means updating your home with the technology and materials we have available to us today. It’s making small but effective improvements within the bounds of your existing home’s design.”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what works best, says McKenzie, but he believes in improving every home’s passive solar design by exploiting it’s orientation and ensuring it’s eaves and exterior shading are up to the job, and facilitating good cross-ventilation.

Air-leakage prevention is the number-one retrofit suggested to homeowners by Nick Mayo, sustainability adviser and owner of Canberra’s Sustainable House. “It is so important to draught-proof your home. Air gaps around doors, windows, vents and even power points are the cause of so much energy wastage.” He advises choosing quality seals for doors, which cost more but could last up to 30 years. Insulation is the next thing to check, says Mayo. “Get an infrared camera and take pictures of your home’s exterior. Using thermal images, you can determine the amount of heat loss from your walls and roof, and pinpoint exactly where the greatest losses are occurring.” If you identify major weak spots, blow-in insulation for your walls can be very effective, he adds, noting that rockwool is his preferred material.

Both McKenzie and Mayo agree that putting in photo-voltaic panels or a solar hot-water system is a smart move because it pays for itself in a couple of years and minimises energy costs after that.

New Heights for Sustainability

Advanced Energy Now In The Big Leagues


Recent statistics have revealed that the market for innovative energy products and services is now as large as the fashion and clothing industry in the US.

Last year saw record growth in this industry worldwide, up by about 15% since 2013 and boasting a reported revenue of US $1.3 Trillion dollars.

Advanced energy spans right across a number of segments with building efficiency being the largest.

This is really exciting for us, the great news shows a combined, global effort to becoming more sustainable.

If you’d like to get in touch to see how we can help with the sustainable design and construction of your home, from landscaping to recipe houses click here.

More info at – Green Tech Media

Welcome To The Future

The Sand Tower Town

Arcology in the Sahara

French architectural design firms Nicholas Laisné Associés and OXO Architectes have put together a concept for a huge arcology in Morrocco, in the Saharan desert.  La Tour des Sables would be a self contained city that rises 1,400 feet above the ground. This would include space for living, agricultural and working units.


They have mentioned 2025 as a date to begin building. Whether or not this stunning design actually gets built; this is a fascinating look into what large eco- sustainable buildings could look like in the future.

Click here for more info. 

Phone: (07) 3201 1177