Free Home Energy Saving Assistance for low income households

With close to 200 homes already booked in and works well underway to deliver fully funded energy retro-fits, Darwin and Palmerston residents are encouraged to contact the Smart Cooling team to check their eligibility for this exciting initiative.

Eligible residents receive a free assessment of their house’s energy use.  And are provided with complimentary services and products to help reduce energy costs such as:

  • Energy efficient ceiling fans and Pedestal fans
  • Professional sealing of box air-cons
  • Shade sails
  • External blinds
  • Fly-screen cleaning and replacement for air-flow.

If you or someone you know is eligible, register your interest now to be part of this fully funded energy assessment service and house retrofit program. Only 480 places are available in the project. Contact us today to ask about this project and your eligibility.  Phone: 8981 3642 email:

Project available to residents living in privately owned or privately rented accommodation.


New Year – New Office

During January we’re renovating our offices and giving them a well-deserved coat of paint. If you have cans of paint, rollers or paint trays lurking in your shed or under your house we’d be happy to take them off you! Various shades of white, green, blue, yellow and willing workers all very welcome.  Get involved by calling us on 8981 1984.

Happy holidays

COOLmob is taking a break!

Thank you to our volunteers, sponsors, project participants and staff for supporting us in 2014. We’ll see you again on Monday 5th January 2015!

For candidates interested in applying for the advertised jobs at COOLmob please click here to download the position description (which includes candidate response instructions) and here for more information about the Smart Cooling in the Tropics project.

You can also email however please note that this email will only be checked intermittently.

12 ways to a sustainable Christmas

dreaming of a green christmas

The great gift that is Christmas

Christmas is a celebration that is sometimes all too short. Most of us have a higher environmental impact than usual during this period, but it can be a great time to form lasting habits and encouraging broader change.

With a lot of people coming together, the actions that you take to have a sustainable Christmas have a good chance of being noticed by others. This effect can be increased by telling people what you are doing and why!

Here are COOLmob’s top tips from our 12 ways to a sustainable Christmas campaign:

  1. Make your own Christmas Tree
  2. Get creative with Christmas wrapping - check out these 5 ideas
  3. Re-gift something this Christmas and celebrate those gifts that can keep on giving 
  4. Go green with your Christmas lights, replace old bulbs or buy LED’s
  5. Plan for a low waste Christmas dinner
  6. Lighten your travel load and offset your love miles
  7. Earth friendly gifts  –  There are so many fun and sustainable ways to celebrate the tradition of gift giving check out this great green gift guide for inspiration.
  8. Love your local produce – Darwin has delicious and fresh local produce. Whether it’s grown in your own veggie patch or caught from your favourite fishing spot if you are stuck on what to cook for your main course this year think about using some our own local delights.
  9. Give the gift of support this year and back some of the Territories key environmental campaigns. Environment Centre NT, Environmental Defenders Office and Arid Lands Environment Centre are all courageously working to protect the environment. You donation can go a long way.
  10. Why buy new decorations make your own!  The frivolities of Christmas are lovely but they use up so much of our resources – so anything you can re-use or recycle will help to cut your carbon and your costs.
  11. Make sure your seafood is sourced sustainably. Check out the sustainable seafood guide.
  12. Share your Christmas with as many friends and family members as possible. It is much more energy efficient to cook one meal and cool one home rather than two, three or four.

Visit our Facebook page to  share your own ideas for . a sustainable Christmas


COOLmob jobs

Work as part of a small, busy team who are creating positive change.

COOLmob’s Smart Cooling in the Tropics project has four new vacancies including  a Technical Specialist, a Promotions Officer and two Casual Outreach Assessment Officers.

Click here to find about more about the roles and how to apply.

Applications for the positions will close on Monday 5 January 2015.


Sustainable House Day 2014 – our biggest year yet!


Every year COOLmob organises an open house day as part of a national event. It successfully demonstrates sustainable housing practices to members of the general public who want to improve their homes to be more suitable to our tropical climate, reduce their environmental footprint or just get ideas.

This year we chose five very different houses in Darwin and greater Darwin – adapted, new, tiny, transformed and heritage. And what a response! This year’s event saw increased total visitor numbers of 714 – up 150% from last year’s Download a summary of our final report.

Download (PDF, 886KB)

Thanks to NT EPA for funding this excellent event, all our fantastic volunteers, visitors and especially our generous hosts who opened the doors of their homes to the public. If you’re interested in helping out for next year’s event, contact us.

Sustainable Tropical Design

Three billion people live in the tropical regions; twice that number will before the end of this century.  Their needs for housing in an age of climate change, and as pressure grows on resources, is the concern of architects who gathered in Darwin to discuss building healthy tropical cities for the future.

The conference – AUSINDOARCH tropFIX – brought together architects from Australia and Indonesia to share knowledge, ideas and experiences in designing homes and public buildings that are based on sustainability principles and suit the region’s tropical climate.

The merging of innovation and tradition emerged as a major theme of the dialogue, with many participants advocating old approaches to create comfortable living spaces in a region where heat is the main enemy of comfort.

Natural cooling strategies that reduce reliance on energy consumption for air conditioners was a major preoccupation.  Traditional designs, from an era when air conditioning wasn’t universally available, are coming back into architectural vogue.

Eko Prawoto, a prominent Indonesian advocate of maintaining local building traditions, urged fellow architects to recognise and utilise local wisdom, local skills and craftsmanship and local materials in their designs.

The houses and public buildings he designs are based on the principle that they should be integral with their social, cultural and environmental contexts.  New buildings should seek to maintain the local spirit.

eko prawato

Eko Prawato

Argentinian-born architect, Carol Marra agreed that a building design should be a response to the place where the building will exist.  Place, climate, culture are the key factors that should shape this response.

Her designs emphasise natural solutions to cooling and the belief that the only way you can achieve comfort in the tropics is to have constant ventilation.

Darwin Fridge Festival Celebrates Upcycling

What can you do with old fridge? Well, a lot, actually … especially if you’re an artist. Some examples of what can be done with old fridges are currently on display at the Darwin Fridge Festival.

The event is both an art exhibition and also a celebration of “upcycling” … showing how old household appliances can be transformed into new objects and made useful once again.
There’s a double benefit to this … some wonderful, quirky creations like those filling the Fridge Festival exhibition space at the Darwin Waterfront right now; and the fact that these old appliances are kept out of landfill sites.

Part of the Fridge Festival was a public forum – Sustainability, Recycled Arts and Environmental Awareness – and one of the speakers was Nina Bailey, Environment Centre NT’s acting director.
Nina pointed out that Darwinians, on average, generate about 2 tonnes of waste that goes into landfill sites every year (according to 2010 figures); and that 45% of NT households don’t have access to recycling services for their waste. Landfill sites have serious environmental impacts.
But she says a backlash against this is gaining momentum as people learn to apply creative solutions to our mountains of waste.

Making art works from old appliances is one: building homes and other structures from discarded materials is another: such as houses made from old shipping containers.

Also at the forum was Darwin artist Aly de Groot who is known for her humourous, creative use of discarded plastic rubbish including turning fishing line into jellyfish sculptures, and ghost nets into woven objects. Visiting East Timorese artists Etson Caminha and Tony Amaral from Arte Moris collective spoke about differences between the affluence of Darwin where people discard still-functioning BBQs and other household items out in the street, whereas in Timor Leste products are used until they break and then their parts are used for something else. Etson was leading a stomp band and drumming workshops using old plastic containers, part of the Fridge Festival.


Join us for the People’s Climate Mobilisation on 21 Sep

COOLmob and the Environment Centre NT are proud to be joining up with the global People’s Climate movement to organise a mobilisation calling for political action on climate change THIS SUNDAY.

On Sunday 21 September join us as we make a huge human sign reading “NT LOVES SOLAR” on Nightcliff Foreshore, near the Pool. From 10am to 11am, with live music and speeches from 9:15am.  


We need at least 250 people to make a human sign. Bring your friends, families and neighbours. Wear yellow and orange, make your voice heard and have fun!

Help us spread the word. Join and share the Darwin Event Facebook page  and download posters to distribute all over town before Sunday:

Download (PDF, 252KB)


For more info contact Jessica Steinborner on or 8981 2532.

Darwin residents rallying on the national day of Climate Action Nov 2013

Darwin residents rallying on the national day of Climate Action Nov 2013

Sustainable House Day

SHD event banner - all logos

Sustainable House Day 2014 a success!

Download the 2014 project report summary here

Download the Darwin event booklet and maps here

More than 520 people visited our five open properties on Sunday 14 Sep for Sustainable House Day.

Check out some of the photos on COOLmob’s Facebook site.

Sustainable House Day in Darwin is part of a national day of events, held in September, aimed at showing the public the wide variety of sustainably built homes and sustainable living practices.

This year’s fantastic line-up of properties: from Darwin’s oldest heritage tropical home (Burnett House) to an eco shipping container, and several examples of sustainable homes in between.

1. Burnett House – 4 Burnett Place, Larrakeyah (Myilly Point Heritage Precinct)
Heritage display home, designed by Beni Burnett, Australian Government architect to Northern Territory in the 1930s who famously created the first government-built homes suitable for the tropics, based on Malaysian and Singaporean colonial architecture.

2. InsideOut House – 70 May Court, Humpty Doo  
A beautiful, newly built home by Tropix Homes, this house is designed for outdoor living with open breezy design, lightweight materials and louvre windows throughout. The garden features a blackwater treatment system.

3. The Anula home – 4 Democrat Court, Anula
A lovely renovated Grollo home, showing many examples of eco building techniques such as through flow breezes, outdoor living on shaded patio and balcony, cool downstairs rooms, recycled materials and solar panels.

4. EdiblEden, the Roseth home – 9 Gove St, Alawa
EdiblEden joins SHD for the second time, first featuring in the 2010 event. Since then this impressively sustainable family has added solar panels and extended their famous edible garden.

5. SWALE eco shipping container display at Allora Gardens Nursery, corner Lagoon Rd & Stuart Hwy Berrimah 
Come and see the tiniest, and most mobile and versatile property: a re-purposed shipping container designed for tropical living, with shading, louvre windows, and landscaping to provide shelter and cool.

Steven Camilleri with his electric Holden Commodore outside Burnett House, Sustainable House Day 2014

Steven Camilleri with his electric Holden Commodore outside Burnett House, Sustainable House Day 2014

A feature of the day was COOLmob supporter Steven Camilleri, electronics engineer, and his Holden Commodore electric vehicle (EV). The car was produced by Holden and Better Place PLC (see info on the model here and a TED talk about EV’s here) and was intended to be produced in Adelaide until Holden withdrew car production from Australia. Steven is one of few people to own this model of EV and displayed it at Burnett House and Humpty Doo as part of Sustainable House Day.

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