Sustainable House Day Darwin 2017

Sustainable House Day (SHD) 2017 gave Darwinite’s a taste of sustainability in the Tropics by showing them real-life, practical ways they can make their homes and gardens more sustainable.

Over 350 people joined us for SHD 2017 to visit five inspiring, beautiful homes and to celebrate, learn and share the joys of sustainable living. The atmosphere was exciting and the air was thick, not just with tropical humidity but with passion – passion for sustainability in the tropics. With beautiful homes and gardens, backyard chickens and bees, solar energy systems, informative talks, and inspiring tours there was plenty to keep people interested. The success of SHD 2017 meant that COOLmob was once again shown to be a trustworthy source for sustainable living advice in Darwin.

COOLmob and ECNT would like to say a huge thank you to the folk that made the SHD 2017 possible. The householders who so generously opened their beautiful homes and shared their knowledge. Thank you to our speakers for their inspiring and thought-provoking talks that lead to rich conversations and a deep sharing of ideas – and everyone went home that bit richer for it. To our incredibly passionate volunteers who worked tirelessly and for their positivity that created such a great, welcoming atmosphere.  Thank you to our sponsors this year – NT EPA and Darwin Council – we could not have done it without their support.  And finally thanks to all the attendees who came along over the weekend!

Download the 2017 Sustainable House Day project report summary here

Download the Sustainable House Day 2017 booklet here

House 5. Ramsay Residence, 

Type: Owner designed

Drafted by: Bennett Design, Coconut Grove NT

Builder: built in 2008 by C and R Constructions, Berrimah NT

This house was built in 2008 and has used a variety of sustainable materials including featuring recycled spotted gum flooring.  The house is built at an east-west orientation to optimise seasonal breezes and encourage passive cooling. The house has large wrap around verandas to shade windows and walls and has louvers throughout to encourage cross ventilation. The garden features native trees to provide shading to the northern aspect of the house and has an edible garden with a variety of food species including vegetables, herbs and fruit trees.


Special Talk at 10:30 am by Scott McDonald, a horticulturalist with over 25 years experience in the top end, on how food plants can be incorporated into domestic and urban landscapes, be it as border plants, ground covers, shrubs or trees.

House 4. Lena Yali House Extension, Nakara

Type: Renovated ground level ex government commission house

Designer/Architect: Lena Yali (Troppo Architects Darwin)

Builder: Anderson Builders


An ex-housing commission, double brick, slab on ground home featuring louvered internal walls and external windows. An extension was designed by Troppo Architects in 2004 to create an open living area, kitchen, additional bedroom and home office. The aim was to create extra living space without increasing the footprint of the house and at the same time to integrate the living areas with a tropical garden that provides passive cooling without air conditioning.

House 3. Anne & Mark’s House, Rapid Creek

Type: Post cyclone re-build on ‘dance floor’

Builder: unknown

House description:

This house is an old Darwin elevated house that has been rebuilt after Cyclone Tracey with sustainable features including elevated front and back verandas with wire sides to catch the breeze.   The owners have designed the garden to strike a balance between edible and native garden and have enticed local birdlife back into their surrounding green space by clearing the pre-existing palm trees and mango trees and re-planting with medium and small sized native plants and trees.  The edible garden provides an abundance of food and the chickens provide eggs, manure and manage the food scraps.


Special Talk 12:00 pm -12:30 pm by The Top End Native Plant Society on local native plants that provide certain valuable features such as bird attracting, screening, shading and flowering.

The Top End Native Plant Society will also be present at this house from 10 am -2 pm. They will have a stall with plants for sale, as well as advice on local native plants.

House 2. Garnett & Zander Home, 7 Kingston Place, Rapid Creek

Type: renovated original elevated house

Architect/Designer: Luchetti Krelle

Builder: unknown


An original elevated home renovated by Luchetti Krelle architects to create an open tropical design with louvre windows and bi-fold doors to maximise cross ventilation and take advantage of cooling breezes. Surrounding trees offer air-cooling and shading. The owners have recently installed a 4.5 kW solar panel system and are planning on installing a rainwater tank and LED lighting.


Special Talk 12:15 pm -12:45 pm  by Thomas Wearne from Country Solar NT on Residential Solar in the Northern Territory.

Special Talk 1:15 pm – 1:45 pm by Simon Scally, a registered architect with over 25 years experience in the NT, on tropical architectural design and how to improve your comfort in the tropics.

House 1. Niblock House, Rapid Creek

Type: renovated original 1958 elevated house

Architect: Troppo Architects

Builder: Hawkins and Clemens


A beautiful newly renovated original elevated home (circa 1958) by Troppo Architects, showing many examples of eco building techniques such as cross flow ventilation, recycled materials, internal rainwater usage, grey water syste m and solar panels. The garden has been thoughtfully and aesthetically landscaped with a combination of native and edible plants.


Special Talk 11:30 am – 12:00 pm by Marisa Fontes, a registered Landscape Architect with Outsidesign, on Sustainable and Site-responsive Landscapes for Darwin Residences.

Sustainable House Day – Cooling the City Pop UP, Eco Café 64 Smith Street, Darwin

About the Pop UP

In the last 10 years, Darwin CBD has become 1.5 to 3 degrees hotter than surrounding suburbs. With the clearing of green space, more high-rise buildings, more bitumen, more cars, and more air-conditioning – all pumping out hot air – has changed the Darwin micro-climate.

Cavanagh Street is the hottest street in the Darwin CBD and acts like a heat duct channelling hot air into the CBD. The Supreme Court car park is 5 degrees higher than surrounding area. The Darwin Post Office car park surface temperature can rise to 66 degrees on a 30 degree day.

As the CBD becomes hotter, it becomes more uncomfortable. Pedestrian activity has slowed and retailer trade has gone down. If the CBD is cooler, it will be more walkable, vibrant and active and the retail trade will follow. Smart street design can cool our city – – the use of more shading, trees and plants, awnings, fans and cooling fountains.

The Cooling the City POP UP is designed so you can “experience” how the temperature in the CBD can be changed.

Cooling the City Pop UP encourages the discussion of an alternative vision for the CBD and creative approaches to urban greening. Engagement is needed from the public, existing buildings owners and industry leaders to find ways to work together to make Darwin a Cool City.

Cooling the City project is an initiative of the ESD committee of the NT Property Council and its partners and sponsors.