A home that is completely airtight except for the front door key hole has been recognised as the most sustainable home constructed anywhere in Australia over the past year.

In its latest announcement, Housing Industry Association says the four-bedroom Saphiire display home (pictured above) constructed by Blue Mountains home builder Blue Eco Homes has taken out its 2020 HIA Australian Green Smart Home award.

Nestled into the rugged bushland of NSW’s Blue Mountains resides a one-of-a-kind display home by builder Blue Eco Homes that is not only certified Passive House but also built to a BAL-FZ rating.

Apart from the front door key hole, the home is completely airtight.

Indeed, it achieves a rate of just 0.39 air changes per hour.

The home is also energy positive, with a 5kW solar PV system and 10kW batter system meaning that it generates more energy than it needs in order to operate.

To ensure the home maintains a comfortable indoor temperature year-round, meanwhile, the home includes high-performing UPVC aluminium-clad triple-glazed windows and doors which will transmit just one-sixth of the heat compared to a typical Australian window.

This delivers year-round comfort despite the mountains experiencing days that exceed 46°C in summer.

Thanks to high-performing UPVC aluminium-clad triple glazed windows, the Sahpire home remains comfortable all year round whilst delivering an abundance of natural light.

With a 5kW solar PV system and 10kW battery system, the Saphire display home is energy positive. Apart from the keyhole, it is completely airtight.

Other features include:

  • a pleasant exterior in contrasting shades of charcoal and light grey
  • a skillion roofline and raked ceilings providing a spacious interior for occupants.
  • Strategically placed highlight windows to allow abundant natural light to filter through
  • Lightly-hued polished concrete floors offer thermal mass.
  • BAL-FZ rated shutters which also offer shade, are controlled by smart home technology and can be programmed to go up or down at certain times of the day based on the shading requirements (this can be overridden remotely by an app, crucial in cases of approaching bushfire).

Describing the home as exceeding ‘on all levels’ , the judges praised its design and construction.

“The home is completely airtight except for the front door key hole, and features highlight windows for abundant northern sunlight, lightly-hued polished concrete floors for thermal mass and high-performing uPVC aluminium-clad triple-glazed windows and doors,” the judges said.

The home also took out the HIA Australian GreenSmart Display/Project Home award.

This knock-down rebuild home in Canberra by Light House Architecture & Science and 360 Building Soclutions is home to a household of five who consume less energy than the average one-person household in the city. Features include excellent use of the passive solar and cross ventilation potential of the block through careful collaboration of the glazing to floor area ratios, window positions and eave offsets and positions.

Other award winners include:

  • Light House Architecture & Science and Indepth Building Solutions from ACT & Southern NSW won GreenSmart Renovation / Addition Project for a clever retrofit within an existing footprint to bring the home from 3.6 to seven stars (pictured below).
  • Light House Architecture & Science and 360 Building Solutions from ACT & Southern NSW won GreenSmart Multi Dwelling Development for a solar passive intergenerational housing project (pictured above) built using locally manufactured materials. The duo also won GreenSmart Energy Efficiency for an 8.4 star rated 5-person household that consumes less energy than a one-person household in Canberra.
  • Beaumont Building Design, Victoria won GreenSmart Sustainable Home. The compact, lightweight and low-maintenance design offers natural temperature regulation with north-facing orientation and strategically placed double-glazed windows.
  • Nu-Rock Construction, NSW won GreenSmart Product for the Nu-Rock Building Block (pictured below). The smart product with widespread potential in the building industry is primarily made from the by-products of powerplants.

Transformation of this dilapidated property in Canberra brought this 155-square meter Canberra house from Light House Architecture & Science, along with Indepth Building Solutions from an energy rating of 3.6 stars to 7 stars. Passive solar features include optimised window to floor area ratios, improved northern solar access, uPVC double-glazed windows with high solar transmission low-e and high levels of insulation.

HIA Managing Director Graham Wolfe said the awards represent the best in sustainable home design and construction.

“HIA is committed to sustainable building outcomes, including environmentally focussed construction, innovation and design. The winners and finalists are leading the way in this field, including site management, energy saving techniques and innovation, to build comfortable homes for their clients,” Mr Wolfe said.

“Each winner and finalist is congratulated for achieving success at a national level and demonstrating that comfort, security, innovation and value for money can co-exist in a sustainable built environment. HIA members are up to the challenge.”


The Nu-Rock Building Block by NSW company, Nu-Rock Construction is made from converted solid and liquid industrial waste materialsfrom the bi-products of power plants such as coal and ash and held together with a chemical binder. Zero carbon is emitted through this process, which delivers strong, lightweight and cost effective building products.


Enjoy Sourceable articles? Never miss important updates. Subscribe for FREE to receive daily updates in your inbox each morning.